Lyndhurst Cemetery (Bolton's Bench Cemetery)

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HCC Site ID. 1853 Parish: Lyndhurst
Designations: NFNP, CA Area: c1.5 ha
Access: Public Access Ownership: Lyndhurst Parish Council

Location and Site

The cemetery is situated about a kilometre east of the centre of Lyndhurst on White Moor, between the A35 to Southampton and the B3056 to Beaulieu. It lies about 45m above sea level and is approached by a tarmac road from the west. The ground falls and rises gently away on each side and the prospect is mainly open heath though the northern section of the plot is surrounded by trees with a dense understorey of fern and bramble.

Historical Development

In 1883, with the churchyard at St Michael’s becoming full, the Lyndhurst Burial Board made an application to the Commissioner of Woods and Forests for a plot of land to be gifted by the Crown as a site for a burial ground, the village being completely surrounded by Crown Land (HRO 103M94/PX24). The land was granted in July 1884 under the condition that a substantial wall or fence be constructed around the site within 12 months (HRO 25M84/PB2). The churchyard was finally closed to burials in 1885 with a declaration from the Queen, during a period of nationwide struggle for burial land and the creation of many cemeteries away from residential centres. A site for Lyndhurst’s cemetery had been chosen and the plot was laid out near an old gravel pit on White Moor, the chapel was built at the same time. The cemetery was originally intended to form a near rectangle lying south-west – north-east. The chapel and winding paths extant today made the south-west half of this shape but the north-east stretch was kept in reserve for use later in case Lyndhurst became more populous (HRO 23M84/PB2). During the late 1930s, the north-east extension was allowed to return to forest due to its being excessively boggy (HRO 25M84/PB16). There appears to be some confusion as to whether this portion was consecrated. In its place, the boundary was extended south and walled and fenced in to form the current shape, leaving the chapel and older graves as the northern part of the whole. The area reserved for Catholic burials lies outside the north-east wall and makes up around a quarter of the originally planned north-east extension. The burials in this area date from the 1940s and the tree planting along the paths appears to be of a more recent date – late 20th century at the earliest.

Current Description

The cemetery is roughly rectangular running north to south with the north-east corner cut off and contained by a metre high stone wall on the south, west and north-east sides and a chain-link fence on the east side. The northern part containing the chapel is the oldest and has many mature conifers and rhododendrons among the grave and tombs, and various evergreens line the west wall. The paths have a winding layout and are gravel except for those leading to the chapel which are tarmac. These tarmac paths are lined with standard roses and weeping prunus. At the north-east is a plot reserved for catholic burials which lies outside the stone wall, is enclosed by chain-link fence and has its older graves to the north. The southern part of the cemetery, its oldest graves towards the north, is designed on a square plan with a central circular brick-walled area reserved for cremated remains. Tarmac paths lined with currently immature trees lead north, south, east and west from this, some with memorial plaques. The wall forming the south boundary is similarly lined with trees as is a gravel path along the east side. Between this gravel path and the fence is the Garden of Remembrance, which is reserved for memorial tablets alone. Apart from those by the paths there are only a few trees dotted among the graves. The lych gate and west gate lie in a large semi-circle cut out of the rectangle in the middle of the west side, the Lych gate is flanked by mature conifers.

Summary

A sensitively designed cemetery of two distinct halves, the north shady and with a relaxed formality and the south open and bright with a stricter structure. The tree species chosen for this part, crataegus, prunus, laburnum and others, have relatively small ultimate stature which means it will remain mostly open, unshaded and distinct from the older part. The paths, grass and relatively new planting in the southern part are very well cared for and there is evidence of tree felling and management in the more mature planting of the northern part.
HGT Research: July 2015

References

Maps
O.S. 1st, 2nd and 3rd edition 25″ maps
Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
MF2 cemetery microfiche
103M94/PX24 cache of letters regarding the new Lyndhurst cemetery site, 1883-1904
25M84/PB2 grant of land for cemetery at Bolton’s Bench, 1884
25M84/PB16 letters regarding the originally intended north-east section of cemetery, 1937
25M84/PB18 correspondence regarding the southern extension, 1939
Electronic sources
Google Earth
www.thenewforestguide.co.uk/history/new-forest-at-war/new-forest-ww1/
www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery.aspx
www.newforest.hampshire.org.uk/forest_notes/notes.html
www.lyndhurstparishcouncil.org.uk
Other sources
Bisson, J., Boyes, P., Trend, A., Trend, P., (eds) 2011. Lyndhurst Area Plan. Lyndhurst: The Lyndhurst Area Plan committee.
Hampshire County Council, 1971. Lyndhurst Planning Policy Survey. Winchester: Hampshire County Council.
Jackman, R., 1969. Lyndhurst Parish Church. Gloucester: The British Publishing Company.


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Lyndhurst Public Access Click for Disclaimer & copyright
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50.87225009722628, -1.5638914704322815

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