Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries

The Friends of the Great Yarmouth Cemeteries is an independent voluntary organisation initiated as part of the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust's Cemeteries Project.  The Friends work in partnership with GYB Services to care for and enhance this much beloved green space in the centre of Great Yarmouth.  Membership is open to all, with an annual subscription fee of £5.00, (£3 for under 18s, pensioners and those on benefit) Icon Membership Form, Friends of GY Cemeteries (143.2 KB) .    Funding from The Chestnut Fund was awarded to the Friends in the form of a small start-up grant and for support and guidance in biodiversity management provided by Mark Webster from The Conservation Volunteers.

To download the most recent newsletter click the PDF file here Icon Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries newsletter, issue 16, May 2016 (955.1 KB)  ,  or to find out more, see Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries on Facebook.  The membership secretary is Penny and she can be contacted on her mobile 07917181945.  The working party foreman is Michael Pearson who can be contacted on 01493 842623.

Friends Clearing Grave in New Cemetery 6.7.13 Sarah working in the Old Cemetery Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries, Tom, Frankie and Sam Ivy motif carved on gravestone









The Friends meet every first Saturday of the month to work in the Cemeteries. They meet at 10 am at the north (second) chapel in the New Cemetery, on the north side of Kitchener Road and usually work for about 2hrs, some members less. Forthcoming working party days are 7th May, 4th June and 2nd July 2016

Apart from clearing graves of invasive vegetation, mainly ivy, brambles and sycamore saplings, activities have included the installation of bird nesting boxes made by Year 5 pupils at St. Nicholas Priory Junior School. In early January 2015 the Friends installed another 30 of the total of 100 bird boxes produced by the pupils! Also in February 2014, the working party planted saplings donated by TCV around the green waste dump to screen the area and provide cover and food for the birds. 

All those in the working team have commented on how enjoyable and rewarding it is to work together in this interesting and amazingly extensive green space in the centre of town.    Anybody interested is very welcome to join us for a morning to see what we do.

Record of Churchyard Graves
The Friends also meet at arranged intervals to complete the record of graves in the churchyard, meeting in the Minster porch at 10am .  When completed, the database with plans can be uploaded for public access. This task has now been completed and the record can be downloaded from this site - see Cemeteries Project page.

The next Community Litter Pick will be held on Saturday 21st May 2016, in collaboration with Sainsburys. Meet at Minster Porch, 10 am

The second Seed and Plant Swap was held on 19th March 2016.  It was advertised in the Great Yarmouth Mercury and people turned up with plants and pots they wished to donate, to supplement the seeds and plants donated by members and Tower Works Allotments.  Most of the plants were taken, so those helping with the vent considered it a worthwhile enterprise.  An Autumn event is planned, to build on this success. 

A guided tour will take place on 9th September 2016 for Heritage Open Days, starting at the Minster Porch 2 pm.  Local historian Paul Davies will talk about the fascinating stories behind the stones and monuments included in the tour.

Printed Guide.  We have now issued a map of the churchyards and cemeteries with a guide to some of the more interesting graves.  This is available at the Minster shop by the cafe and costs only 20p. 

Last year Paul Davies arranged with the Friends of The Rosary Cemetery and Friends of Earlham Road Cemetery in Norwich to visit the famous  Kensal Green Cemetery in London on the 31st October, 2015.  A visit to Kings Lynn Cemetery is being planned for this year.


  Litter Pick 16.5.15 Litter collection 5.4.13 Community Litter Pick 5th April 2014 Litter Picking by the Churchyard Wall   








Mowing Regime to encourage wild flower growth

With Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, the Friends agreed a new mowing regime in 2014 with GYB Services and this will be carried forward in 2015.  Interpretation panels have been installed to explain the mowing regime and identify some of the flowers that will be allowed to bloom.  This will benefit some wild flowers that flourish on the poor soil of this relic sand dune site, but are increasingly scarce elsewhere.  The result has been a lovely display of colour and should improve year by year.  Last year (2014) strimming began end June when the Friends started to rake and remove strimmed grass cuttings, rather than leave them to enrich the soil and threaten the unique habitat.

Wild Flower Meadow in Old Cemetery June 2014 Wild Flowers growing in Old Cemetery June 2014 Flowers in May 2015








Anglia in Bloom

Great Yarmouth and Gorleston in Bloom suggested and paid for Great Yarmouth Cemeteries and the Minster Churchyard to entered for a new category in the annual Anglia in Bloom awards.  The judges visited in July 2014 and Great Yarmouth Cemeteries won the award in that category.
The churchyard and cemeteries have been entered again for the 2015 awards.

Bird Watch

Peter Allard has kindly produced a report on birds observed in the Cemeteries over the Autumn of 2013:

"Despite the loss of much cover and undergrowth, the Great Yarmouth Cemeteries has provided another interesting migration location for passage birds moving along the coast and arriving from across the North Sea.

Yellow-browed Warblers, a scarce migrant from Siberia have been seen regularly since one was identified on September 25th. At least one was still present on October 31st. At times, perhaps as many as three has been present and attracting many visiting bird watchers. The rarest migrant was a Common Rosefinch, seen briefly on September 22nd. This bird is very scarce in Norfolk and typically winters no nearer than India. Another unusual migrant was a Red-breasted Flycatcher, present on October 11th and 12th, but as usual was difficult to locate at times.

Other more typical migrants included up to 4 Firecrests, several Common Redstarts and small numbers of Pied Flycatchers. Also noted were several Ring Ouzels and a Hawfinch briefly on October 4th was a surprise. Migrant thrushes included small numbers of Redwings, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes which are seen regularly if easterly winds persist. 1-2 Black Redstarts appeared towards the end of October perching on the stone walls that surround the cemeteries.

The cemeteries and churchyard certainly look much tidier and visiting birders perhaps appreciate this. Despite the loss of many shrubs and cover, migrant birds are still attracted here as seen by the many species recorded this autumn. For nesting birds however, the story might be slightly more different."  Peter Allard

Summer Cemetery Watch 2013

The Friends offered a programme of events for a Summer Cemetery Watch in June, with talks, tours and workshops, including an exhibition in the Minster featuring paintings, drawings and prints of the cemeteries by Rachel Thomas,  Eddie Bush, Cathy Mijatovic and Paul Carter.  The Norfolk Wildlife Trust offered a beginner's workshop for flower identification and a workshop in flower recording to support a wild flower survey that the Friends wish to conduct in order to develop a mowing regime with GYB Services next year that will benefit wild flowers and the insects they support.   To download the full programme for the Summer Cemetery Watch, click Icon Summer Cemetery Watch programme (139.1 KB)

The Friends group has only just been established and a secretary is required to work with the steering committee in taking things forward.  Anybody who lives in Great Yarmouth or nearby interested in contributing in this way, please get in touch!   Support will be offered to any volunteer for whom this might be a step towards developing experience and employment opportunities.

Burial Registers


These registers are not held in the church. Many of these records were destroyed by bombing in the Second World War. Copies of these registers are found in the Norfolk Record Office and Great Yarmouth Library:

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

Telephone: 01603 222599

The Friends do not yet hold a plan of those who are buried in the churchyard, though they are preparing a record of all existing stones and will make this available on the website when complete. 

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

Icon Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries Newsletter, Issue 15 (649.7 KB)