Ever since my discovery of the Society of Friends Burial Ground in Southampton in 2013, I have kept an eye open for other locations that may have been used by the Society of Friends.
When I was in Basingstoke the Holy Ghost Cemetery had Quaker graves in it, but they were part of the general population of the cemetery as opposed to being in a separate graveyard.
Tewkesbury surprised me because there is a Society of Friends Burial ground in the city, and I briefly went into it when I first arrived in the city in 2015. I really stumbled onto the burial ground by accident, but never quite registered where it was. When it came to finding it once again I was stumped because I could not find it in the many alleys and passages that still exist in the city.
This weekend I decided to remedy that and go find the place! Strangely enough it did not feature on my mapping facility of my phone, so it was really a case of investigating every alley and passage until I found it.
And finally I found it. The white cottage is one of two original meeting houses of the Society of Friends that exists at the site.
The signs on the gate tells us nothing about the burial ground itself, apart from the date 1660.
When I had first seen this spot in June 2015 I had thought that it was strange that there were no headstones, but then I was looking at it in the same context as the burial ground in Southampton. This one has no surviving headstones, and was probably abandoned when the a new meeting house was erected in Barton Street. in 1804. There is not much to see in the burial grounds, it is now a pleasant garden space and is very pretty.
Personally I was hoping to find some sort of information board, but there is nothing. And naturally, the moment I was inside the space half of Tewkesbury decided that they too wanted to come in too, so I left. In researching this space
I found a few answers, but I now need to investigate the hall in Barton Street (now called the George Watson Memorial Hall
) to see whether there are answers there, and the possible continuation of this graveyard.
The Quakers stopped using this space around about 1950 too as it was too large, which could indicate that the Quaker movement was in decline in the city. Hopefully I will find a few answers there, but somehow I doubt it. The burial ground was not what I expected, but it is an interesting space in the city, one of many that existed a long time ago and which is now different from what it originally was.
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