Egyptian Gate

Built close to the Cemetery Office and forming an opening onto the bridleway at Sharrow Head is the Egyptian Gate (Grade II* listed). This unusual entrance is designed in an Egyptian style, with iron rail gates richly ornamented with symbolic references.


The ouroboros – snake eating its tail – in the centre of each gate is an ancient symbol of immortality and rebirth. There are also fasces, a bunch of rods bundled together, an Etruscan and later Roman symbol of magisterial power and sometimes of unity.

Above the gate is a winged orb, a mythological symbol that was commonly found over the entrances to ancient Egyptian tombs. It symbolises the triumph of day over night, light over dark and good over evil. This design also echoes the symbol of the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove, which can be seen above the entrance to the Nonconformist Chapel.


When the Friends of the General Cemetery were first formed in 1989 the Egyptian Gate was one of the first structures they restored.