The main Woodbridge town cemetery, laid out in an informal style by the Burial Board in 1856, extending a site previously used as a burial ground for soldiers stationed in the town's Napoleonic War barracks.
The Burial Board Act of 1854 authorised the setting up of Burial Boards outside London and in October 1856, the Woodbridge Vestry Minute Book records that the Burial Board for the town was in the process of creating a cemetery on the north-east side of Old Barrack Road. This site already contained the mass graves of some 669 soldiers from the Duke of York's regiment which had been stationed in the town at the beginning of the C19. A memorial stone in the south-east corner of the site records their resting place, buried here between 1804 and 1814. Having already commissioned the Woodbridge architect, William Pattison to design the lodge and twin mortuary chapels, the Board authorised an additional sum of £350 in October 1856 to complete the burial ground by 'erecting the necessary buildings thereon and enclosing the same with an iron palisading against Dedman's Lane' (Minutes, 1856). In 1864 the completed cemetery was described as covering c 5 acres (c 2ha), 'tastefully laid out with trees, shrubs and flowers', with two chapels in the Norman style (Harrod 1864). The Board and the cemetery itself had, and continues to have, a close association with the Notcutt family who made their name in Woodbridge as successful nurserymen of the day. The records show that the nursery regularly supplied plants, seeds, and flowers for the cemetery, and the family paid for and retain a hedged plot on the eastern boundary. In 1917 the Burial Board received a loan from the Local Government Board to purchase a piece of land to the north of the cemetery beyond Cemetery Lane, to allow for its extension. Planting of the boundary to the extension appears to predate the first burials here which date from the Second World War onwards. The boundary hedge and shrub collection were planted by Mr Notcutt whose widow, in 1939, complained of the dilapidated state of the fence and the ill health of the plants. Replacement and additional planting of trees continues to take place in both the old and new sections of the cemetery. The boundaries have remained unaltered since their creation and the site remains (2002) in public ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Woodbridge is located c 12km to the north-east of Ipswich, on the east side of the main A12, Ipswich to Lowestoft road. The Woodbridge cemetery lies on the south-west side of the town, in an area surrounded by residential housing. The c 2.5ha site is bounded to the south by Warren Hill Road (previously known as Deadman's Lane), to the west by the gardens of private houses, to the north-west by Cemetery Lane, and to the east by woodland and open ground. The cemetery ground is very undulating with a steep dip in the centre, and with a general rise from south to north. It occupies a high position with the land falling away towards the town centre to the north-east. The C20 extension (outside the area here registered) lies on the north side of Cemetery Lane, the two areas linked by two sets of gates, one on either side of the road.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance into the cemetery is from Warren Hill Road to the south. The boundary is formed by the low white-brick wall topped by an iron palisade fence. The simple iron entrance gates hang on white-brick piers and stand beside a two-storey lodge of white brick, under a slate roof edged with decorative bargeboards. The lodge was erected in 1856 to the designs of a local architect. The serpentine drive divides on entering the cemetery and winds through a collection of mature trees to the two chapels, one in the south-west quarter, the other in the north-east quarter. A second, minor entrance gate is located off Cemetery Lane in the middle of the northern boundary, again giving onto a drive which divides to lead to the two chapels.
The principal buildings in the Woodbridge cemetery are the two mortuary chapels which stand on the high ground either side of the hollow in the centre of the original cemetery grounds. Built of white brick and slate with stone dressings, the chapels were erected in 1856 and partly match the style of the entrance lodge (although this has lost its original windows). The chapels are more ornate than the lodge, being decorated with stone dressings, mullions, and leaded windows. The two chapel buildings form a pair in terms of both style and scale. One (that in the north-east quarter) remains in use, while the other is used for storage.
The layout of the grounds is characterised by its series of interconnecting serpentine paths which take advantage of the significant changes in topography. The main drives from the entrance gates to the chapels are connected to each other by smaller paths which meander through the site, amongst headstones of a generally simple style set in grass which has been planted with a wide variety of both deciduous and coniferous trees. Many of the trees are of a size to suggest they are original plantings, and they include fine specimens of copper beech, cedar, pine, and lime, as well as a good number of mature clipped yews. Close to the northern boundary stands a very mature Cupressus macracarpa of great size. The wide variety of species and ages suggest that the cemetery has been continuously planted since it was consecrated in 1856, and the interesting and unusual range of tree species possibly reflects the past close relationship of the cemetery with the Notcutt nursery. The Notcutt family plot is located on the eastern boundary and is marked by a clipped yew hedge enclosing a simple sundial memorial.
At the eastern end of the south boundary of the cemetery, in what is now (2002) the back garden to the lodge cottage, are the remains of the simple early-C19 headstones which mark the site of the barracks' burial ground. Here a single headstone survives to record the death of 669 soldiers. Also within the body of the cemetery is an unusual Arts and Crafts-style grave, erected using ceramic material rather than stone.
On the north side of Cemetery Lane, and outside the area here registered, lies the early-C20 extension to the cemetery, which was originally laid out in a more formal grid pattern but more recently (late-1990s) has been the subject of further planting to create a more informal character.
Harrod and Co, Postal and Commercial Directory of Suffolk (1864), 475
Kelly, Directory of Suffolk (1896), 354
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1890
2nd edition published 1905
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1881
2nd edition published 1904
3rd edition published 1927
Woodbridge Burial Board records: Cash Book, 1881-1903 (EF 4/1/2/2); Minute Book, 1938-47 (EF 4/1/2/1); Woodbridge Vestry Minutes, 1856-65 (FC25 A1/7), (Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Woodbridge Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Woodbridge Cemetery is a High Victorian garden cemetery (1856) established by a Burial Board.
* The cemetery was laid out on the site of a burial ground used by the Duke of York's Regiment in 1804-14.
* The cemetery was designed by the local architect William Pattison.
* The cemetery was planted by the local nursery Notcutt of Woodbridge, who also planted the New Cemetery at Ipswich (qv). The nursery's involvement with the cemetery planting continued into the C20, and members of the family are buried in a plot within the cemetery.
* The layout of the cemetery, including its associated structures and planting, survives intact.
* The design of the cemetery skilfully exploits the undulating topography of the site.
* The cemetery contains some monuments of note, including a memorial to 669 Napoleonic soldiers buried in the earlier burial ground.
Description written: July 2002
Amended: September 2002
Register Inspector: EMP
Edited: December 2009