God's Acre Cemetery Hunmanby


Thank you to Brian Waining and Hunmanby Local History Group for the use of this article

In the early 1890's Hunmanby had three places of worship apart from the Parish Church of All saints. There was the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Prospect Place, The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Bridlington Street, and the Temperance Society in Stonegate. Non-conformist worshippers, in total, outnumbered those of the Anglian church.

All the villagers for many centuries had been buried in the churchyard at All Saints church. Re-burials taking place as the churchyard filled up. When the coming of the headstone and memorials became popular during the late 18th Century, it became obvious that the old system of burials could no longer take place and, in a large village as Hunmanby, burial space was getting scarce. By 1890, a large number of burials were Non-conformist and this troubled the Anglicans. The vicar Rev. Edward Mitford (1888-1919) was made aware of this problem, and he requested his close relative Colonel Mitford, Lord of the Hunmanby Manor who resided at Mitford Castle, Mitford County Durham, for a suitable plot of land for use as a cemetery, thus freeing the remaining churchyard for the Anglicans.

On Tuesday night, March 19th, 1889, a public meeting of the parishioners was called to consider the means proposed for providing an addition to the churchyard. It was explained that the vicar and church wardens had received the offer of a piece of land for the purpose from Colonel Osbaldeston Mitford; and that, though the situation had its drawbacks, having given the matter every consideration, he had selected this piece and was not prepared to offer any other; also that he had promised a donation towards the expense of draining, levelling, enclosing, laying out etc, for which a sum of money will be required, not far short of £100. A resolution, acknowledging the Colonel's kindness in making the offer, was proposed by Mr George Bourdass, seconded by Mr Robert Plewes, and supported by Mr. John Smith, was unanimously carried. Questions and suggestions were then invited, with a view to eliciting opinions and giving information, and where necessary, explanations; but the invitation met with only a limited response. 

The Vicar and churchwardens desire to act as is best for all the parishioners, without any distinction whatever; they feel that the matter is so urgent as to admit of no unnecessary delay, and therefore having publicly ventilated the matter, now appeal for the support and help of the parishioners for raising the necessary funds, that the work may be at once proceeded with.

A public meeting was held, in accordance with notices signed by the Vicar and churchwardens, on Friday, February 19th 1892. The vicar made a statement of what money had been received and spent and said that he and the churchwardens did not feel able to go on with the work, so as to start clear of debt, unless a considerable sum were further guaranteed. The only alternative would be that a Burial Board would have to be applied for, which would put the Parish to great expense. Eventually a committee was appointed by the meeting to solicit contributions, viz: -

Messrs. W.H. Cranswick, W.Patrick, W.J. Grace, A. Holey, T.P.Young, and J.B. Simpson. The meeting was then adjourned till Thursday, March 10th.

At this meeting the committee reported the result of their canvass, which had been quite successful, and that many of those who had already given or promised, were willing to add more if necessary. In accordance with an understanding already entered into, a proposition was made and agreed to, that the collecting committee to assist the Vicar and churchwardens in carrying out necessary arrangements for preparing the ground offered by Colonel Osbaldestone Mitford. The whole committee met on March 14th to draw up and sign an application asking that the piece of land to be used might be so altered in shape as to become rectangular. This was forwarded to Colonel Osbaldeston Mitford, who wrote in reply that he would have great pleasure in acceding to the request. The area of the ground thus enlarged will be 1 acre, 1 rood, 16 perches, and will be large enough to serve the parish for many years. 

May 1892 the burial ground report:

Good progress is being made. The committee have held frequent meetings and are doing their best to get this work finished as soon as possible. The altered shape of the ground is a great improvement.

July 1892 the burial ground report:

Here again there has been an unexpected delay because of the coping stones not having been sent as soon as possible. There will still be a little more money required; but the committee hope that there will still be no difficulty in obtaining this now that everything has gone so smoothly so far.

Two conditions were set by Colonel Mitford. 

Firstly, the new cemetery was for the use of all parishioners - irrespective of their religion or creed.

Secondly that no parishioner must ever be barred from burial in consecrated ground for any reason whatsoever and all grave spaces were to be free,

Consecration of the New Burial Ground, Friday May 12th, 1893.

This ceremony was performed by His Grace the Archbishop of York, on Friday May 12th. The special office, published by order of the archbishop, was used. The service began at eleven o' clock in the Parish Church, the clergy present being the Vicar of the parish (Rev Edward Mitford), the rectors of Folkton and Thwing, and the Vicars of Burton Fleming, Muston, Seamer and Wold Newton. The offerings amounted to £2 10 s 10d which went to the burial fund. 

October 1893:

Notice is hereby given: That in future no more internments can take place in the old church yard at All Saints, and that the necessary steps will be taken at once to have it closed by an order of the council. 

The first burial in the new burial ground (Gods Acre)  From the church monthly 1893

November 2nd, In the new burial ground John Taylor, aged 67

November 6th In the Churchyard, Daisy Vivian Clark, aged 19 days

November 13th In the new burial ground John Henry Stockdale, Aged 4 months

March 1897:

On March 30th, 1897, the old churchyard was inspected by Dr. Hoffman, Government Inspector of churchyards for England and Wales. He pronounced the grounds to be unfit to be used for further burials and intimated that an 'order in council' 'would be shortly made on the vicar and churchwardens, by which the churchyard would be closed. Application was made for this order by the vicar more than two years ago, and the delay has arisen from the fact that Dr Hoffman is the only Inspector in the whole of England and Wales.

Burial Ground - Summary of Accounts January 1894


Subscriptions £164. 15s.11d

Proceeds of lecture £2.1.0d

Collection at Consecration service £2.10s.10d

Letting the grass sale of surplus £1.15s.0d.

Materials £0.15s.0d

Bank Interest £2.4s.0d

Total £174.0s.11d


Labour £29.6s.0d

Gates, palisading and wall £79.12s.7d

Paled fence £30.0s.0d

Quicks, wire netting and grass seed £6.10s.9d.

Gravel £1.13s.9d.

Level Expenses

Conveyance do. consecration £3.3s.0d

Printing, postage £1.9s.7d

Balance in hand £1.3s.6d.

Total £174.0s.11d

Edward Mitford, Chairman

William Hutchinson and C. Goodridge Heard Churchwardens

Committee: William Henry Cranswick, William James Grace, Aaron Holey, William Patrick, John Bean Simpson (Treasurer)

Thomas Peverley Young 

If you have more information or are interested in History, this is the link to Hunmanby Local History Group Facebook page


A more contemporary recollection is for on the hunmanby.com website, written by the late Ces Mowthorpe, local village undertaker in 2006

Link to God's acre page on Hunmanby.com 


Updated 20.10.2021