This is, as it says, a brief history of the cemetery, as far as I have got at the moment. There are gaps, which I am hoping to fill so any other information would be appreciated. C.M.
Brief Cemetery History
Comment in the paper about ground selected for the cemetery being on the north side of the Folkestone laundry, between that and the railway embankment. Land on the other side of the arch was more out of the way and less valuable for building purposes. (This appears to have been chosen finally.)
Visit by HMI RD Grainger, recommended a new cemetery N. or NE of town.
July. The Board bought 9 acres of land, costing £2,700. The cost of the chapels, lodge, gates, boundary walls and laying out and planting the grounds and making roads and walks was about £3,000.
Nov 6. Decision to divide land 2/3 consecrated and 1/3 unconsecrated.
Nov 24. Fencing & paths were laid out.
December 22. Plans were produced for chapels for consecrated & non-consecrated ceremonies & a lodge.
April 19. The Home Secretary agreed to keep the town churchyard open until August 1st, as the new cemetery was expected to be complete by then.
Sep 30. Board voted to use the scale of fees in the consecrated section that was proposed at the vestry meeting on the 8th July 1856, viz clergy 7s 6d, 5s and 2s 6d, ‘according to classes,’ sexton’s fees 2s, 1s 6d and 1s.
Nov 1. It was agreed to arrange with Mr. Meikle for him to plant the six circular plots in the centre and the ground adjoining the buildings, cost was £2.20s.
Dec 5. First Burial – James Paine Clark, plot 14, grave 2522, unconsecrated ground. He was the son of Rev John Clark of Grove House.
Dec 20. Lambeth Palace to prepare a licence for burials until the Archbishop can consecrate it.
Jan 17. Regulations for the cemetery were agreed, including times for burials, type of coffin, depth of burial, erection and care of stones and opening times for the cemetery, among other details.
Feb 1. Cemetery was officially opened.
April 12. Scaffolding was erected for the removal of the ‘spire’ on the chapel on the consecrated side.
April 23. Consecrated by The Archbishop of Canterbury.
May 16. First burial in consecrated ground, Ann Langdon 5174, plot 25.
July 18. A committee of three to be set up to dispose of the crop of wheat growing in the cemetery area. (This appears to be after the first burials?)
Aug 1. Discussion of complaint by the Vicar of Christchurch about the closure of his churchyard and loss of burial fees.
Nov 17. Fees agreed for use of hearse – class A 4/-, class B 2/-, class C 1/-. Extra charge for use of drapery 2/-.
Mar 22. Burial Board advertises for a man in charge of the cemetery at 15 shillings a week and a house.
24 Mar. Mr John Gambrill authorised make sure grounds are rolled and made level.
Apr 7. The auditor questioned why a cemetery of 9 acres cost £260 in upkeep. He suggested £100 was enough.
June 13. Discussion and finally vote against enlargement of existing cemetery.
Aug 4. Need for additional space was discussed. Cemetery expected to be full in about 6 years unless more land is bought.
Nov 30. Need for additional space raised after the Board passed a motion to extend by 3 ¾ acres of land on the east, rather than have another cemetery in the Canterbury Road as had been discussed.
Apr 25. Advert to sell ash, elm, oak, yew and other wood from the shrubbery at the east end .
Feb 8 Folkestone Corporation asked to repair the tar paths at the expense of the Burial Board.
Sept 8. Advert for repairs and additions to the chapels and caretaker’s house.
Erection of Cross of Sacrifice to remember the dead of WW1.
Dec 2. Government refuses purchase of land in Coolinge Lane for new cemetery.
Sep 14. Third Inquiry, Purchase of land in Hawkinge and Paddlesworth for new cemetery.
Mortuary used by Civil Defence during the war. Chapels needed repairs due to war damage and general wear and tear. Estimated cost was £120.
Chapels are taken down.
Proposal to close cemetery. Reports show in 1962 show that burials were on the decline. To save money there was talk of removing all the kerbstones on plots to make it a ‘lawn cemetery.’ The Commonwealth War Graves and Cross of Sacrifice finally prevented this.
March. The cemetery was vandalised, 70 stones valued at £700 were pulled down. 40 were re-erected, 26 had broken crosses and 4 were broken beyond repair.
More stones were damaged, 43 this time at a value of £4,000-£8,000.
As recently as 1992 and 1997 stones have been broken. In 1992 the plot of Charles Ridsdale and his daughter Rosamund was damaged. 2 bronze 2ft figures of Christ were stolen and a 6ft stone damaged. At the same time, another 2ft figure was stolen and a 5ft stone of Margaret Hammond was damaged.
Nov 11. Jan and Richard attended the Remembrance Day service and decided to set up a group to tidy the cemetery.
Friends group met to begin to tidy the cemetery.
Mortuary is broken into, with only minor damage to the doors.
December. The project to make an entry for all graves on ‘Find A Grave’ was completed.
Photography project completed, to add photos to all the ‘Find A Grave’ entries with stones.
Oct 15. White Garden officially opened to remember the stillborn babies said to be buried there.
Compiled by Carole M. with thanks to Karl and Hugh for some of the research.