|HCC Site ID:||1850||Parish:||Romsey|
|Designations:||Chapel LB II||Area:|
|Access:||Public Access||Ownership:|| Managed by Test Valley Borough Council
with Friends of the Cemetery
Location and Site
Situated on Botley Road, Romsey
Parliament passed Burial Acts in the 1850s as a result of overcrowding of graveyards and outbreaks of diseases such as cholera. In 1854 an Act was passed enabling Boroughs to use a rate for a cemetery and Burial Boards were set up for this purpose. In Romsey this led to the closure of the Abbey Graveyard and the purchase of land to set up a new cemetery after an appeal to Lord Palmerston in 1854 not to close the old graveyard had been turned down. Lord Palmerston opted to be interred in the new cemetery (died 1865) rather than in Westminster Abbey.
The Burial Board borrowed £2000 in 1856 and a new cemetery covering 3 acres, 2/3 of which were consecrated, was opened by the Bishop of Winchester at Whitenap Hill in 1857. Laid out to the design of W. Lower a Guildford based architect and Romsonian who probably trained in the Royal Engineers, the site was very carefully chosen after soil percolation and other tests had been carried out. The final cost was upwards of £3000 and included the construction of a roadside tile-capped boundary wall, a lodge cottage with cemetery superintendent’s office and two chapels. Both chapels were designed by Lower. A Gothic-style chapel was originally for the use of Church of England members but is now used by all denominations though not very often, and an Italianate chapel was for use of non-conformists. The Italianate chapel had brick arches well gauged and skilfully cut with an interior totally of yellow brick with tuck pointing. It subsequently became a groundsman’s store and deteriorated.
The tree planting scheme was entirely evergreen species that were available in 1857, and was probably influenced by Loudon. Between 1897 and 1910 the area of the Romsey Cemetery was doubled.
Now surrounded on three sides by housing with playing fields on the opposite side of Botley Road. The Italianate chapel, a Grade II listed building, was restored in the 1990s by the Test Valley Archaeological Trust with the help of public subscriptions and is now used as an archaeological store and workplace.
The Cemetery is managed by Test Valley Borough Council as a lawn cemetery although with a wildlife area in the lower area. The burials include the bodies of many well-known Romsey people and 18 official War Graves.There is a Friends Group which is involved in the maintenance of the site.
A new cemetery in 1857, designed by W. Lower of Guildford, included a tile-capped boundary wall, an Italianate non-conformist and Church of England Chapels. After much deterioration the Italianate Chapel with (appropriate tree planting) was restored by Test Valley Archaeological Society in the 1990s.
Information: May 2000