Kingston Old Cemetery
the cemetery boasts a beautiful display of cowslips in late Spring
A Brief History of the Cemetery: Before St. James' Church was consecrated in 1833 East Cowes people were buried in Whippingham churchyard. As St. James churchyard too began to reach capacity a Burial Board was set up [in 1873] to search out another suitable site. In August 1876 Queen Victoria gave 3.5 acres of Kingston Farm land to be used as a public cemetery. This was ready for consecration by late 1876 and the first burial was that of Maria Amberstone Chiverton, aged 52, who was interred on 10th January 1877. Interments in the extension across Kingston Road began in 1954, and most burials now take place there.
The Friends of East Cowes Cemetery group was set up in 2006 after a bid to the Local Heritage Initiative (Big Lottery) Fund, made through East Cowes Community Partnership's Environmental group, was successful.
The aims were to: make environmental improvements to this largely disused and neglected cemetery, research the history of some of those interred there, catalogue all the burial plots and produce information material from our research. The original website was set up to publicise the project and as an integral tool to promote and research the history of the cemetery, of East Cowes and of its people. See the separate Project entry for further details of the burial database.
As environmental improvements we: created a welcoming flower/shrub bed near the cemetery gates [which in themselves were cleared of rust and repainted], purchased three benches for the centre circle and erected three information panels. Angie Mathews helped to scrub down the dingy-looking Air Raid memorial and Peter Lloyd repaved the old 'mortuary' site. We made another shrub bed alongside this. Countryside Rangers helped in putting up bird and bat boxes, and local schoolchildren planted bulbs along the central avenue.
The bronze panel on the wooden post near the gates bears an inscription provided by Glyn Roberts.
Ken Wheeler created an interesting booklet about some of the people buried within the cemetery and some of its flora and fauna.
The booklet [below] is available from East Cowes Heritage Centre*.
*East Cowes Heritage Centre, 8 Clarence Road, East Cowes, PO32 6EP. Tel: 01983 280310. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-1pm, plus Wed 1-4.