Needing a New Cemetery
Rapid population growth combined with endless outbreaks of infectious disease led to lack of burial space in most towns in the 19th century. Wrexham was no exception. The graveyard at the Parish Church, St Giles was full by the late 18th century and this led to a new cemetery being opened on Ruthin Road in 1793. This was also becoming full by the late 19th century.
By 1868, Wrexham Borough Council recognised the need for a new cemetery. Finding a suitable site was a little tricky, but they eventually purchased just over 5 acres of land on the north side of Ruabon Road in 1874.
The land not only provided much needed space for burials, but it also accommodated non-conformists and Roman Catholics. Prior to the 19th century burials in Wrexham generally took place in the graveyards attached to a Church. There were therefore few options for non-conformists (those that did not conform to the governance of the established Anglican Church) and people of other, or no, faith.
The earliest known record of the site is from 1535 in Henry VIII’s Valor Ecclesiasticus – a survey of the finances of the Church of England, which was carried out following the King’s Act of Supremacy to become the head of the Church. Part of the site was once known as Cae’r Cleifion ‘the field of the sick’ and an 1840 lease from the Bishop of St Asaph refers to it as Tera Lepresorum, ‘The Lepers’ Land’.Wrexham Cemetery Stories.
Wrexham Cemetery covers an area of 7.2 hectares on the western edge of Wrexham Town, between the B5099 and the A5152. It can be divided into a Victorian section and a more modern section, divided by access paths. The Cemetery is laid to grass, with the graves in the old part mainly kerbed and the newer sections laid out in rows.
It is on the register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Wales. Two Grade II Listed Buildings, the lodge and chapel, dominate the entrance to the Cemetery. Railings and piers to the Cemetery entrance and boundary walls are separately Listed. Wats Dyke, a Scheduled Monument crosses the site, following the line of one of the internal paths.
The site is surrounded by houses to the south and east, edged by a college to the north and a railway line and industrial estate to the west.
The Chapel building was restored in 2017. The east section houses a reception and research area, welcoming to public to find out more about the Cemetery, graves and family history. The west Chapel is used for services, events, group visits and educational purposes. The Cemetery lodge building is privately rented.
The Cemetery is open to the public between 10am and 4pm, during the winter, 10am to 6pm, during the summer.
Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC) was successful in securing HLF Parks for People Heritage Lottery Funding to conserve and restore the Victorian Wrexham Cemetery. The project safeguarded the Listed Structures and ensured sustainable use, conserving the historic landscape.
The project included a programme of activities and new interpretation, which enables people to learn about the history of the Cemetery and the people buried there.
If you are looking for burial information then please visit Wrexham Council website or ring 01978 292048.
Or use the online burial records here.