JD & I went for an evening walk around the block last night (yes, we are turning in to my parents!!) and walked past Billing Road Cemetery. We never walked through the gates but this seemed the perfect summer evening to have a look. It is a strange place. More like a grass pitch with some graves scattered around than a 'proper' cemetery. There is no order to things, the graves all seem quite old.
I have no idea why this place is no longer in use. When looking at the Northamptonshire County website, it says the place is restricted, meaning not everyone can get a grave there. But why? What is the history of the place? Why is it not a proper cemetery with rows of graves? Why did burials stop there after a while? Most graves date from 1830 - 1930 with a few exceptions up to as recent as 1979. I assume these were family graves where people had the rights to be added to a family tomb.
Caroline Chisholm, the famous social reformer who fought for Aborigine's rights in Sydney, was buried there in 1877.
Some more well known people are buried there but I could not find any info as to the strange feel of the place. As we were leaving, I suddenly noticed something wonderfully philosophical. Almost all graves had trees growing from them. Like death sustaining life. The whole place did not have that 'creepy' feeling you normally get from an old burial ground. Instead it left me with a whole bunch of questions. In an era of shortage of burial space, why is Billing Road Cemetery not used to its full potential? Did people object? Did something happen?