Jewish Mortuary Chapel at Earlham Cemetery


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Jewish Mortuary Chapel at Earlham Cemetery, Bowthorpe Road


Ordnance survey map of Jewish Mortuary Chapel at Earlham Cemetery
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1412670 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Oct-2019 at 17:30:32.


Statutory Address:
Jewish Mortuary Chapel at Earlham Cemetery, Bowthorpe Road

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

Norwich (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


A small mortuary chapel for members of the Jewish community built as an original element of the Burial Board cemetery at Earlham in Norwich which opened in 1856.

Reasons for Designation

The Jewish Mortuary Chapel at Earlham Cemetery in Norwich, designed by Edward Everett Benest and erected circa 1856, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Rarity: the chapel is a nationally- rare example of a chapel built as part of an early Burial Board cemetery plan for members of the Jewish community; * Historic interest: the chapel is testimony to the presence of an established Jewish community in Norwich of sufficient numbers to justify the provision of dedicated facilities for Jewish burials; * Landscape interest: the chapel within its associated burial ground forms a distinctive and carefully maintained original component of a designed cemetery landscape, within what is now a Grade II Registered Historic Garden.


The Jewish Mortuary Chapel is located in Earlham cemetery in Norwich, opened in 1856, when applications for burial plots were first received. The 1854 Burial Board Act had authorised the setting up of Burial Boards outside of London, and Norwich Town Council established a board in the same year. The board purchased circa 30 acres of land in the following year and the City Surveyor, Edward Everett Benest, drew up plans for the site to include lodges, offices and twin chapels for Church of England and Non-Conformist burials, together with a separate chapel and burial ground for people of the Jewish faith. In 1874, land for a 15 acre extension to the cemetery was purchased and a flint and tile, Roman Catholic chapel in the Gothic style was constructed. The cemetery expanded further until 1892, when a large isolation hospital was built on its western boundary. Additional land continued to be purchased for cemetery use until after the Second World War, and in 1963-4 the original twin chapels were replaced by a crematorium building designed by the Norwich City architect David Percival, leaving the Jewish and Catholic chapels as the only C19 chapel facilities to survive. The cemetery remains in the ownership of Norwich City Council (2015).


A small mortuary chapel completed circa 1856 for members of the Jewish community, sited in the north-west corner of Earlham cemetery in Norwich, designed by Edward Everett Benest, Surveyor to the City of Norwich.

MATERIALS: red brick with ashlar stone and grey brick detailing, coped gables and a Welsh slate roof covering.

EXTERIOR: the chapel is a small, two-bay building aligned east-west, rising from a deep brick plinth. The bays are delineated by low buttresses, between which are red brick wall panels. At mid-wall level is a moulded string course carried around all sides of the building. The entrance doorway is set within the west gable, beneath a shouldered stone lintel. The string course is carried upwards in two steps to form a hood mould above the door head. There is a plain, vertically-planked door with cover strips. Above the doorway is a shallow, pointed-arched, three-light window opening with cusped heads to the staggered lights. At the east end is a similarly-detailed tall, five-light window. The window surrounds are formed of alternating clusters of grey and red bricks, whilst the corners and buttresses have grey bricks in imitation of quoining.

INTERIOR: the interior of the chapel is plainly detailed, with plain clay floor tiles, plastered and painted walls, exposed rafters and a single slender arch-braced collar truss supporting single purlins. There are no fixed furnishings.

SETTING: the chapel is at the edge of a small section of the cemetery reserved for members of the Jewish community, in which there are headstones of distinctive design. The headstone in a Jewish cemetery is known as a Matzeivah, and bears an inscription in Hebrew.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 26/01/2017.


Books and journals
Kadish, S, Jewish Heritage in England, an Architectural Guide, (2006), 110-1
Kadish, Sharman, Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland: An Architectural Guide, (2015), 134-5
Norwich City (Earlham Road) Cemetery, accessed 15/Mar/2016 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].