This list includes abstracts from the Colloquium since 2005. Papers from the Virtual Colloquium held in November 2023 are marked [v].

Brian Parsons 2014

Independent researcher

Abandoning burial: explaining a regional shift towards cremation

Although cremation commenced in 1885, it would be eighty later before burial was replaced as the preferred mode of disposal of the dead in England & Wales. Whilst this reflected a national shift, research highlights the existence of a significant regional variation. Focusing on the south west London/north Surrey area and using funeral directors records as the source of data, it can be established that the preference for cremation was reached at least a decade earlier. […]

Colin R. Fenn 2014

Friends of West Norwood Cemetery, UK

Alas, poor Yorick! The exhumations and reburial of the Baywater burialground of St George’s Hanover Square

This presentation reviews the politics and processes that were followed when the parish burial ground of St George’s Hanover at Bayswater was cleared in the winter of 1969. The story has been revealed through the investigation a single 6’6 x 2’6 burial plot at West Norwood Cemetery that holds thousands of remains exhumed and transported there for cremation and reburial there. The Bayswater ground operated for nearly a century before being closed in 1852, and was the last resting place of many notable Georgians, […]

James Johnson 2014

University of York, UK

Greener graveyards: the adaptive re-use of urban burial grounds

This paper is intended to look into the possibility of the adaptive re-use of closed and disused urban burial grounds as public green spaces, as well as the possibility of expanding the use of an active burial ground to include use as a green space. This will be done by engaging with previous work on the subject, ranging from the pioneering suggestions made in John Claudius Loudon’s seminal book of 1843, to the use of burial grounds as green spaces today by local authorities and community groups. […]

Josephine Wall 2014

University of Birmingham, UK

Death rites of the rich and famous: exploring the effect of influential burials on garden cemetery development between 1800-1915, initial findings and research avenues

My undergraduate dissertation focused on the use of landscape and monuments in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, between 1804 and 1915. It also examined the effect that monuments to significant or famous individuals had on cemetery development. My PhD thesis aims to build on this work by comparing the patterns seen at Père Lachaise to British garden cemeteries. The principal case studies for this comparative analysis are Highgate Cemetery (London), Glasgow Necropolis, Cathays Cemetery (Cardiff) and Key Hill Cemetery (Birmingham). […]

Jude Jones 2014

University of Southampton

The impermanence of memory: an archaeological assessment of tomb reorganisation in Hampshire and Sussex parish churches 1550-1900

Much practical and theoretical research has been carried out by architectural and art historians on the influx of effigial tombs and mortuary memorials in churches during the 16th and 17th centuries in Britain. Archaeological interest is more spasmodic and often concentrates on such monuments in their idealised forms. What has become clear in my own recent research are the ways in which such tombs have subsequently been reduced, mutilated, moved around and occasionally totally removed from their original settings inside their churches. […]

Matthew Potter 2014

Limerick City Archives, Republic of Ireland

Funerary art in an Irish Cemetery, 1855-2014

Mount Saint Lawrence, Limerick is the fifth largest cemetery in the Republic of Ireland with an area of eighteen acres and a total of 75,000 burials. It contains some 10,750 grave-markers, ranging from huge Celtic crosses to tiny iron crosses. This paper will present the findings of a survey conducted of the grave-markers in Mount Saint Lawrence. It will examine them according to typology, style, material and location within the Cemetery. Also examined will be the mortuary chapel and the two public monuments housed within the Cemetery. […]


The Cemetery Research Group runs two events a year: in May and in November. Follow the links and send in an abstract