A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits


Friday 10 September 2010

On Unconsecrated Ground

Bunhill originates from the term 'Bone Hill' and the area was associated with burials from Saxon times.
In 1685, it was set apart as a common cemetery for the interment of bodies for which there wasn't room in their church cemeteries during the Plague. However it wasn't used for that purpose when Mr.Tindal leased it and converted into a burial place for those who practised outside the Traditional Church.

So it is a site of great historical and religious significance, as Bunhill Fields is unconsecrated ground that has been used for centuries as a burial place for Nonconformists, Dissenters, and other people who died outside of the Church of England.

The cemetery was used until 1855 for approximately 120,000 burials, when it was taken over by the City of London in 1867 for use as a green space. Today, about half of Bunhill Fields is a park and the rest remains a fence-enclosed cemetery.
Bunhill Fields graveyard was damaged by German bombing during World War II but reconstructed in 1960.

It is the last resting place for an estimated 120,000 bodies, including some of Britain's most famous Nonconformists:
•William Blake (1757-1827), poet, and his wife Catherine (1762-1831)
•John Owen (1616-83), Congregational minister
•Susanna Wesley (1669-1742), mother of John and Charles Wesley:
 founders of the Methodist Church
•Daniel Defoe (1661-1731), author of Robinson Crusoe
•John Bunyan (1628-1688), author of The Pilgrim's Progress
•Isaac Watts (1674-1748), hymnwriter
•George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers) - in the Quaker Gardens, next to the Bunhill Fields Meeting House
Many of the graves are packed closely together, giving an idea of how London's burial places looked before large cemeteries further from the centre of London opened from the 1830s onwards.

Bunhill today is a popular lunchtime spot for office workers wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of the surrounding City.
You cannot wander amongst the tombs as there are railings around them with padlocked gates, but there are benches to sit upon and the squirrels are charming and incredibily friendly. 

Click the link for Bunhill Fields Cemetery Map


  1. Another great post. Thank you for sharing! I'm gonna tweet this--you deserve way more followers here. Good stuff!

  2. Thank you again Pugbug,
    I just love reseaching and writing and of course visiting these places...
    But you're right, it would nice to share it all


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