Milton Road Cemetery Chapel
The charming neo-14th century Gothic Chapels and Upper Gate Lodge were built in pink Carboniferous limestone quarried on site, with buff Bath stone for mouldings. Originally there were two adjoining chapels for Church of England and non-Conformist services, though the latter was demolished in 1980. The tower surmounted by an octagonal spire houses the chapel bell and was deliberately aligned in front of the top entrance gate.
(The Lower Gate Lodge and entrance in Milton Road were part of the Ashcombe House estate becoming cemetery property only when burial facilities were extended downhill in the 1930s.)
With help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the restoration of the Chapel's Bell Tower and the re-hanging of the Bell were completed in November 2010. The Chapel now houses small exhibitions which have been organised by the Friends of Milton Road Cemetery and provided by Worle Community School as part of their enrichment week..
The picture below was supplied to Weston-super-Mare Town Council after an article was published in the Weston Mercury asking for images of both the Church of England Chapel and the Non-Conformist Chapel together prior to 1980. The Town Council and the Friends would like to thank Mr Palmer for the picture.
Milton Road Cemetery History
With the increasing number of residents, 4033 in the 1851 census, doubling to over 8000 by 1862, the old burial ground at St John's Church had been filled and a new site was required. The Town Commissioners chose the new site on the southern side of Bristol Road (this was then the outskirts of Weston) and the project was put out to tender. The design was won by Charles E Davis, who designed the cemetery to included two mortuary Chapels, one Church of England the other non-conformist, and an arboretum. The Diocese of Bath and Wells, on seeing the plans, insisted on the two separate chapels with at least a 6" gap and the bell tower to be central to the gate and path as most cemeteries of the time were arranged.
Both chapels were built in the English gothic style from 1300-1350, with the stone quarried from site. The limestone used is known as pink limestone, or Bed 21. The stone running along the bases of the chapel and around the edges is the harder and more durable Bath Stone. There is a vein of Pink Limestone which runs from Milton under the cemetery and crops out at Anchor Head Cove. The stone became this colour during the carboniferous period, a time of low sea level and mountain building, through the iron components which oxidised and turned the mud red.
The arboretum of native and exotic trees was planted by a Mr Maule of Bristol, no doubt under the guidance of Charles E Davis. Some of the trees planted in the cemetery at the time can still be seen today. The atlas cedar, stone pine, lucombe oak and two renowned monkey puzzle trees are a few of those still standing.
The site chosen by the Commissioners was, unbeknown to them, the same site in which the Bronze aged people used to bury their dead and broken remains of funerary urns have often been dug up - these urns have been of Cornish origin.
In 1917 the cemetery was extended down to Milton Road taking in the Gate Lodge of Ashcombe House, a detached mansion built by the Capel family, part of whose ground was used for the extension. The house was commandeered for use by the Red Cross as a hospital for wounded soldiers in the Second World War and local girls would help out there.
A walk through the cemetery
The Lodge at the entrance is built from the same pink limestone as the chapel, quarried from site. The Lodge was built by Frederick Lambert, the Eighth Earl of Cavan. Facing you is the mortuary chapel, which is now the only remaining chapel in the cemetery. The non-conformist chapel was demolished in 1980 at the same time the bell tower was in need of strengthening to hold the bell. Just behind the chapel is a memorial to Belgian refugees who fled to Weston during the First World War. The first group of refugees numbered 16 men women and children, that number grew to over 100, many of whom died as a result of the suffering they had endured before fleeing Belgium. In 1922 this memorial of Cornish Granite was installed to commemorate them. The survivors gradually returned to Belgium and by 1917 all had gone home.
On the ridge, close to the War memorial, there are no graves. This is because the ground is broken by caves or old underground mine shafts. Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding villages were once a thriving mining industry in search of iron, lead, zinc and iron ores. It is here that you can see part of the original limestone grassland flooring which supports a variety of plants and wildlife - one plant which grows here is the beautiful Autumn Ladies Tresses, a small and rare wild orchid.
The cemetery also supports such wildlife such as badgers, stoats, birds and a vast range of butterflies and bees.
The limestone flooring can be found at the top of this rise. Near the bottom is a group of Commonwealth war graves, together with those civilians killed in the Second World War. The Lodge and gate at the southern entrance were originally those for Ashcombe House before the drive was built.
Mr Charles Edward Davis
Born 1827 died 1902 Charles Davis was the Mayor of Bath and its city surveyor and architect in the mid to late 19th century. He not only designed Milton Road Cemetery but Trowbridge Cemetery and Lower Bristol Road Cemetery in Bath as well. He became a leading consultant in church restoration.
Charles Davis was responsible for finding the Roman Bath house in Bath in 1879. Worried by a leak from the medieval King's Bath in 1878, he decided to explore the ground around it and in doing so found Roman remains and the Roman Baths.
Charles Davis designed and built the Empire Hotel in Bath as a lasting legacy a year before his death.
The bell in the Chapel Tower stands at 2 ½ feet and was made by Lester and Pack of London in 1766. It was a gift from Ralph Ward to the Charlotte Chapel in London, which became the Westminster Theatre in 1931, before this, it was a cinema 1926. Investigation is ongoing as to how and when the bell arrived at the chapel. The bell would be tolled when the funeral procession arrived at the gates and again to inform visitors that the cemetery was due to close.
Milton Road Cemetery Fees:
We acknowledge the importance of a memorial as a means of commemorating the life of a loved one, acting as a focus for grief initially and, in years to come, as an historical record. Due to this, we adhere to a strict code of regulations (PDF, 258Kb).
*Reduced fee for residents of the civil parish of Weston-super-Mare (including Worle and Uphill)
|Child < 5 years||N/A|
|Child 5 - 16 years||£330.00/£165.00*|
|Adult (16+ years) - single depth||£1,400.00/£700.00*|
|Adult - double depth||£1,500.00/£750.00*|
|Adult - Treble depth||Price on Request|
|Use of cemetery Chapel||£60.00/Free*|
|Exclusive Right of Burial|
|Ex-common graves (single depth only)||£1,300.00/£650.00*|
|Cremated Remains Interments|
|Child < 5 years||N/A|
|Child 5 - 16 years||£70.00/£35.00*|
|Adult 16+ (in casket)||£230.00/£115.00*|
|Adult 16+ (without casket)||£98.00/£49.00*|
|Cremated Remains Plots - within main cemetery (Not Memorial Garden)|
|To allow four sets of Cremated Remains per plot (80 year deed)||£1,100.00/£550.00*|
|Cremated Remains Plots|
|Plots available on various sections throughout the cemetery||£1,056.00/£528.00*|
Tablet and Plaque (cremated remains plot)
|Transfer of ownership of Grave||£70.00|
|For a copy of deed of grant||£25.00|
|Copy of register entry||£23.00|
|Exhumations||Actual cost. Please email for more details.|
|Permission for Everlasting Candles||£8.00|
The new Memorial Garden is a separate cremated remains area situated within the historic Milton Road Cemetery.
Each plot is defined by a stone edging and measures 2' x 2' (60cm x 60cm).
Two sets of cremated remains, either loose or in a wooden casket, can be interred in each plot by appointment.
An a total of £2,300.00/£1,150.00* (including VAT) an all-inclusive package is available, consisting of:
- Cremated remains plot with 80 year deed
- All polished black granite desk tablet (to include one flower holder)
- First inscription - (60 letters max) in silver
- Permit for memorial
- Fitting of memorial.
You can download a copy of our Milton Road Cemetery regulations (PDF, 258Kb) here.
Children's Memorial Garden
Memorial Garden Plot (Private plot for interment of cremated remains either loose or in a casket) £131.00/£66.00*
Name Plaque for Memorial Wall price TBC
Scattering of cremated remains FOC
Friends of Milton Road Cemetery
The Milton Road Cemetery Friends Group is a newly established group whose aim is to create awareness of the vast historical interest there is in Weston-super-Mare's only Cemetery.
Designed in 1856 by Mr Charles Davies, the Cemetery was designed as a Victorian Garden Cemetery, with a vast array of native and exotic trees and pathways to lead you round grounds to enjoy the spectacular views the Cemetery has to offer. At the time of construction, the Cemetery was built on the outskirts of the town, on a site which was previously used as a Bronze Age burial site.
The original design for the Cemetery consisted of two Chapels, a Non-Conformist Chapel and a Church of England Chapel. These were built with a six inch gap between them and the Bell Tower central to the driveway, this was requested by the then Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Right Reverend Robert John Eden 1854-1869.
Building commenced in May 1855 by a local Builder and Stone Mason, Mr John Palmer.
Weston-super-Mare Town Council took over ownership of Milton Road Cemetery in October 2003 and the Groundstaff, employed by the Town Council, have worked extremely hard to improve the Cemetery Grounds.
Unfortunately in November 2008, the Town Council had to close the Chapel to the public, due to the structure of the Bell Tower becoming unsafe.
The Town Council applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for financial assistance with the Chapel's repair and the Friends Group, brought together to run the heritage project, worked incredibly hard creating educational materials and an audio tour. Improved signage was placed around the Cemetery and the Chapel was repaired and opened in Novemeber 2010.
The Chapel is now open to the public every second Saturday of the month with exhibitions and talks. Please watch the Cemetery noitce boards for up and coming events.
If you are interested in finding out more about Milton Road Cemetery Friends, or the Heritage project, please contact the Amenities Officer at the Town Council on Tel: 01934 632575