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Park and Garden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SE 21984 33439


A public cemetery opened in 1875, with both layout and buildings designed by William Gay.


On 13 March 1870 a Burial Board for Pudsey was formed and members elected at a public meeting. Between 1870 and 1872 the choice of a location for a cemetery was subject to a poll of the ratepayers on three occasions, with the site at Back Lane in Pudsey being finally determined in March 1872 (Raynor 1887). The 11.5 acre (c 4.8ha) site was purchased for £2200 from the representatives of the late Richard Farrer and approved for use as a burial ground by the Home Secretary in June 1872.

In June 1872 the Burial Board interviewed both William Gay of Bradford and Messrs Nelson of Fulbeck in regard to the design of the cemetery before appointing Gay as architect for both the laying out of the burial ground and the design of the buildings (Burial Board Minutes 1872). William Gay (1814-93) was appointed as Registrar at Leicester Cemetery (qv) in c 1849 where he may also have been responsible for some of the design work (Brooks 1989). Gay's other burial ground designs include Undercliffe Cemetery (qv) in Bradford in 1852-54, Toxteth Park Cemetery (qv) in Liverpool in 1855-56, and Philips Park Cemetery (qv) in Manchester in 1863-67. He also designed Saltaire Park (qv) in Baildon in c 1871 and Horton Park (qv) in Bradford in 1873-78.

In July 1872 Gay presented an estimate to the Burial Board for the laying out, planting, and draining together with the construction of boundary walls, chapels with a tower, and a house in the total sum of £4700 plus architect's fees (ibid). The grounds were laid out by John Senior of Harlow Heath, near Harrogate under the superintendence of Gay and the width of Back Lane, leading to the cemetery, was doubled by the Burial Board. The eastern half of the cemetery was consecrated for Church of England burials on 8 June 1875 by the Right Rev Dr Ryan, representing the Lord Bishop of Ripon, and the first interment took place on 9 June 1875 in the unconsecrated, western portion of the ground. In 1887 it was noted that the cemetery, with a simple but effective design, occupied a commanding position, that the buildings were of a substantial character, and the grounds and planting a credit to all concerned (Raynor 1887).

Pudsey Cemetery remains (2002) in use and in the ownership of Leeds City Council.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING The c 4.8ha roughly rectangular site is situated c 0.25km west of Pudsey town centre. To the north the cemetery is bounded by Cemetery Road (formerly Back Lane) and to the west adjoins a partly tree-lined footpath leading south from Cemetery Road to Church Lane. To the east the cemetery adjoins inter-war housing on Carlton Rise and to the south an area of open ground. All boundaries are marked by c 1.8m high stone walls with angled stone copings and all except that to the east are lined with mature trees. The boundary wall to Cemetery Road is retaining with the road c 1.5m below the cemetery ground level.

The cemetery occupies sloping ground rising c 14m to the south boundary from the north boundary with Cemetery Road, with extensive views out across the valley of the River Aire towards Guiseley and the high moors to the north. The surrounding area is largely residential with commercial premises and open playing fields immediately to the west.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The principal entrance is from Cemetery Road and lies at the centre of the north boundary with the cemetery ground level dipping to meet the road level. It is marked by a carriage entrance set between square stone gate piers with pyramidal stone caps flanked by two pedestrian entrances with similar outer stone piers, all with ornate late C19 cast-iron gates. The entrance is set back c 7m from the road and is flanked by low stone walls, with coursed stone piers, topped with ornate C19 cast-iron railings. The short approach drive between these walls has a stone sett finish. Immediately south-west of this entrance is a two-storey, Gothic-style stone lodge with gabled slate roof. The principal entrance and lodge date from c 1875 and were designed by William Gay.

There are two further pedestrian entrances to the cemetery. One, at the south-west corner, lies on the west boundary and gives access to the adjoining footpath. The second, at the south-east corner, lies on the south boundary and is no longer in use (2002). Both of these entrances are marked by C19 cast-iron gates, similar in design to those at the principal entrance, set within the stone boundary wall with flanking squared stone copings.

PRINCIPAL BUILDINGS Two mortuary chapels, in a symmetrical arrangement linked by a c 33m high central square tower, are situated c 160m south of the principal entrance on high ground, embanked to the north. The Anglican chapel is situated to the east and the Nonconformist, of a matching, handed design to the west. The buttressed tower, with a stair tower to the south-east corner, is pierced at ground level with an archway c 4m wide and c 8m high, below a belfry and spire. The tower and archway are axial with the principal entrance. The buildings, in Gothic style, are in coursed pitch-faced stone with ashlar dressings with slated, gabled roofs to the chapels. The design, of c 1875, is by William Gay.

OTHER LAND The cemetery is laid out in a generally symmetrical arrangement to east and west of a main bisecting north/south axis. From the principal entrance an axial entrance drive rises gently southwards for c 140m, to the foot of a c 2.4m high cross-axial embankment, from where stone steps lead up to a plateau where a wide drive and the two chapels with a central tower are sited in a cross-axial arrangement. The steps are flanked by low dressed stone strings, each topped with a low iron rail running between short iron posts of similar design to the railings at the principal entrance. From these steps the main axial route continues below the tower archway to terminate, c 235m south of the principal entrance, at a junction with a perimeter path adjacent to the south boundary.

This southern perimeter path leads to the two pedestrian entrances at the south-west and south-east corners of the cemetery. From each of these southern corners a broadly curving serpentine path leads northwards to the north-west and north-east corners of the site respectively. From the north-east corner the path returns west, following a straight route adjacent to the north boundary, to the principal entrance where the junction is marked by small area of formal planting beds backed by a low stone retaining wall and shrub border. A similar path from the north-west corner, where an area of ground is enclosed with low hedging, terminates to the west of the lodge. The 1908 OS map indicates these paths forming a complete circuit route, with small buildings and a glasshouse in the north-west corner of the cemetery.

A series of cross-axial paths link the two outer north/south serpentine paths to the main axial drive. These cross-axial paths are generally curving with the exception of one straight path running east/west c 100m to the south of the principal entrance. This straight path is lined with mature trees and, for c 40m to east and west of the main drive, widens to form a part of two formal extended oval features laid out symmetrically about the main axis. The curved ends of the feature to the north of the straight path intersect with the outer serpentine perimeter paths to the east and west. The southern feature is similar, but smaller in plan and contained within the perimeter paths, with the curving ends forming drives leading up to the terraced cross-axial drive immediately to the north of the chapels and tower. These drives, together with the bisecting axial main drive, are lined with mature trees. Some 8m within this southern extended oval drive a narrow path runs parallel, intersecting twice with the main axial drive.

The cemetery contains late C19 and early C20 monuments in a variety of styles with taller examples sited in particular within and around the extended oval area immediately north of the chapel plateau, and along the main drive. The layout of the cemetery in 2002 remains very largely as indicated on the OS map of 1908.


S Raynor, The History and Antiquities of Pudsey (1887, reprinted 1986), pp 153-56 C Brooks, Mortal Remains (1989), p 139

Maps H Smith, Block Plan of the Township of Pudsey, 1875 (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1933 edition with additions of 1938 OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1908 3rd edition published 1921 1933 edition

Archival items Pudsey Burial Board Minute Book, October 1871-December 1892 (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Pudsey Cemetery is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * A complex example of a High Victorian public cemetery (1872-75) for a provincial city. * Designed by William Gay, a notable cemetery designer, its geometric layout makes dramatic use of sloping ground, dominated by two conjoined massive chapels standing on high ground at the back of the site. * For its rich variety of 19th century monuments including many to 19th century Leeds worthies, particularly the late 19th and early 20th century monuments in an artistically notable variety of styles. * The cemetery layout, its planting and structures survive largely intact.

Description written: April 2002 Amended: April 2002 Register Inspector: HMT Edited: October 2002 Upgraded: November 2009


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

End of official listing

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