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Local History - burial grounds in Great Malvern and surrounds


Cemeteries and churchyards can provide a window on history and occasionally provide new leads for family historians.

Burials are recorded in church and cemetery registers. Where registers are full or churches have closed the registers may now be with the County Records Office. Remember county names and boundaries have changed over time.

In some areas of the country surveys of monumental inscriptions have been made, and lately digital photographic records of gravestones and monuments are being recorded, some of which can only be accessed on a pay per view basis. In a few cases churches have put burial information on line and some information can be found on the ancestry.co.uk website.

Some of this information has been consolidated by the Federation of Family History Societies and published on CD as the National Burial Index.

In 2012 there were few on-line resources listing burials in Great Malvern and surrounding villages, but the situation is changing.

Here are some notes about burial grounds and local initiatives we have heard of to make information available on line.

Burial grounds

Great Malvern Priory

The Priory became a parish church following the dissolution of the monasteries. Burials in vaults in the church ceased about 1851. The churchyard was closed to burials about 1920.

Some information is held on the gravestonephotos.com website - 100 graves recorded and 206 names.

This website lists a small number of the headstones in the Priory churchyard.

Great Malvern cemetery

Great Malvern Victorian Cemetery opened in 1861. There are six thousand graves in the Victorian section but only one thousand have memorials and many are in poor condition. The cemetery is still in use and contains in total some fourteen thousand graves.

There is an ongoing project sponsored by Malvern Civic Society to record the Victorian monumental inscriptions.

The findagrave.com website now lists 964 burials.

This website lists photographs of a small number of the headstones in Great Malvern cemetery together with some notes on the Commonwealth War Graves.

St Matthias Malvern Link

The first church was founded in 1846. The gravestonephotos.com website lists 645 graves.

St James West Malvern

The gravestonephotos.com website lists 77 graves.

St Peter Cowleigh Bank

The gravestonephotos.com website lists 278 graves.

St Peter Malvern Wells

St Peter's closed about 1994 and is now a private residence; we believe there is a small burial ground next door, in addition to Malvern Wells cemetery in Green Lane.

St Mary Guarlford

The churchyard is still open but almost full. The first burial was in 1845, and the register records about one thousand one hundred burials. Many of the older grave markers have been lost and some of the older plots may have been reused.

A survey of monumental insciptions was made about 1990 and a list of names and inscriptions can be found on the Guarlford website. The Guarlford History Group has a project underway to add photographs.

St Mary Madresfield

The first church was built near Madresfield Court circa 1200 but the present building dates from 1867 and the present churchyard possibly from 1857.

The first burial in the register, which is still in use,  is dated 1813

Some information is held on the findagrave.com website which lists 94 burials.

St Leonards Newland

The present chapel dates from 1864, replacing a much older building. Its burial ground lies a few hundred yards to the east.

The current burial register starts in 1966 and the earlier registers are now held by the Worcester Records Office.

Photographs of Newland churchyard and a small number of the headstones can be found on this website.

St Peter Powick

The ancient church of St Peter at Powick is largely hidden from the road, so missed by most motorists driving by. The original building, dating from about 1200, has been greatly modified over the years. There is a large churchyard with plenty of space remaining for new burials.

Some information is held on the gravestonephotos.com (352) and findagrave.com (90) websites.

There are some interesting memorials in the church, but very little historical information seems to have been published.

St Gabriels Hanley Swan

St Gabriels is located near Hanley Swan cross roads. The findagrave.com website lists only 29 records.

St Mary's Hanley Castle

St Mary's is an ancient church. There are some records in Worcester Records Office. The gravestonephotos.com website lists 157 graves.

Blackmore Park Roman Catholic Church Hanley Swan

The churchyard of Our Lady and St Alphonsus is still in use. There are many burials but the findagrave.com website lists only nine.

St Wulstan's Roman Catholic Church Little Malvern

We have yet to visit this church where the composer Edward Elgar is buried. It is suggested you contact the priest in charge at the church or Worcester Records Office for further information.

St Gregory's Castlemorton

St Gregory's at Castlemorton is one of four churches in the benefice of Longdon, Queenhill, Bushley and Castlemorton. The gravestonephotos.com website lists 468 graves.

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