List description amended on 18-JAN-2008
901-1/47/437 BATH ROAD
SCREEN WALLS TO MAIN ENTRANCE OF ARNOS
(Formerly listed as:
ARNOS VALE CEMETERY, SCREEN WALLS)
Screen walls to the main entrance of Arnos Vale Cemetery, dating from 1837 and designed by Charles Underwood as part of the principal entrance.
MATERIALS: The walls are constructed of limestone ashlar, as are the piers, with the walls beyond the piers of coursed stone rubble.
PLAN: The walls adjoin the lodges, then curve outwards towards the road, turning through 90 degrees to run parallel to the road.
EXTERIOR: The walls adjoin the lodges, and curve outwards towards the road, meeting paired ashlar piers matching those adjacent to the lodges, then run parallel to Bath Road for a distance. The ashlar walls, c.2m high, are set on coursed stone plinths and have coping stones; the piers have pedimented square caps with dentils. The walls beyond the paired piers are for a short distance set on a squared and coursed stone plinth, with a coped top.
HISTORY: In the late C18 the land which was to be developed as Arnos Vale Cemetery probably formed part of the estate associated with Arnos Court, a mansion built by William Reeves, a Bristol copper merchant (c.1760-5). Reeves became bankrupt in 1774, and his estate was divided and sold. During the early C19 a villa, known as Arno's Vale, was constructed to the west of Arnos Court and within the area subsequently developed as Arnos Vale Cemetery. The villa was situated towards the north-eastern corner of the site with an entrance approximately on the site of the present principal entrance to the cemetery.
By the mid C19 the burial grounds attached to the City's churches were essentially full. In 1837 the Bristol General Cemetery Company was formed and petitioned Parliament for an Act to enable the formation of a general cemetery in the vicinity of the City. Following the granting of the Act, the Company proceeded to purchase the Arnos Vale Estate and in 1838 demolished the villa and commissioned plans for the laying out of the site and the construction of walls, lodges and chapels from Charles Underwood (c.1791-1883). This work appears to have been completed by October 1840 when the Anglican section of the cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. It was not until 1855 when the City churchyards were finally closed that the cemetery began to see a significant rise in the number of interments. Between 1855 and 1880 the Company extended the area used for burials to encompass the whole estate purchased in 1837. A second Act of Parliament obtained in 1880 enabled the Company to purchase additional land to the south of the original cemetery. A further extension was purchased in 1891. The western portion of this ground was laid out by 1904, while the remainder had been appropriated for burials by c.1944 (OS, 1944). To cater for changing fashion, a crematorium, cloister and columbarium were designed by H G Laing of Lincoln's Inn, London in 1927. These structures, together with a garden of rest, were developed around the C19 Nonconformists' chapel in 1927-9, and continued in use until 1998. The site was sold for redevelopment but local people mobilised to form a group of Friends which lobbied for the retention of the cemetery as a burial ground with public access; the site was subsequently compulsorily purchased by the local authority with the Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust, which is now responsible for its management.
The screen walls date from the first phase of the development of the cemetery, and form part of the main entrance to the site. The walls were built in 1837 and were designed by Charles Underwood as a component of the entrance which also included the lodges and gatepiers.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION:
The screen walls to Arnos Vale Cemetery on the south side of Bath Road are listed at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons:
* The limestone ashlar walls and piers, and the sweeping coursed limestone walls, were designed by Charles Underwood in 1837 as part of the principal access to this nationally significant cemetery
* The squared and coursed stone walls set on a plinth which extend to the east and west are contemporary with the formal elements of the entrance, of good quality and describe the main boundary of the site
* Group value with the adjoining East and West Lodges and Gatepiers, also listed at Grade II*, and the many listed buildings and monuments within the cemetery
* The wall beyond the pier at the eastern edge of the cemetery is not of special interest
* The wall beyond the section set on a plinth running to the west of the main entrance is not of special interest
Listing NGR: ST6078171653