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Barnes Cemetery

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Subject: Murder of Julia Martha Thomas, Barnes, London, Ebenezer Cobb Morley, List of cemeteries in London, Old Ship, Richmond
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Barnes Cemetery

Barnes Old Cemetery
Decapitated statue of an angel at Barnes Cemetery
Year established 1854 (1854)
Location Barnes, London
Country England
Type Disused
Owned by London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Size 2 acres (0.81 ha)

Barnes Cemetery, also known as Barnes Old Cemetery, is a disused cemetery in Barnes, south-west London, England. It is located off Rocks Lane on Barnes Common.


The cemetery was established in 1854 on two acres of sandy ground purchased by the Church of England for the sum of £10. A chapel, lodge and landscaping were provided at a further cost of £1,400. The cemetery functioned as an additional burial ground to the local parish churchyard.[1] It was well-used and a number of distinguished Victorians were buried there, with a variety of monuments and statues erected to their memory. At the centre of the cemetery is a large memorial to the Hedgman family, who were local benefactors in Barnes.[2] The cemetery was claimed to be haunted by a ghostly nun that would hover over the grave of Julia Martha Thomas, the victim of an infamous murder in 1879.[1]

In 1966 the cemetery was acquired by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames with the intention of turning it into a lawn cemetery, a grass-covered area where each grave is marked with a commemorative plaque rather than standing memorials. The council demolished the chapel and lodge and removed the boundary railings to prepare the cemetery for its new role. However, it then dropped the plans and effectively abandoned the cemetery.[2]

Barnes Old Cemetery is today overgrown with trees and shrubs. Many of the monuments have been vandalised and most of the statues have been decapitated. Although efforts have been made to clear the paths, the cemetery has been in a state of acute neglect and disrepair for decades. A local councillor commented as long ago as 1971 that "I've seen burial grounds at Flanders marched over by scores of troops – but even they did not look as bad as the Barnes cemetery."[1] For its part, Richmond upon Thames Council describes the cemetery as an "atmospheric and romantic place" with "an evocative atmosphere of decay and seclusion."[3]

Memorial to William Hedgman at Barnes Cemetery

Notable interments

War graves

Eight Commonwealth service personnel, whose graves are registered and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, are buried at the cemetery, five from World War I and three from World War II.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Miller, Hugh (1986). London Cemeteries: An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer. Ashgate Publishing Limited. p. 66.  
  2. ^ a b Beech, Darren; Gilmour, Lesley (2011). London's Cemeteries. Metro Publications. p. 105.  
  3. ^ Environment Directorate, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (May 2007). "Barnes Common and Mill Hill Conservation Area Study". London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. p. 10. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Rudd, Alyson (7 April 2008). "The father of football deserves much more".  
  5. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report. Breakdown obtained from casualty record.
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