The General Cemetery Company- extracts from the company minutes 1834 – 1949

The Sheffield General Cemetery was one of Britain’s first commercial cemeteries and was originally established and run as a profit-making company. The Company minutes books which are held in the Sheffield City Archive provide detailed information about the construction and management of the site. Volunteers have studied and transcribed the books and selected these highlights to illuminate the Cemetery’s history.

Edited by Jane Horton. Revised edition by Shirley Baxter & Jo Meredith

Editor’s Note:  The Minutes books of the General Cemetery Company are held by Sheffield Archives. They were studied and transcribed by Jane Horton, Tanya Schmoller and Lynn Cullumbine for the Friends of the General Cemetery. Their booklet “Highlights from the Minutes and Reports for Directors of the General Cemetery Company” was published in 1999 with the kind permission of the Head of Leisure Services of Sheffield City Council. In 2020 the booklet was reformatted by Shirley Baxter and Jo Meredith for the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust.

This is not a complete transcription of the minutes. Extracts as recorded have been taken from the minutes and directors’ reports to illuminate the history of the Cemetery. Occasional headings have been added as well as explanatory notes or queries in brackets (….) or (Ed…..)


The conveyance (Arch ref YWD 1903) was between the five Wilsons and Thomas Asline Ward (1781 – 1871) – diarist and Master Cutler in 1816, and in the early 19th Century Sheffield’s most representative notable. Founder of the Literary and Philosophical Society. Portrait of him in Cutler’s Hall.

  • John Jones, draper
  • William Ford Rawson Esq
  • John Wilson, merchant
  • James Ray, surgeon

There was an earlier (the year previous), memorandum of agreement with the Wilsons of the snuff mill and the following people – all members of the General Cemetery Company committee:

  • Thomas Deakin, merchant
  • John Greaves, merchant (Master Cutler 1837)
  • Henry Paul Harwood, doctor of medicine
  • William Ibbotson, merchant
  • John Jones, draper
  • John Newton Mappin, merchant
  • James Ray, surgeon
  • William Ford Rawson Esq
  • Thomas Smith, machine and engine manufacturer
  • Thomas Asline Ward, merchant (Master Cutler 1816)
  • John Wilson, merchant
  • Samuel Owen, draper
  • Thomas Dunn, company merchant (Alderman and Mayor of Sheffield 1844 – 1845 and Master Cutler 1832)

First day of June 1834, general meeting of subscribers

Following this committee, as resolved, entered into a contract with Mr Henry Wilson, of Westbrook, for the purchase of a very eligible piece of land in the immediate neighbourhood of Mr Wilson’s residence containing rather more than nine acres, which was offered to them for the sum of £1,900 and in due time the land was conveyed to certain individuals. Surveys and public competition invited for execution of the works committed the undertaking to Mr Samuel Worth of Sheffield. Works are in a state of forwardness though not so viable because the undertaking is of no ordinary magnitude – very difficult and expensive to excavate.


The entrance road, most catacombs, and the masonry of the Registrar’s house have been nearly completed. Work on the chapel to start soon. The rougher parts of the works are built with stone excavated from the site. Clay from the adjoining land was used for making a large quantity of bricks. A stone quarry-affords an opportunity for executing a plan which though novel will yet be of singular advantage to the company-the space immediately behind the chapel will be occupied by brick graves. It will contain some hundreds of these graves, of great depth, which will always be ready for immediate occupation, as they may be wanted.


Thomas Asline Ward in the chair at the meeting of 6 June 1834 committee ventured into a contract with Henry Wilson of Westbrook to purchase nine acres at £1,900. Five acres to be enclosed first, enough for several generations. Public competition invited and Mr Worth’s sceme adopted. Works commenced forthwith. The nature of the ground, though eminently favourable for the general design, occasions much difficulty and expense in excavating.

The entrance road, the great body of catacombs or vaults upon which the road is raised is nearly complete, chapel in progress and entrance buildings soon to be commenced. Advantage of much stone obtained from our own land and of adjacent land not enclosed has furnished clay with which large quantity of bricks have been made. Excavations of the stone quarry immediately behind chapel afford the opportunity for a novel plan of singular advantage. It is too large to be filled up, so it will be occupied by brick graves-hundreds of great depth ready for immediate occupation.

7 OCTOBER 1835

Contractor to be ordered to complete the entrance road ready for its last coat of stone.

25 NOVEMBER 1835

Resolution to fill the quarry with brick vaults to be rescinded.

Mr Wilson offered (free) soil from the excavation of his intended dam.


Architect’s plan for intended structures behind the chapel to be adopted – each vault in the back range to be divided into two.

29 DECEMBER 1835

Resolved that the vaults at the end of the chapel in quarry shall extend only to the end of the brick walls already erected. Half shall be drop vaults adjoining the chapel, the other half to be entered through the stone quarry. Bannisters to be included in the parapet behind the chapel to correspond with those in front of the house. Front of quarry to be rough walls with the edges cut.

18 JANUARY 1836

Mr Ellison intended to lay two or three acres of land to the cholera burial ground and throw it open to the poor gratis.

29 JANUARY 1836

That the walls along the Porter river Western Edge be palisaded with wrought iron palisading of the pattern new shown by Mr Wilks one inch square, set diamond wise ornamented as shown in pattern (total amount not to exceed 400 guineas). Iron to be ordered from Mr Robinson of Dudley.


Wall next to brick yard be raised to ten feet supervised by Mr Worth. Entrance from Turnpike Road to be erected forthwith, as in the plan by Worth.

27 MAY 1836

Gates for the upper entrance and for finished vault to be of plans now produced.

9 JUNE 1836

William Chadwick to be sexton, gate keeper, gardener and manager of grounds.

28 JULY 1836

Reference to a payment to Messrs Fairbank for a survey of 1834.

28 JULY 1836

Fairbank bill for 1834 survey (£29 9s) should be paid. Mr Hoffland, the landscape painter, now in Sheffield, to be instructed to make a painted drawing of the Cemetery, to be engraved in stone under his direction, as many copies being taken off as the stones will produce.

That the plan of the Cemetery, as now produced by surveyor, be adopted.

23 AUGUST 1836

Mr Worth to be informed that the committee will not pay any further expense of colouring the inside of the chapel.


AGM report on reason for building delays etc.

6 OCTOBER 1836

Messrs William Jackson and George Wells be requested to undertake the direction of the planting of trees. Henry Sanderson sends in bill for lettering and numbering graves.


Cromwell Bottom quarry quote for gravestones. Sides of entrance road to be planted with trees and fenced in with rough posts and rails. Estimate of cost of wooden gates to be erected at obelisks to be procured. Additional trees to be obtained as necessary at not more than £10.

21 NOVEMBER 1836

Mr Worth appointed Honorary Architect of Cemetery.

Mr Hoffland to obtain 1,000 impressions upon India paper, size Imperial Quarto of the Lithographic plate, at £1.15. 0 per 100. Four of these plates, exhibited to the Board, to be shown in windows of Messrs Crookes, Innocent, Leader and Scott.


Only 1000 pulls of plate to be made, not as many as possible.


Concern at the length of time the setting up of the Cemetery took. The whole undertaking has acquired a magnitude and incurred difficulties which far surpass what was at first contemplated. The initial cost was far greater than other cemeteries because all the vaults were excavated at the same time, whereas usually they are made on demand, individually. The whole sum expended by the company probably amounts to £13,000.

19 JANUARY 1837

Sunday evening services were discontinued because of the severe coldness of the place, until Easter Sunday.


Iron gates for Catacombs B and O to be procured.


Mr Marnock to be requested to fence the Lime Trees on the Entrance Road, with a rough paling around each tree.

6 MARCH 1837

Marble manufactury at Ashford to be approached on whether they would exhibit such monuments to show off their workmanship. A stove will be installed in the chapel.

23 MARCH 1837

Mr Greaves, of Lea Croft, be appointed to do such stonework as may be required. A monument of the pattern now produced by Mr Deakin be made of Roche Abbey stone.

3 MAY 1837

Iron gate for catacomb O to be procured. (Bricks sold to Botanical Gardens.)

6 MAY 1837

George Wells’ family to be given a drop vault and stone, with a suitable inscription, free as a tribute to his services to the company. (George Wells was a solicitor.)

Stephen Bacon to be engaged at 30 shillings a week to replace Greaves, and to work as a stone mason wholly for the company.

From the Report of the Directors 1837 (3rd AGM held at Cutlers’ Hall.)

Arrangements have been concluded which will enable their successors to conduct this department of the business so as to add to the numerous attractions which the Cemetery already possesses. In determining to commence a stone yard on the ground, and in employing a skilful and ingenious Mason, who will be under their own direction will secure the richest display of elegance, propriety, and taste in the varied memorials which affection may place upon the ashes of departed friends.

This however, is only the infancy of its being. Situated beyond the precinct of the town, in its scenery, picturesque and enchanting, exhibiting amidst the stillness which befits the repose of the dead, so many forms of life to remind the spectator rather of the future resurrection than of the temporary dissolution of the body, placed under regulations which invite the members of every religious communion to the use of its advantages in the form most agreeable to themselves, and which convey the fullest assurance that the remains of the humblest individual deposited within its limits shall rest in uninterrupted quiet – the Sheffield General Cemetery may be expected, ere long, to receive, as a place of burial, a very extensive share of public patronage, as it must indubitably obtain a high rank in public esteem.

21 AUGUST 1837

Secretary to obtain from Ebenezer Smith books and papers that are the property of the company.

28 AUGUST 1837

Thanks of the Board be presented to Mr Robert Marnock for his services in inspecting the laying out and planting of the Cemetery, and that he be requested to accept a donation of £5 as an acknowledgement thereof.

10 NOVEMBER 1837

Parties interring in the Cemetery can employ anyone they choose to execute an inscription.

12 JANUARY 1838

£67 16s expended in erection of stone mason’s workshop.

(Two upper gates of Cemetery mentioned – to be kept closed.)

Stephen Bacon resigns.

14 MARCH 1838

Resolved: the Guardians of the poor for the Sheffield Union be given the price of 4 shillings and sixpence for the internment of each pauper.

18 MAY 1838

In every public grave a depth of three feet shall be left above the highest coffin.

8 AUGUST 1838

Board to be placed at the obelisks, giving notice that a reward of one guinea will be paid upon conviction of the offender, to any person giving information of any individual found injuring trees on the avenue, or committing depredations in the Cemetery.

Stone mason’s workshop is in a field adjacent to the Cemetery. To combat vandalism, closure on Sabbath. No grave or vault stone admitted if not furnished by Directors. Tablets and other monumental erections, subject to approval admitted on payment of a fee.


During the period which has elapsed since the Proprietors of the Sheffield General Cemetery were last assembled, this town, in common with the greater part of the nation, has been called to endure the painful effects arising from an almost unparalleled depression in the state of trade and commerce. It will not, under these circumstances, be accounted a matter of surprise that the Directors cannot report a sudden and rapid accumulation of business to the Cemetery. Much of the capital has been expended, having been required to defray the company’s expense of erecting a stone mason’s workshop in the field adjoining the Cemetery.

12 OCTOBER 1838

Road below gates of stone yard and Sharrow Lane be repaired with stone and cinders.

Footpath for entrance towards Sharrow Vale be walled on both sides with dressed stone.


In section II purchasers of land in 2nd, 4th and 6th rows be obliged to lay only flat stones.

14 DECEMBER 1838

Stone walling on each side of footpath towards Sharrow Vale erected by William Reynolds at £11 10s be approved, two guineas having been contributed by Henry Wilson Esq.


An additional number of trees to be planted by the Sexton on the Entrance Road.

10 MAY 1839

Privy to be erected at the North end of the Stone Mason’s workshop. Measures to be taken immediately to ventilate the chapel.

12 JULY 1839

The North Gates to be opened to public at 1.30pm on Sabbath till sunset, and a peace keeper to be engaged at 1s per afternoon and provided with a stout black staff. Repairs necessary to Minister’s house to be carried out.

9 AUGUST 1839

Notice board to be placed at Entrance Gates prohibiting the admission of dogs. Repairs are needed to the footbridge across the Porter, to be discussed with Henry Wilson.

Foundation wall where it has been injured by late flood, to be repaired. Fines for Directors for absence to be paid to funds of The Aged Females Friendly Society.


From the Report of the Directors 1839

The Directors have pleasure in stating that the execution of the stonework and the lettering in the Cemetery, by masons employed by the Board, appears to give increasing satisfaction to the proprietors of vaults and graves.

21 FEBRUARY 1840

Fire insurance values:

Minister’s House £150

Chapel £100

Two lodges £25

Remainder of lithographic prints and the stone, to be sold to the printer John Innocent for not less than £10. Copy of recent work “Gatherings from Graveyards” to be procured.

10 AUGUST 1840 (6TH AGM)

As in previous years, the resolution of 19 January 1837 re fee for admission of monuments, not to be acted on.

19 FEBRUARY 1841

For greater security of the property of the company deposited in the safe, the Sexton should in future sleep in Registrar’s office – a suitable bedstead to be provided.

26 FEBRUARY 1841

£26 2s 11d stolen from office.

23 JULY 1841

Gate to be provided for catacomb O.


Cemetery has to contend against a prevailing prejudice in not having been consecrated in the form of the Established Church.


Estimate of the cost of land for enlarging the General Cemetery and for making new carriage road from South Street to Sharrow Moor Road, also the cost of fencing the said land and road and of forming and making and stoning the said carriage road.

Land for additional burial ground to be bought:

Henry Newbould Esq about 4 acres at £350 1,400.0.0

Land for the new road about 2 acres at £400 800.0.0

Fencing additional land 330 x 4 340.0.0

Coping 57.0.0

Fencing the new Cemetery ground 250.0.0

Taking down the clergyman’s house and using the material in a new chapel including cost of the chapel (Ed: Which house is this?) 1,500.0.0

Excavation for new road 12,000 cubic yards 300.0.0

Stoning carriage road 300.0.0

Building, removing, altering and rebuilding fence walls to new road 150.0.0

Stoning footpaths and covering with ashes 90.0.0

Edge stones 2,288 yards 171.12.0

Contingencies 200.0.0

Total £5,678.18.0

(Editor’s note: The sum of these items is £5,558.12.0. The figures are as recorded in the 1999 edition by the Friends.)


The greater probability that the Legislature will shortly interfere to prevent the objectionable practice of burying the dead in large towns, must open favourable prospects to those interested in the success of the Cemetery, as the number of internments now amounting to nearly one thousand, must endear and consecrate this spot to a large section of the Sheffield public. It is also noticed that the Cemetery has not hitherto had anything like a reasonable share of pauper funerals, a partiality which it is hoped a proper representation to the Board of Guardians will do something to prevent.

17 FEBRUARY 1843

That the Mason be directed to cut upon such tombs and monuments that have been supplied by the Directors the words “Cemetery Compy sculpt” and that the same words be placed on all monuments hereafter furnished by the company with the approbation of the proprietor.


All mottoes or epitaphs submitted for the purpose of being placed on gravestones or monuments to be subject to approval of Mr Carr and Mr Thomas A. Ward.


We are also enabled to report very favourably of the mode of Admission to the Cemetery by Ticket, on the Sunday to Proprietors, and the friends of those interred within, the operation of which has produced that decency and decorum, which ought to prevail near the mansions of the dead.

28 MARCH 1845

House let to Mr Henry Smith of Rockingham Street, Merchant, at £18 per annum. (Ed: Which house is this?)


While declaring a dividend of five shillings to each share holder the report ponders why the resting place is not more popular: its picturesque and architectural attractions render it peculiarly adapted as a resting place for the dead, in this respect it may challenge comparison with any similar establishment in the kingdom and although the directors have endeavoured to render it available to all classes, by affording, at the lowest possible charge, to the poorest of the community, the means of decent, undisturbed culture, yet, among such it is found objections exist, which operate disadvantageously, and which are not confined to the operative classes, but that the wealthy and the opulent, for whom the original promoters of the Cemetery expected most support to their undertaking, are generally such as cannot avail themselves of the benefits it is adapted to confer.

It would be desirable if that large and affluent class of the community connected with the Established Church could be accommodated with a separate place of internment, in connection with the present company.

There are fewer internments because pauper internments can take place only in consecrated ground according to recent legislation. The committee have appointed a skilful and ingenious mason, whose talents have been deservedly appreciated and it is thought they have hitherto secured the richest display of elegance, propriety and taste in the varied memorials which now adorn this ‘city of the dead.’

19 AUGUST 1845

That the present board consider the consecration of the field adjacent to the Cemetery, essential to the interests of the Company.


Long piece on the approach roads, somewhat out of focus (suggestion that house be taken down). (Ed. Which house?)


That Mr John William Smith be authorised to instruct Mr Flockton to prepare the estimate required by the standing orders of parliament and obtain lithographic copies on a reduced scale of the plan of the intended alterations.

24TH APRIL 1846

Mr Flockton to be instructed to state an estimate of the expense of the proposed road.

6 MAY 1846

It was resolved that powers be taken in the Bill now before Parliament to extend the purchase of land necessary for the purposes of the Cemetery to the whole piece of land between the bridle road to Sharrow Moor and the footpath leading to the Stalker Wheel.


This meeting recommends to the directors to take powers in the Bill to secure the whole of the land belonging to Mr Henry Newbould lying between the Bridle Road to Sharrow Head and the footway leading to the Stalker Wheel.


The Grounds, it is almost needless to remark, increase annually in their attractive features, as if art and nature were vying with each other for ascendancy.


Providing a cemetery for the Established Church, the extent, style, and general effect ought to be such as will afford satisfaction to that body.

14 APRIL 1847

Flockton’s plan to make a road along the lower and northern boundary on ex Newbould land approved.

26 MAY 1847

That the garden property lying below the Porter and Mill Lane belonging to Mrs Andrews and Mrs Preston be immediately purchased.

27 JULY 1847

Plan for a straight and direct road from bridge at Little Sheffield to Sharrow Head be approved. Mr Flockton to decide on the course of the boundary line separating the consecrated and unconsecrated areas. That the whole of the land be enclosed by fence walls, except the end field on the NE side. That the plan for the church produced by Mr Flockton be adopted, the structure not to cost more than £1,500. That erection of new entrance lodge to consecrated Cemetery be postponed.

18 AUGUST 1847

Long report on increasing beauty of the grounds.


Meeting to accept tenders for church, fence walling, road, two bridges £3,005 20s, plus six minor tenders.

22 NOVEMBER 1847

Engraving of new church to appear in “Independent” and an advertisement inserted to inform the public of the arrangements for the temporary internments in a safety vault until the completion of the consecrated Cemetery.

4 APRIL 1848

8 May 1848 at 12 o’clock to be appointed the day for laying the first stone of the new church.

19 JUNE 1848

That deferred plan by Mr Flockton for the new road as far as Broomhall Mill be approved.

15 AUGUST 1848

Plans for a road from the eastern end of the company’s grounds to Sharrow Moor to be abandoned.

24 AUGUST 1848 (AGM)

Long report on the problems with Sharrow Head estate.

16 MARCH 1849

Long report on the state of inextricable confusion over burial registers.

31 OCTOBER 1849

Flockton to submit a plan for the entrance gates of the new Cemetery. His plan, No. 1, to cost around £50, was adopted on 13 November.


As much of the New Cemetery Ground as lies above the middle walk be planted and laid out according to the plan submitted by Mr Marnock. The planting, trenching and supply of shrubs to be company contracted for.

28 FEBRUARY 1850

Tenders from Fisher Godwin and from Fisher Holmes and Company for the supply of shrubs and planting. Former for £25 and containing number of each kind; latter £40 and unspecified.

14 MARCH 1850

Mr Edwin Unwin reported that Fisher Holmes and Company had been engaged to plant 1,851 shrubs as per list for the amount of their tender £40. And that Fisher Goodwin proposed to plant the same number for £38 10s. Whereupon it was resolved that Mr Law, the Curator of the Botanical Gardens, be requested to give his opinion on the planting of the grounds and be paid one guinea for his advice. (Mr John Law succeeded Robert Marnock as the curator of the Botanical Gardens.)

Mr Flockton to be authorised to procure two gates for the gardens. Charles James, sculptor, paid his balance for carving etc.

29 APRIL 1850

Re conditions imposed by surveyor of highways for new road. Ground plan of New Cemetery to be proceeded with, allowing space per grave of 7ft 6 ins x 3ft 6 ins.

27 JUNE 1850

Report on consecration of the new Cemetery.

2 AUGUST 1850

Tenders for gannistering the new road.

22 AUGUST 1850

Report on the terrible visitation of cholera during last summer and autumn. The church has been completed with all its requisite decorations and fittings. The planting may now be seen to advantage. James Ray Esq was the first internment in the new consecrated ground. The beauty of its scenery, when taken in connection with the adjacent Botanical Gardens, may be considered unrivalled in this or any other country. In conclusion it may be asked, considering the great outlay upon the Old Cemetery, could any person have reasonably expected that a concern so extensive and complicated as the new scheme is, could have been completed within the amount of £25,000.

28 AUGUST 1850

Full list of charges stuck into minute book H 8 page octavo leaflet.

1 JANUARY 1851

Mr Marnock’s account to be submitted to Mr Wostenholme (this was for £7 10s for instructions etc in planting and was paid 5 February 1851.)

5 JUNE 1851

Fisher and Holmes paid in full for planting.

2 JULY 1851

Mr Edwin Smith to be allowed to erect a vault in this Cemetery, on a site to be selected for the late Mr Jessop.

20 NOVEMBER 1851

In view of the difficult situation of the Cemetery company, Flockton agrees to accept £300 for his £339 16s bill to stand well with the company in the future.

8 APRIL 1853

George Sandford, chaplain of Clarendon Villas, in letter of 6 April 1853 asks for the privilege of planting beeches and limes on the walk intersecting the consecrated Cemetery ground, and the walk leading from the church towards it….trees are intended to be in pairs, and set at equal distances, about five yards apart and to be tall and well formed, from eight to ten feet in height. He will gladly defray the expense. Resolved to permit this.

(Note: at practically every meeting a cheque is authorised for Thomas Birtles for stone.)

2 JUNE 1853

Mr Arculus’ tender for drain at £20 10s accepted in section G and HH 12 inches deep and 82 yards long.

6 JULY 1853

Flockton and Son to cause a common sewer to be made down City Road and to arrange with Mr Holmes (Highways surveyor?) for sewer in New Street proposed to be made by Mr Hare through the company’s land. (Arrangements for this road reported on 20 July 1853.)

3 AUGUST 1853

Advertisement to be inserted in the Leeds Mercury as follows:

Wanted. A workman qualified to undertake the general business of designing and lettering gravestones. Good wages will be given.

8 AUGUST 1853

That advertisement for workman to succeed Mr Birtles in stone yard be inserted in the Leeds Mercury and Sheffield Independent.

24 AUGUST 1853

James Uttley shall have one month’s trial at 30 shillings as successor to Mr Birtles in the stone department.

5 OCTOBER 1853

Uttley to get 33 shillings per week, increased to 36 shillings on 5 April 1854.

4 JANUARY 1854

Report on the lower range of vaults.

2 MARCH 1854

Conveyance to Edwin Smith of a second piece of land on North side of Cemetery new road – 862 1/2 square yards for £283 11s 3d.

8 MARCH 1854

The Cemetery church to be let to Rev. W. Wilkinson for divine services on Sunday mornings.

5 APRIL 1854

Ass and cart to be provided to remove spare stuff from graves, a suitable place to be made for it and hay and grass provided.

3 MAY 1854

Resolutions on the internment of James Montgomery. He died 30/4/1854 and is interred under a circular grass plot, near the church, a monument to be erected by subscription. Plan for draining to be prepared.

1855 AGM

Mr Higginbottom directed the attention of the Board to the measurements of the graves of Brompton and Kensal Green Cemeteries showing that by the adoption of the London measurement, upwards of 1000 additional graves would be obtained. It was therefore resolved that the said committee forthwith make arrangements to carry out this valuable suggestion.

5 MARCH 1856

Mr Edwin Smith’s account to be settled. That the chairman settle this question with Mr Smith and at the same time inform him that the Directors considered the name he has designated his works as improper – and that we as a company suffer thereby.

6 AUGUST 1856

Mr Yordan has purchased six graves and intends to make a vault to inter soldiers who served in the Crimea, and to make a circle at the East end of the Church for this, to match the Montgomery circle at the West end.

4 MARCH 1857

Very important improvement consisting in reserving to each grave adjacent land for the sole use of family and friends for a limited time.

26 JUNE 1857

£3 13s 6d paid to Fisher and Holmes.

14 AUGUST 1857

Darwin and Co paid for rails for graves £15 and £9 5s 9d on 30 December.

6 JANUARY 1858

Road from Ecclesall Road to lower entrance to be put in good repair.

2 APRIL 1858

£26 14s 6d paid to Glentworth and Battersby for stable. (Glentworth in White’s directory is a mason and builder.)


Workmen in stone yard should have a shed for protection-estimate at £6 15s

In winter a policeman only to be engaged on Sundays.

1860 AGM

Adds that Montgomery still to be erected. The old chapel and the new chapel form conspicuous objects for some distance round. Sandford and Kidd chaplains. John Kirk registrar and secretary.

2 MAY 1860

Has Rules for the Guidance of the foreman of the stone yard of the SGCC.

Additional policemen to be engaged on Sunday afternoons and one of the labourers in stone yard to watch lower wall. Outer gates of stone yard adjacent and opening into Cemetery Road, to be locked. (By 3rd June three policemen wanted on Sundays.)

3 APRIL 1861

That Mr Oates be requested to see Mr Henry Wilson re the tree in the stone yard. Water from Cemetery Road should be turned into the new lane adjacent to the Cemetery.

29 JULY 1861

Printed accounts pasted in.

7 AUGUST 1861

J. & W.R. Hoyland paid £4 7s 6d for iron rails for graves.

4 APRIL 1862

Weather vane of church to be examined. Walk round Montgomery Monument to be drained with pipes into main drain and that the walks be asphalted. (£25).

2 MAY 1862

Palisades paid for (£8) and also iron palisades (£3 10s),(£3), (£8 5s).

10 APRIL 1863

Estimate for £143 15s gained from Watson Brothers for making Montague Street, at the joint expenses of Dr Chadwick and Cemetery company.

5 JUNE 1863

Estimate for painting interior of offices, outside the house and bottom lodge, also boundary rails of West and North sides of Cemetery.

1 APRIL 1864

Note re 60+ bodies buried after dreadful calamity of Sheffield Flood.

3 APRIL 1864

New side door entrance to be made for Cemetery Road.

6 MAY 1864

River bank at foot of Cemetery to be repaired as soon as possible.

5 AUGUST 1864 (AGM)

List of Deeds and other writings, dated 18/8/56; various re bits of land adjacent to Cemetery New Road. There is a slip in the first bound minute book indicating the position.

7 OCTOBER 1864

List of deeds and other writings belonging to SGCC

Survey by John Brighy:

Top walk 367 yards

Low walk 249 yards

Cross walk 90 yards

Total 706 yards

Cuttings from Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 17 July 1865 ‘Disagreeable Mismanagement at General Cemetery.’


Paid £6 18s 9d to United Gas Company for ground mortar for new wall.

6 OCTOBER 1865

Sough from end of main walk in Church ground forward for 27 yards into main sewer in Montague Street.


Advance of 1/2 d a foot to sawyers in stone yard. Entrance doors in Montague Street be removed and fixed opposite the centre walk and that the walk be continued from its present termination to new entrance.

6 JULY 1866

£7 18s 5d paid for removing large gates (see above).


Resolved that Mr Booth get a few plants and evergreens for the grounds.

5 AUGUST 1867

Wm Jackson’s internment. L No. 34-presented to his widow.

21 JULY 1868

Due to lack of work masons will have to repair river wall and raise Montague Street wall.


Montgomery monument now erected, crowned by a fine bonze statue, bearing a good likeness. One of the handsomest monuments is of the late William Parker, which consists of a square basement surmounted by a cupola, resting on eight columns of composite orders. A massive tomb of polished granite has recently been placed here, at a cost of £150, raised by subscription, in remembrance of the late Dr Wood. George Sandford is chaplain for the consecrated, John Flather for the unconsecrated. William Wainwright is registrar and secretary, John Turner sexton.


The company have to keep foot road (and therefore river bank) in repair between Lodge and wooden bridge near Stalker Wheel on the South bank. £38 7s paid to Thomas Lightfoot for rebuilding the river wall.

2 APRIL 1869

John Turner, sexton for 27 years, had died and his widow will be presented with a grave. Lodges to be inspected to see if additions can be made to the sleeping compartments. New cart to be ordered for pony.

4 JUNE 1869

Joseph Hunt’s tender for £213 12s to be accepted for alterations to the lodges and the architect to have the work proceeded with (sexton and gravedigger were occupants).

1 OCTOBER 1869

Henry Wilson believes there has been an encroachment on the bed off the River Porter by the reconstruction of a wall.

3 JUNE 1870

J.D. Webster, architect, to prepare plans and debate tenders for the removal and rebuilding of company’s stable.

2 AUGUST 1870

Plan of proposed monument to J. E. Burch has been approved.

1870 AGM

Reports that the removal of the weir has caused considerable lowering of the bed of the Porter and the embankment and walling has given way.

22 DECEMBER 1870

Re Mrs Burch’s monument. Approved provided stone which now overlaps the company’s wall be cut away-the space below coping and wall to be filled up with solid masonry, also that a step, of the same pitch, be fixed on the top of the present flight of steps.

6 JANUARY 1871

Holmes and Johnson paid 6 guineas for preparing plans and superintending erection of the River wall.

3 MARCH 1871

£50 to William Wainwright on act of a contract for alteration of a new entrance to the lower circle.

General Purpose Committee to report best way of providing an entrance for Cemetery Road from foot passengers so that the carriage entrances can be closed except during hours of internments.

6 APRIL 1871

£30, £15 and £14 10s paid to Joseph Butler on account of contract for circle (retaining) wall. Subcommittee to wait on Borough Surveyor re dedication of foot road on side of River Porter. On 6 May surveyor had given instructions for repair of river wall, and local Board had twice repaired walk along River Porter, an act of dedication, and said walk was now a public road.


Gas Pipes to be laid from main on Avenue Road to each lodge.

1 MARCH 1872

£42 to Joseph Butler for building vault for Mark Firth. Luke Bingham and Thomas Osborne Birtles to be bound apprentices at 8s and 18s per week from age 15 to 20 (stone masons and letter cutters).

26 JULY 1872

Hours of work for labourers to be reduced from 55 ½ to 54 per week.


Can lodges be supplied with water? Mr John Nicholson told that the Board won’t cut down the large Ash tree near his vault.

6 MARCH 1874

£55 paid to John Newton Mappin for land for graves repurchased in section G.


Messrs E. &  T. Smith having threatened the company with legal proceedings for infringing a registered design of a monument fixed in the grounds, resolved that matter be left in the hands of solicitor and MD to arrange in an amicable manner if possible.

7 MAY 1875

Tenders to be obtained for under footing and repairing boundary wall adjacent river on North side of grounds.

4 AUGUST 1875

A grave holder has cut several branches from a tree in the unconsecrated grounds, without permission. No pruning permitted without board’s sanction.

1 OCTOBER 1875

MD to be empowered to extend sheds in stone yard and provide depot for Trent sand (Thomas Bonnington tender accepted for £16).


Law case E. & T. Smith v Cemetery company. It was resolved that notwithstanding the plaintiffs failed in their case before the magistrates and that they had since cut the registered mark upon Mr Hall’s tomb without previous notice to the company, that the law clerk be authorised to pay the £5 royalty providing Messrs. Smith or their solicitors give a receipt in full settlement of the case in dispute. £46 7s to Jamieson for granite monument.

7 JANUARY 1876

Desirability of providing additional land.

3 MARCH 1876

Application by George Wilson of Endcliffe Vale to plant a few shrubs on shrubbery near his grave. Company agrees but reserves the right to remove or prune.

7 APRIL 1876

Extra police officer needed for Sundays.

1876 AGM

An elegant monument has been erected in memory of the late Dr Sale by his family at a cost of £500. It is surmounted by a high cross of Mansfield red stone and at the base are four symbolic figures. Mark Firth erected in 1872 a handsome monument of Aberdeen grey granite, of Grecian design, surmounted by a beautiful carved draped urn, in memory of his daughter, Margaret Maria, who died in 1869. There is also a white marble monument to Councillor Mills, and a beautiful one to Alderman Burch, Sandford, Flather, Wainwright and Edward Kitchen sexton.

6 OCTOBER 1876

Watson Brothers tender for asphalting accepted (£45).


Waterworks company paid for laying on water to lodges. Complaint to be made re offensive matter being allowed to flow into Porter near the two lodges occupied as dwellings.

1 MARCH 1878

Estimate obtained from Hyde and Wigfall Ltd for iron guards to protect the trees to be planted on Avenue. Report from architect, H. D. Lomas, re roof of Chief Office and Secretary’s House. (Cost £22 – one side old slates, one side new Welsh slates)

3 MAY 1878

Sandford resigns as chaplain due to increased sensibility to cold.

4 OCTOBER 1878

J. L. J. Rodgers have tendered £135 for painting and decorating church and chapel. Texts to be painted on the walls of the church.


Repairs to gates of Low Lodge.


Contract for stables £120.


Horse purchased for £16

6 APRIL 1882

19s 9d to James Carter & Company for grass seeds.

1 AUGUST 1882

Another horse for £9.

17 APRIL 1884

Special meeting. Vaults and catacombs to be used as public graves, beginning with those in the immediate vicinity of the stables.


C. Lokehill & Sons tender for new gates in Montague Street be accepted (£3 18s 6d).


Wilson making some alterations to river wall on his side of the river – suggested he should do both sides to make the Cemetery company’s side same as his own, and pitching all the way across.

5 JULY 1886

Fear that the Corporation drain will pierce an arch leading over the river to the Cemetery.


Re Montague Street – was it dedicated or not – meeting with highway committee and reference to the situation in 1868.

24 JUNE 1887

Chief constable to be informed of false representation of internment of Nellie Wood as stillborn (buried by Mary Ann Barnes and Maria Metlane).

4 MAY 1888

Repairs to Montague Street £53 5s 4d paid to corporation.

5 JULY 1889

Montague Street now accepted as highway.


Asphalting round Montgomery monument.

11 AUGUST 1893

Laying on water to house. (Ed: Which house?)


Application to insert a marble tablet in flat stone of grave O2 50, covered with a glass dome, declined as at variance with company rules. Later agreed to insert a medallion. (A. Brook.)

6 JULY 1894

In 1890 Samuel Cocker had at his own expense cleaned and repaired a monument and had the enclosure returfed.

27 FEBRUARY 1897

Resolved to accede to letter from Fowler and Son on certain conditions: that the late Alfred Wilson’s representatives keep in repair Cemetery Avenue at their own expense, and grant company as part of consideration some of the lower portion of the field lying between Cemetery and Frog Walk, to be used by the company for purpose of a stone yard.


£2 4s 9d spent on marble for Italian Sculptured Marble company.

7 OCTOBER 1898

Complaints re state of grounds. Also a five page report on state of company.

15 AUGUST 1902

Hall & Fenton, architects paid £10.

9 APRIL 1903

Letter from solicitors re further purchase of land. Conveyance of 17 December 1834 from late Henry Wilson provides for maintenance of a fence for 80 years along the present west boundary, but if contemplated land is the property of his representatives this difficulty could be overcome. Restriction imposed by 300 yard limit still operative.

22 FEBRUARY 1904

Letter from Fowler & Son, architects, re proposal that Cemetery Company purchase adjacent land – in which case they would like to retain a small strip of plantation behind the cottage at the corner comprising 100 yards.

4 MAY 1905

£145 to Arthur Taylor for granite crosses, Cole and Nicholson.

7 JUNE 1906

Estimate to be sought for small trees and shrubs to be planted in bottom corner next to Montague Street. That ½ dozen wire baskets be obtained at 8s 6d. Estimate for garden seats.

5 JULY 1906

Small tree planting and garden seats to stand over.


Six garden seats at 24s each to be provided, similar to those at Crookesmoor Recreation Grounds.


12 trees to be ordered at 24s from Mr Fenton and planted in the lower portion of the grounds.

5 JULY 1907

Letter from Hall & Fenton enclosing draft conveyance and plan of the Cemetery Avenue which they had procured from Lucas & Padley.

7 OCTOBER 1909

Tender for repairing four iron gates.

6 JUNE 1912

Henry Boot & Sons to reslate roofs of lodges, chapel, secretary’s house and offices, to be done to satisfaction of Mr Benton, surveyor.


Trees in grounds to be looked over and pruned and dead ones removed. That the walk now known as Sandford’s Walk be altered and turfed over, and a new path made in a straight line. (Flat stone line).

6 MARCH 1913

That path leading from the office walk on the chapel side be altered and turfed over, the dividing wall to be built up as per plans drawn by secretary.


Question re bringing into use more land and for burial purposes, viz the garden and where big copper beech stands.


Plot on section I now used as garden could accommodate 100 grave spaces and on sections C & H now occupied by Copper Beech, 60.

6 APRIL 1916

Garden fences in section I to be abolished and the land brought into use. Hall & Fenton to advise as to desirability of bringing into use the 336 feet of land in Front Avenue of the chapel side of Cemetery near John Cole’s monument.

4 JANUARY 1917

Alteration of gullies in new section ZZ from Ecclesall Road entrance (right hand side) to John Coles’ monument.

(Most reports of meetings from the period that follows are ½ page only, reporting cheques authorized for bricks, granite, marble, etc).


Land adjacent to West boundary has been offered – shareholders to express views by letter.

5 AUGUST 1920

Estimate for asphalt surface of trench opened for extending drain near church, also for topping whole of asphalt surrounding Montgomery monument (£85 18s 6d).

6 OCTOBER 1921

Amended terms with Messrs Bradbury as to proposed buttresses on the boundary wall.

4 JANUARY 1923

Two plans to be prepared showing graves, by Mr Jenkinson (Chapman & Jenkinson). (Later they ask for an additional £10 as the previous plans cannot be traced!)

8 JANUARY 1925

Drives tarred.

6 AUGUST 1925

Drives tar and sprayed for £73 11s 8d.

6 MAY 1926

Chairman Mr Gill and Secretary to interview Mr Esam as to power on the removal of the obelisks in Cemetery Avenue.

3 JUNE 1926

Permission given to Sheffield Corporation to remove obelisks on Cemetery Avenue.

4 JUNE 1926

Centre drive to be tar painted.

6 JULY 1927

Tarring drives £50.

2 JUNE 1928

£50 to Chapmans and Jenkinson (architects) for plans.

(Judging by names of payees marble bought from Italy.)


Gift of a garden seat from Mrs Dakin.

7 JANUARY 1931

Owing to wooden doors in Montague Street being out of repair to be removed and wall built up.

6 MAY 1931

Memorial to Samuel Corker Junior. £125 received from C. A. Kirby and J. P. Collier to keep this in good repair, wash down once a year, repaint railings every three years, gild letters every seven (several more of these later).


Show window in stone yard as per plan of Hadfield and Cawkwell be proceeded with at £143. (Paid to Bradbury & Son), plus 13 guineas to architects.


G. Shepherd’s estimate for bath and inside conveniences to secretary’s house be accepted.

7 OCTOBER 1932

Lorry rolled down Bradbury’s tip and damaged wall and rails. George and Richard Bradbury will make good.


Drive from lodges to church be tar sprayed (by George Hastings £34 8s 4d).


Maintenance of buildings, grounds and roads and alterations £182 2s 11d.

3 JULY 1935

Resolved that path from Sexton’s house to chapel be closed and land made saleable. Three tons of red gravel to be ordered to put round new memorials.


Resolved that estimate (£79) of Fisher Son & Sibray for improving the layout of the grounds be adopted (for the centenary).


Bulbs worth £3 10s from Fisher Son & Sibray. Electric light to be installed in lodges.


Plants £81 11s 5d to Fisher Son & Sibray.

5 MARCH 1936

Resolved that estimate of Messrs Hodkin & Jones Ltd (£400) for making of reinforced concrete vaults be accepted (contract No. 1 32 vaults).

22 APRIL 1936

Vault heights to be increased to footpath level (additional to contract). Contract 2 excavating above arches, breaking in arch tops and pulling down stone walls to level required. For making 36 reinforced concrete vaults as drawing 6233/4 at £430.

8 JULY 1936

For installing lighting and power in new workshop. For decorating five rooms.

7 AUGUST 1936 (AGM)

Extensive subsidence due to heavy rains caused serious collapse of some catacombs and the carriage road causing additional expense for maintenance.


Managers’ report to effect that machinery needs to be installed.

7 OCTOBER 1936

£550 to A. Bradbury & Son for new shop.

13 OCTOBER 1936

Stone yard to be concreted by our workmen.21 October 1936 Special Meeting

Contract No. 3 to Hodkin & Jones:

vault making £888

balustrading 32s 6d per foot

cover slabs

old wall rebuilding

7 APRIL 1937

Hodkin & Jones to make reinforced concrete kerb channel as per drawing 6233/9.

7 JULY 1937

Fisher Son & Sibray for seeds £5 9s 6d

4 AUGUST 1937 (AGM)

Workshop had to be demolished and rebuilt. Extensive landslide as foreshadowed last year has required much expenditure (£3,442). There is a letter stuck in on headed paper, re partial destruction of the lower walk. Economically impossible to reconstruct destroyed catacombs, so converted into small vaults. Fresh supply of shrubs has been planted.

4 MAY 1938

Typewriter purchased.

6 MARCH 1940

Steps down to basement under chapel to be made.

8 JANUARY 1941

Extensive war damage to memorials etc to be claimed. R. Cawkwell to estimate for this.

20 JUNE 1945

War damage repairs £155 16s to Robertson & Russell.

13 MARCH 1946

Mr Storrie (secretary) to be given permission to solicit orders for memorials in the wholesale market.

23 APRIL 1947

£253 6s 11d Bradbury for war damage repairs.

29 OCTOBER 1947

£221 5s Bradbury for war damage repairs.

9 MARCH 1948

Huge account for stone (£700).

22 MARCH 1949

War damages claim (in hands of Cawkwell) still outstanding

Editor’s Note: There are no further minutes of the General Cemetery Company after 1949.