The Home Page of the
Friends of Wardsend Cemetery
The “Friends of Wardsend Cemetery” group has been set up with the aim of promoting this historic Victorian Cemetery whilst trying to preserve the abundant flora and fauna which has adopted this site over the last 150 odd years. This cemetery is the last resting place of over 30,000 Sheffield and district people as well as military personnel from the nearby Sheffield (Hillsborough) Barracks.
Stories about some of our more interesting ‘residents’.
Wardsend related photographs both old and new.
What’s happening and when.
Useful links to other sites of interest.
Your feedback is always welcome.
Ask questions about the Cemetery and its ‘residents’ here.
Wardsend Cemetery, which is really a detached churchyard, was opened on 21st June 1857 as the burial ground for St. Philip's Churh on Infirmary Road (now demolished). The vicar, the Rev. John Livesey, had, at his own expense, bought five acres of land at Wardsend when the churchyard was closed for burials. He also contributed to the cost of building a small chapel and a sexton's house.
The cemetery and the chapel, which was designed by Weightman, Hadfield and Goldie of Sheffield, were consecrated by the Archbishop of York, Thomas Musgrave, on the 5th of July 1859.
Wardsend Cemetery has a distinct military influence due to its close proximity to Hillsborough Barracks. The obelisk monument commemorates the soldiers of 6th, 19th, 24th, 33rd, 51st, 55th Regiments of Foot, Victorian Army, who died whilst at Hillsborough Barracks during the period 1866 - 1869.
There are also memorials to several soldiers who gave their lives during both World Wars. Some of the 240 victims of the Great Sheffield Flood of the night of 11th/12 March 1864, when the Dale Dyke reservoir at Bradfield collapsed, were laid to rest in Wardsend Cemetery, including the children of Paymaster Sergeant Foulds, Isabella, aged 5 and John aged 3, of Hillsborough Barracks, also Mr Joseph Goddard and his wife Sarah, of Malin Bridge.
Other epitaphs of interest are dedications to a number of Bible readers, one a member of the Philadelphian Wesleyan church; the Secretary of Sheffield Angling Association, widows referred to as relicts, and a reference to a 15 year old boy trgically killed at work in a colliery accident.
By the turn of the century, some 20,000 interments had taken place and in 1901, a further two acres of land on the other side of the railway were added. Wardsend Cemetery remains the only cemetery in England with a railway running through it!!
The final burial took place in 1977, when the re-interment of remains from a building site close to Sheffield Cathedral took place and the cemetery was officially closed in 1988.
Although it remained legally open for burials until 1988, Wardsend Cemetery has been increasingly neglected over the last thirty or so years and following the demolition of the chapel and sexton's house, was more or less abandoned by the parish and church authorities.
The local authority has recently (2010) taken over the responsibility for the maintenance of the site. The initial plan is to cut back and control the vegetation, eradicate the Japanese Knotweed and reinstate the footpaths. Hopefully, this will help to make Wardsend Cemetery a safer place for everyone once again.
Pete Quincey and George Proctor