Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington was created in 1840 using land that had once been the gardens of two large mansions; Fleetwood House and Abney House. The latter had been the home of Isaac Watts, a well known non-conformist and hymn writer. This led to Abney Park becoming the main burial ground in London for dissenters. Non-conformist came from throughout London and the surrounding counties to bury their loved ones in a cemetery that met with their beliefs. There is a non-denominational chapel in the centre of the cemetery, but sadly this has suffered some decay and vandalism and can not be access. However it can be viewed from outside a perimeter fence and there are plans to obtain funding to allow the chapel to be restored to its former glory.
Like many of the “Magnificent Seven” London cemeteries the companies who owned and operated them found them not financial viable, although it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the Abney Park Cemetery Company went into administration. There followed a decade of abandonment before the London Borough of Hackney took over ownership and established a management partnership with the newly formed Abney Park Trust.
Today the cemetery is a wonderful oasis of mature trees and plants used and greatly appreciated by the local population. The cemetery has a controlled wilderness scheme which encourages wildlife whilst allowing the public entry to enjoy the grounds. As you would expect Wikipedia has an excellent page about the cemetery – Click here to access.
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Abney Park Cemetery – Burial Records
The Abney Park Trust has a free online transcription database of the burial records, registration is required, but this is easy to do. The database gives the name of the deceased and date of burial plus a list of who else is buried in the plot which is a real genealogy bonus. If you click on the red cross next to your ancestors name a box opens up where you can register your interest with that person and if another researcher wishes to contact you they can through the trust. This is a very valuable addition to the database. I wrote about the database way back in 2013, but the information is still current. Click here to access that post.
FindAGrave have details of over 31,000 burials for Abney Park cemetery of which 4% have photographs. The information varies, but generally at the very least includes name and date of burial. However if the genealogy gods are smiling you may get date of birth, date of death and an inscription! If you have an Ancestry subscription I suggest you undertake your search via that as they own FindAGrave. FindAGrave can be accessed without an Ancestry subscription, but I find searching via the Ancestry site easier.
Gravestone Photographic Resource (must write a post about this website soon!) has 52 photographs of gravestones so you might be lucky and one of them might be of an ancestors resting place.
Billion Graves has a number of inscription transcripts and photographs. If you have a FindMyPast subscription I suggest you undertake your search via that as they have an agreement with Billion Graves. You can access Billion Graves without a FindMyPast subscription, but I find I get better results for some reason via FindMyPast and to get the most out of BillionGraves you will need to buy a subscription off of them. So this is another reason to get yourself a FindMyPast subscription as total access to BillionGraves is included !
Abney Park Cemetery – Trust
Like many major Victorian cemeteries there is a Friends group, in this case they call themselves the Abney Park Trust. They have an excellent website with a history of the cemetery, details of events, information on the wildlife, dates and times of tours plus much more. A website that is well worth a look.
I visited this cemetery in high summer so the undergrowth was green and lush making it impossible to walk in some areas. However if you wish to visit a particular grave the Trust will make a path through if you give them plenty of notice of your visit.
If you missed my post on Cemetery Records which are important family history building blocks for any genealogy CLICK HERE.
Hope you enjoy these images and if you get a chance do visit one or all of the London “Magnificent Seven” Cemeteries. Hugh Mellor’s book London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer is the best book for these cemeteries. Get it from your library or if you would like to buy a copy – Click here to buy paperback £18.99 or Kindle version £6.64
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