Great Yarmouth Cemeteries

P Area Old Cemetery 19.2.13 J.Tooke

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust delivered a project over 2012-2014 to clear and conserve graves in the Old and New Cemeteries either side of Kitchener Road and in St. Nicholas Churchyard, a total area of 40 acres, with 20 acres cleared to be maintained, across Great Yarmouth. Over 4000 monuments were surveyed and recorded. Originally, it was planned to select fifteen monuments for conservation work, but thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of the 280 volunteers and trainees participating in this project, with 10,000 training hours put in, 105 of the graves have been conserved, with several graves being removed from the buildings at risk register. The Project Co-Ordinator was Bridget Heriz-Smith.

The Trust worked in partnership with organisations such as the Prince’s Trust, The Conservation Volunteers (Great Yarmouth Green Gym) and Great Yarmouth and Waveney MIND, and with the support of the Jobcentre, Great Yarmouth Green Network, GYB Services, Ageless Opportunities, Great Yarmouth Central Library and the Great Yarmouth Mercury TeamGY promotion. 

The Trust also worked with Norfolk Wildlife Trust and The Conservation Volunteers to ensure protection of habitat during clearance, and to enhance future biodiversity. Great Yarmouth Naturalist Society and Great Yarmouth Bird Society were both concerned at the loss of habitat during grave clearance, and the Trust is always keen to work closely with local groups who have knowledge and experience that will contribute to the conservation of habitat. Peter Allard wrote a report on migrating birds observed in the Cemeteries in the Autumn, and this has been posted to the Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries page on this website.

A new mowing regime was agreed with GYB Services for 2014. This allowed selected areas of the New and Old Cemeteries to grow as wild flower meadows, some for the benefit of spring flowering and some for summer flowering plants. Interpretation panels have been installed in these areas to explain the mowing regime and provide information about the wild flowers and the benefit of encouraging them to flourish.

The Great Yarmouth Cemeteries Project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, The Pilgrim Trust, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, The Broads Authority Sustainable Development Fund, TCHC (ESF Community Grant) and Great Yarmouth Minster Preservation Trust. 

In-kind support was donated by Great Yarmouth Minster PCC, the Novus Centre, Great Yarmouth Community Library and above all, the many enthusiastic and committed volunteers who showed such an impressive commitment to the project, working outdoors throughout the harshest of weather conditions! 

The final report submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund can be downloaded here :

Icon Project Evaluation Report (469.5 KB)


               "Broads Authority Sustainable Development Fund"                                                  



Heritage Angels Award Certificate

The project was shortlisted for the Heritage Angels Award. The result was announced at the Award Ceremony on the 21st October, held in the magnificent Palace Theatre, London. Darren Barker, Project Organiser GYPT, and Bridget Heriz, Cemeteries Project Co-Ordinator, attended with three trainees, Rachel Harrison, Cathy Mijatovic and William Wallace. We did not win in our category, which went to the well-deserving Ivy House Public House Project. However, we were glad to receive very positive comments at the event and, given a budget of only £120,000, it is a great acknowledgement of what has been achieved to have been shortlisted out of 900 projects nationwide. Click here to find out more about the Heritage Angels Award, and click here to view the Gt. Yarmouth Cemeteries video on YouTube produced for the Award.

We have also received many appreciative comments locally, such as the following, kindly sent via our website by Richard Lamb: "The work you do, and the way you do it using training, is amazing - and a real credit to our wonderful town. The projects you have carried out have made a real difference to the town, not just for the built environment, but the people - lifting spirts and raising aspirations. Thank youPlease keep up the excellent work!"  Thank you to Richard and everybody who has sent us such affirmative messages.


The number of people offering voluntary or in-kind support up to the beginning of October amounts to 214. 120 were involved in training, which includes the Conservation Training Programme trainees, conservation students visiting from Estonia, a group from Great Yarmouth and Waveney MIND and students from both East Norfolk Sixth Form College and Great Yarmouth College. 67 volunteers contributing to the project in other ways include The Conservation Volunteers, Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries and The Prince's Trust. Additionally, services have been offered by 27 skilled or professional members of the community working on a volunteer or in-kind basis, such as historians, archivists at the library, GYB Services personnel, artists, teachers etc. Altogether, to date, 4,353 in-kind hours have been given to the project. 269 visitors have also attended events to which the general public were invited.


Year 5 Pupils have been making bird nest boxes in wildlife workshops delivered by Mark Webster, TCV, and Bridget Heriz. The boxes have come in kit form, put together by volunteers at the Norfolk Haw and Old Trust. The pupils walked around the Old Cemetery with Mark and Bridget and their teachers, selecting trees where they would like the boxes to be hung. Following on from the wildlife workshops. ten pupils volunteered to create an animation about the cemeteries with the artist and filmmaker Matthew Harrison. To view the animation click on this link:

Year 5 Pupils from St. Nicholas Priory Junior School St. Nicholas Priory Junior School animation team Animation workshop









One of the primary aims of the project was to support the initiation of an independent Friends of the Great Yarmouth Cemeteries to take maintenance and care of the site forward after project completion. By July 2013 there were already 26 members, with a team meeting regularly for hands-on work on site. To find our more and how to become involved, navigate to the Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries Page by clicking here 

The Friends also have a Facebook page, Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries.

The Friends meet the 1st Saturday of every month to clear graves and work in the cemeteries under a Partnership Agreement with GYB Services. They meet at 10am at the Non-Conformist Chapel in the New Cemetery. This is the second chapel in the cemetery to the north of Kitchener Road. New members are always most welcome, just turn up or call the Working Party Foreman, Ken McCullough on 01493 731908.

Friends of GY Cemeteries planting a screen around the green waste area   Friends, raking cuttings, August 2014







A new mowing regime was agreed with GYB Services this year, based on a full wild flower survey undertaken last year by Mark Webster of The Conservation Volunteers. Interpretation panels have been installed to explain the regime and provide information about plots set aside for spring and summer flowering plants. The Friends have been raking up the cuttings once the plots have been tidied.

Great Yarmouth Green Gym


A Great Yarmouth Green Gym team are working in the cemeteries every first Tuesday of the month over the next few months. They have been keeping P Plot under control. This was so completely overgrown initially, it took some continued attention for quite a while to keep the vegetation from taking over again. The team discovered another pebble grave during their clearing alongside the path on Tuesday 1st April. 

The team has seen increased numbers - the group seems very happy and everybody really enjoys working in the Cemeteries.




The Carved Stone South Door, Great Yarmouth Minster


Five building conservation students from Estonia visited Great Yarmouth over the first week in April 2014 to conserve a crumbling medieval carved stone doorway on the external south wall of Great Yarmouth Minster, and also to help restore the listed Palmer Chest Tomb to the west of the Minister. The students are from the Hiiumaa Vocational College. Hiiumaa is an island on the western coast of Estonia, in Eastern Europe. This is part of the Trust's European partnership with the college, which aims to share knowledge about traditional buildings skills and conservation on a pan-European level. Two of the five students were part of an earlier team who visited during the summer of 2013 to conserve a listed monument in the churchyard whilst learning various conservation skills.

The students worked under the supervision of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust conservators William Wallace and Cathy Mijatovic, who were previously trainees on the trust's nationally-acclaimed conservation training programme delivered as part of the Cemeteries Project (see below).

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust was commissioned by the church to clean and restore the 15th century lancet arch doorway. It is one of the surviving medieval features of what was earlier known as the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, rebuilt following the Second World War after a German air raid left only the Norman tower and the walls standing. The ornate stonework depicts a king on one side, possibly Edward I, and a queen on the other. But over the centuries, the limestone has been eroded by freezing weather and acid rain.


Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust delivered a conservation skills training programme over the period 12th January to 25th June, 2013. This was divided into two modules. The first was delivered over a period of ten weeks with 20 volunteer trainees learning how to categorise, record and survey stones and tombs. The trainees worked in two groups, one on Mondays and the other on Tuesdays. 

They were introduced to materials and decay mechanisms, methods of research using historical records in the library, creating a database for their recording activity in the churchyard, making measured drawings and understanding the history of the site. By the end of the module they were able to make specifications and show enough understanding of conservation issues to select tombs to be repaired in the second module. 

Training was delivered by conservation specialists Katie Langridge, Darren Barker and Ian Hardy. Trainees were helped with their research tasks by Paul Davies and volunteers at the Central Library, and the artist Jonathan Tooke worked with them to assemble ideas, images and text for a Cemeteries Booklet. Penny Larson delivered individual learning support and development, working closely with the trainees on career development, including CV writing, arranging certificated training in First Aid and Health & Safety at the Priory Centre, Great Yarmouth Community Trust, and identifying further learning opportunities appropriate to their needs and objectives.

The second module started on the 25th March with fourteen trainees and ran to the end of June. The programme provided hands-on practical training in basic conservation skills. Trainees worked in pairs and selected the tombs they wished to repair, working under the supervision of  conservation specialists Katie Langridge, Darren Barker and Ian Hardy and with training provided by John Briggs, stonemason, and Nigel Barnett, artist blacksmith.

Cemeteries Training Project

During the second module, many in the team started attending both Monday and Tuesday sessions. They took great pride in their work and achieved far more than expected. Additionally, they participated in other events, such as contributing artwork to the Art Amongst the Stones exhibition presented in the Minster, attending Norfolk Wildlife Trust workshops, supporting the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind group and continuing work on drawing up a plan of the remaining marked graves in the churchyard. 

The trainees have often commented on how rewarded they felt from appreciative comments made by the many people who walk through the cemeteries and churchyard, revealing the real impact this project has had within the community at large.

The volunteer trainees have been magnificent, attending in all weather conditions, freezing cold, wind, rain and searing heat, and showing enthusiasm and commitment throughout. They are

Arthur Balls, Roy Bird (1st Module only), Emma Brewer (1st Module), Paul Carter, Michael Chambers, Daniel Clark (1st Module), Fran Delay, Giles Evans, Robert Garvey (1st Module), Philip Grimshaw, Philip Harrington (1st Module), Rachel Harrison, David Harwood, Irene Jordan (1st Module), Peter Laxton, Cathy Mijatovic, Tom Rowley, Andrew Stebbings, Derick Stolworthy and William Wallace. John Paul Thompson participated as helper and Dee Bracewell and Danielle Lefeuvre volunteered as support assistants.

Two of the trainees have been taken on as apprentices with Wellington Construction Ltd., the contractor on a Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust historic building conservation project. Four are continuing work in the cemeteries on a part-time, self-employed basis with a view to taking up further training opportunities and developing a livelihood in conservation. Another is continuing further education in conservation studies.

Heritage Lottery Fund, Eastern Region, visited the project on 2nd July when Great Yarmouth was chosen for their annual Away Day, and English Heritage visited on the 4th June. Both were impressed with what has been achieved and described the project as "inspirational".

For 'My Experience of the Cemeteries Project' written by Cathy Mijatovic, open this PDF Icon My Experience of the Cemeteries Project by Cathy Mijatovic (108.6 KB) , and 'Hidden Heritage' by David Harwood, open this PDF Icon Hidden Heritage by David Harwood (116.6 KB) .

This training programme was funded by TCHC Community Fund  TCHC link     "European Social Fund"   

Carters supported the training programme with supplies of sand and brick.

Peregrine Platform

The Norfolk Hawk and Owl Trust have built a peregrine platform, which was installed on a plinth erected on Great Yarmouth Minster Tower. Peregrines have been seen over Breydon Water, so hopes are high that they will be attracted to the Tower, complementing its panoramic vistas.


Whilst working with the trainees, Nigel Barnett of Fransham Forge noticed the beautiful craftsmanship on the railing around the Mills Memorial in the Old Cemetery. It was identified as the work of the renowned Victorian metalworker, Francis Skidmore (1817-1896). As it may be considered for Grade II listing, the railing has been carefully removed for specialist repair at Fransham Forge. The 20ft high Mills Monument, a granite plinth topped by a marble statue of Truth, was damaged by shrapnel in WW2. Even the delicate ironwork displays shrapnel damage, and was preserved for its historical interest.

Inspection of Mills Memorial ironwork, HLF Away Day visit Ironwork in floral design 19.2.13 J.Tooke Working with Fransham Forge









The entrance to the Jewish Cemetery at Great Yarmouth Cemeteries is on Kitchener Road. The cemetery is usually closed to the public, but was opened on the 27th January 2014 for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Jewish Cemetery, Kitchener Road   Stones in Jewish Cemetery, Kitchener Rod





Young volunteers from Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind helped towards completing the record of gravestones and monuments in the churchyard, which was begun by the Friends in 2013 and continued by the first module group on the conservation training programme. It is a daunting task, but huge progress was made, and most of the stones have been cleared and plotted so that a churchyard plan can at last be drawn up. However, new graves are being discovered week by week, especially the pebble graves, many of which lay just under the turf. A database is being compiled of all the graves in the churchyard still marked by stones.

Wil and Ryan recording in the churchyard, April 2013 Newly Discovered Pebble Grave - Whiley 1928 Children's Pebble Grave - Boulton








Great Yarmouth College students on work experience Great Yarmouth College students learning how to survey tomb

Great Yarmouth College clearing around the King Henry Tower King Henry Tower and Veteran Elder

Students on a Basic Construction Course at Great Yarmouth College are contributing to the cemeteries project on a work experience scheme. As well as learning how to survey and repair tombs, the students cleared around the King Henry Tower in the churchyard, careful to preserve the veteran elder which grows nearby. The tower is part of the medieval town wall, located on its north-east corner.

Some of the students also helped on repairing the War Memorial during their time working in the cemetery, and some students who were interested in going into conservation work further went on to volunteer with the Hopton Ruined Church project when they finished college.





Biology students from East Norfolk Sixth Form College


A group of more than 50 students from East Norfolk Sixth Form College visited the Old Cemetery on 23rd September 2013, to study patterns of holly growth as a practical assignment for their A2 Biology course. The Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust is hoping to develop further study opportunities with the Sixth Form College.







Great Yarmouth Green Gym worked six sessions in Great Yarmouth cemeteries over the winter of 2013-14. They attended on the first Tuesday of every month over six months, starting in October.

The Conservation Volunteers worked in the Old Cemetery one day a week over four months in 2012. Clearance activity was undertaken during the late Autumn months when there is no threat to nesting birds. 9 tonnes of green waste was removed during Green Gym's work in the Old Cemetery - their progress was truly impressive. More information about the activities of Green Gym and how to join in can be found on their website at (see Great Yarmouth pages).

 The Conservation Volunteers participated in the events organised at the cemeteries on the 7th September for Heritage Open Days, which included a talk on conserving the monuments by Darren Barker and a very popular guided tour by Paul Davies of Great Yarmouth Minster Preservation Trust.

Green Gym ran a demonstration session on the day, and discovered one of the many pebble graves that were uncovered during clearance, and also the grave of a Mr. Bishop, "Owner and Commander of the Schooner 'Highlander' or Yarmouth, who died with all his crew when the vessel foundered off the coast of Holland" in the great gale of December 1867. Mark Webster, Norfolk Health Projects Officer at TCV, says the volunteers were so pleased to discover the details of a really interesting historic event which had been lost beneath the ivy for years. There was a lot of interest from visitors, one of whom was recruited there and then, getting stuck straight into clearance work!

Ben White, one of the TCV volunteers, also talked to delegates who attended the Association of Preservation Trusts Annual Conference which was held in Great Yarmouth in November 2012, answering questions about the remarkable amount of work TCV achieved in the Old Cemetery and how care was being taken regarding biodiversity on the site.

Ben White, Green Gym, with monument to Rev. M. Waters d.1854  








Ben White, Green Gym hero, at the monument of Rev. M. Waters, encumbent at St. George's Chapel for 31 yrs. died 1854

Burial Registers

Old and New Cemeteries

For those who are buried in the Borough Cemeteries (post 1854), details are available from:

Great Yarmouth Borough Council Bereavement Services 
Magdalen Lawn Cemetery,
Oriel Avenue,
Great Yarmouth,
Norfolk, NR31 7JJ

Telephone:  01493 441974

Many records were lost when the church was bombed in WWII but some records can be located in the Norfolk Record Office.

Norfolk Record Office,
The Archive Centre,
Martineau Lane,
Norwich, NR1 2DQ

Telephone: 01603 222599


The Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries have completed a record of the gravestones still standing in St. Nicholas Churchyard, Great Yarmouth Minster, and the record can be downloaded by clicking on the link below. You will need to refer to the plots on the churchyard plan which can also be downloaded here  Icon Plan of churchyard plots, St. Nicholas Churchyard (396.5 KB)  .

Icon Completed record of graves in St. Nicholas Churchyard, Great Yarmouth Minster (1.1 MB)