Bath & Cheltenham Gazette
February 20th 1856
CONSECRATION OF NEW CEMETERY IN BATHWICK
The additional burial ground for the parish of Bathwick, in Smallcombe wood, near the end of Sydney buildings, which has for some time been in course of preparation, was consecrated on Friday afternoon by the Lord Bishop of the diocese. The ground comprises two acres of land; admirably chosen as regards situation for the purpose, the one (partly taken out of the wood, and partly of meadow land) was given for the purpose by the lord of the manor and patron of the living, Lord William Powlett, M.P.; the other is taken from the glebe land, and given for the purpose by the rector of the parish. These have been surrounded by a substantial stone wall, which is now nearly hidden with evergreens. The entrance from the horse-shoe road is by a new road formed up the valley by the lord of the manor. The ground is entered by a simple gateway, adjoining which an appropriate lodge is to be erected as soon as the rector can obtain sufficient funds for the purpose ― the cost of forming the ground having exceeded the original estimate owing to the quantity of terracing required.
The difficulties in laying the ground out were owing to the steep and uneven ascent on the south side, but they have been overcome by the skill of Mr. D. Butler, nurseryman, of Widcombe, to whom had been entrusted the laying out of the ground.
The whole now presents a very tasteful appearance with a general effect in keeping with the character of the place. A row of Irish yews runs parallel with the road leading from the entrance gates to the door of the chapel, and a belt of evergreens has been planted round the walls, with many ornamental trees studded about in various places. On the south side, the land is elevated very considerably; but the sloping bank thereby gained, by giving a variety to the view, materially adds to the beauty of the arrangements. This portion of the cemetery is, in great measure, an artificial formation, and the material necessary for executing the work (some two thousand loads) was procured from the wood behind, in which there is a deep cutting, though hidden by the boundary wall. It will be conserved as the select division of the ground, and the various monuments which will ultimately be erected here will be seen to great advantage. A gravel walk winds its way by a gentle ascent to the top, and is carried along the level as far as the opposite side. From this eminence there is an exceedingly beautiful view of the city, with Beacon Hill, Lansdown, and Kelston hill in the background. The land has been thoroughly drained to a depth of ten feet.
The mortuary chapel, in front of which is a small elliptical lawn, stands nearly in the centre. Above the doorway, the embellishments of which are in strict keeping with the style, rises the campanile. The height of this portion of the structure is 45 feet, not including the cross with which it is surmounted, while that of the body is 26 feet, with an extreme length of 44 feet, and a breadth, including the buttresses, of 27 feet. It is lighted by a large window on the east, and three small windows on either side, fitted with stained glass; in the quarry of each is one of the letters, “I.H.S.” Mr. Mann was the builder, and Mr. Kidner the carpenter.
Before the ceremony of consecration, Divine service was performed at St. Mary’s church, Bathwick, when the Lord Bishop of the Diocese preached an impressive and appropriate discourse from Jer. xxxi.40. At the close, he said, “although the cemetery will be consecrated, dedicated, and set apart as a burial place for those in this parish who died members of our Church, yet your minister has incurred a very heavy debt in making this provision for the burial of your dead, which you, as parishioners, may in a great measure be fairly called upon to discharge. You can hardly give your money to a better purpose than to the house of God and the services and ordinances connected with it.”
The ceremony of consecration was performed after the accustomed form, many of the principal inhabitants of the parish being present.
In the evening his Lordship, with the clergy and other gentleman who had taken part in the proceedings, dined with the rector of the parish.