Accrington Cemetery

The History of Accrington Cemetery

Accrington Crematorium


In 1864, a 20 acre plot of land on the boundary with Huncoat was purchased due to the increasing filling up of previous denomination-specific cemeteries.  It was drained and landscaped and 3 mortuary chapels were established within the grounds, one for Anglicans, Catholics and Nonconformists.  This provided the first public open space for the inhabitants of Accrington.  The Cemetery was known as the Hillock Vale Municipal Cemetery.

The Cemetery was originally approached by a curving tree-lined avenue across a field, with a lodge just inside the cemetery itself, but the field has since become an extension to the burial ground and the lodge has been replaced by a house at the main entrance on Burnley Road.

Within the Cemetery is an area of older memorials which are taller and more exuberant and more varied than more recent memorials which enhance its Victorian character.

Although when it was first laid out the cemetery lay at some distance from the nearest development, areas of housing now border the site to the north and south, and an industrial estate lies immediately to the north west.

The Cemetery was extended in the early 19th century occupying former fields immediately to the south east and roughly doubling the size of the burial ground.  It includes a large open area that has yet to be used for burials and a war memorial is situated near its southern end, a short distance from the entrance.  At this point the cemetery may have been known as Huncoat Cemetery.

In 1954, an application was made to turn the non-conformist chapel (which had fallen into disuse) into a crematorium.  The other two chapels were eventually demolished due to lack of use. Further information for Accrington Crematorium can be found here.

There are many local prominent people buried in the cemetery including the very first interment in the cemetery, William Barnes of Accrington House, Cotton manufacturer and one of the chief advocates for the cemetery.  He was the first burial in the cemetery on 10 October, 1864.

Also of note, the Bury Family of Arden Hall, who owned many mills in Accrington and Benjamin Hargreaves one of the family who created Broad Oak printing works and the school of his name.