Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
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Date first listed:


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

Preston (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 56499 30381


A cemetery laid out in 1855 retaining the original design and mature tree cover reflecting the C19 planting scheme.


Preston Cemetery was laid out in 1855 by the Preston Burial Board on an area shown as open fields on the 1847 OS map. Three cemetery chapels (demolished late-C20) were designed 1854-5 by T D Barry. The cemetery was opened on 2 July 1855, when most of the town's other burial grounds were closed (Hewitson 1883). A Jewish burial area was established within the site in the early-C20 and a Muslim area followed in the late-C20.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING The cemetery is situated c 2.5km east of the centre of Preston in the suburb of Ribbleton. The c 18ha site is on a rectangular plot of level land in an urban and residential area. New Hall Lane forms the southern boundary, where there is a stone wall which formerly had railings, some of which have been reinstated near the entrance. Miller Road forms the northern boundary where there is a stone wall surmounted by railings. On the east side there is a low stone wall and C20 fences alongside a footpath called Occupation Lane. Fences divide the cemetery from houses and gardens on the west side. The main views are internal with emphasis on unfolding scenes rather than vistas.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES There are two main entrances to the cemetery. The principal entrance is at the south-west corner at the junction of Blackpool Road and New Hall Lane where there are stone gate piers flanking an arched stone entrance of 1855, probably by T D Barry. Lodges which stood on either side have been demolished. On the north side of the site there is an entrance of c 1925 with stone gate piers and ironwork gates on Miller Road directly opposite the entrance to Preston New Cemetery (outside the registered area). A pedestrian entrance at the north-west tip of the site had a lodge, probably by T D Barry (demolished). There is another pedestrian entrance with an iron gate at the south-east corner which was probably introduced in the mid to late-C20.

OTHER LAND The main entrance at the south-west corner leads north-east to a forecourt with late-C20 cemetery offices on the north-west side. Paths divide opposite the entrance on each side of a grassed area with flower beds. One branch leads east to the section designated for Nonconformist burials and the site of the Nonconformist chapel (demolished) which formerly stood c 200m east of the main entrance. The other branch runs north past a works yard to a point c 100m from the entrance where the path divides again. A First World War memorial, in the form of a stone cross, stands at the junction of the paths. One branch runs north through the Roman Catholic part of the cemetery and links with subsidiary curving paths and the site of the Roman Catholic chapel (demolished) which formerly stood c 325m north-north-east of the main entrance. The Anglican part of the cemetery occupies the centre and north-east part of the site. A path leads north-east from the war memorial to the site of the Anglican chapel (demolished) which forms the main focus of the layout. It lies c 300m north-east of the main entrance, slightly to the east of the centre of the site amid a series of looping paths which radiate from the platform on which it stood. The sites of the other chapels also relate to a specific pattern of curving paths, the Roman Catholic area having a system of concentric near-circular paths on the north-west side, and the Nonconformist area with paths describing elongated interlocking oval patterns in the south-east corner. The plan therefore reflects three linked but distinct elements in the pattern of the different denominational areas.

A Jewish burial area, established in the early-C20, lies in the south-east corner of the site. There is a late-C20 brick meeting room and the rectangular plot is bordered by late-C20 railings. Just to the north there is a Muslim burial area, established in the late-C20, also bordered with late-C20 railings. This is given a distinctive appearance by the fact that almost every grave is planted with a rose tree. A late-C20 Muslim prayer shelter lies nearby, c 300m from the main entrance. An area alongside the northern boundary, west of the north entrance, was designated as a woodland burial site in the late-C20 and is bounded by a border of shrubs.

Mature planting, mainly consisting of native broadleaf trees, is informal, and the paths unfold amidst the trees as the site is traversed. Perimeter planting encloses the site, and the pattern of trees and paths creates an inward-looking character. The 1890 OS map shows that the whole of the perimeter was planted with trees and softened by varying the thickness and outline of the belt. The planting within the cemetery broadly follows the scheme shown on the 1893 map, though it has been augmented, probably by a combination of deliberate planting and self-seeding. The cemetery has a range of Victorian memorials and a group of gravestones commemorating soldiers killed in the First World War, all of one design with regimental badges, which lies just to the west of the northern entrance on Miller Road.


Preston Guardian, 16 June 1855, p 4 A Hewitson, History of Preston in the County of Lancaster (1883), pp 249-50 Victoria History of the County of Lancaster VII, (1912), p 105 N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Lancashire North (1969), p 203

Maps OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1847 1938 edition OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1890-3, published 1893

Archival items Early-C20 postcards showing views of the cemetery (Preston Local History Library Postcard Collection)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Preston Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * A complex example of an early High Victorian (1855) public cemetery for a provincial town. * The buildings were designed by an eminent regional architect, Thomas Denville Barry, who specialised in cemeteries in the region, including the slightly later Toxteth and St Helens (qv). They included three chapels and a gateway similar in form to those at Toxteth (qv) and flanking lodges, together with a lodge at a second entrance. * The layout uses a geometric serpentine drive and path pattern based on an unusually complex `butterfly' form, with three serpentine drives fanning out to give access to the focal sites of the former chapels. * It has an extensive collection of C19 slab monuments crossing the site in grid pattern, including many Preston dignitaries, punctuated by a few artistically notable individual monuments. * The cemetery layout survives intact despite the loss of the three original chapels, whose sites remain open and focal points. It is considerably enhanced by the unusually extensive remains of the C19 woody planting, including trees and shrubs, and the notable collection of monuments.

Description written: September 2001 Amended: November 2001 Register Inspector: CEH Edited: December 2009

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 2 February 2017.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


War Memorials Online, accessed 2 February 2017 from


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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