Lyncombe and Widcombe & St James' Cemetery

Opened: 
1861
Status: 
Closed
Number of Burials: 
24,724 (1861-)
Number of Memorials: 
1,993
Maintenance: 

The Council’s maintenance regime has the whole cemetery strimmed every month during the growing season.

Access: 

Access to the cemetery is by a gate on the Lower Bristol Road adjoining the lodge. It is possible to drive into the cemetery. A notice board at the entrance gives the opening hours.

Chapels.jpg

Chapels

Location of Lyncombe.jpg

Location

The cemetery opened in 1861 as Lyncombe & Widcombe’s fourth graveyard and the second graveyard for St James. Instead of being solely an Anglican cemetery it has Anglican and nonconformist chapels and areas and it was administered by a burial board. It is divided into sections labelled A to Z with A starting by the gate and Z by the railway line to the south. Each ‘section’ comprises 7 rows labelled A to G. The numbering of the plots within each row start at 1 on the eastern side of cemetery.

The cemetery is divided into consecrated and unconsecrated parts. In general terms, the plots 1 to about 30 in each row are consecrated and 31 to about 60 unconsecrated. There are exceptions to this general scheme; all plots in sections A to D and T to Z are considered to be consecrated.

There were over 24,000 burials. The graves are aligned in a general east-west orientation. Many are common graves and even some family graves with memorials use plots previously used for burials. High-explosive bombs fell on the north-western part of the cemetery in 1942 and destroyed monuments in that area. Only about 19% of burials have a corresponding memorial.

The burial records are a series of burial register volumes held by Bath & NE Somerset Bereavement Services. These registers are not accessible to the public and access to the index (but not the registers) was only granted under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Scanned images of the index were provided by the council on payment of a fee for scanning. It was not permitted to photograph the index. The index volumes have the name, date of burial and burial location. They do not have the ages. To determine the age the corresponding death registration has been used; where an unequivocal match can be made the age has been added.

The names appearing on memorials have been documented in the 1980s but not the inscriptions themselves or the locations. These names have been merged with those appearing in the burial register index to indicate, for a burial, whether there is a monument. A survey has been undertaken.

Overall Layout of the Lyncombe & Widcombe and St Jame's Cemetery.jpg

Overall layout of the Lyncombe & Widcombe and St James’ Cemetery

Number of burials per year Lyncombe.png

Number of burials per year

It should be noted that the metal sign to the west of the lodge has 'St James Cemetery' and most press reports of funerals in this cemetery that appear in the Bath Chronicle refer to it in this way.

Documentation: 

The burial registers for the cemetery are held by Bath & NE Somerset’s Bereavement Services. The Council offers a service to locate a grave.

Indexes for Burials at Lyncombe & Widcombe and St James’ Cemetery, Bath. Widcombe Association. A 2012 draft of the documentation, including name and location indexes, is at Bath Record Office.

Limitations

There remain about 50 memorials to locate. Various memorials found in the survey carried out in the 1980s have yet to be found. A trial on a flat area which should have had a memorial found that the slab was covered by about 10cm depth of turf.

The description of the location of grave has either a C or U suffix to indicate whether consecrated or unconsecrated. This suffix has had to be omitted from the Bath Burial Index because its use was not consistent. Some graves with multiple burials have different suffices for different burials even though in the same grave. Inclusion of the suffix would have indicated a separate grave when this is not the case.