About the Cemetery

Wardsend Cemetery, which is really a detached churchyard, was opened on 21st June 1857 as the burial ground for St. Philip’s Church on Infirmary Road (now demolished). The vicar, the Rev. John Livesey, had, at his own expense, bought five acres of land at Wardsend when the churchyard was closed for burials. He also contributed to the cost of building a small chapel and a sexton’s house.

The cemetery and the chapel, which was designed by Weightman, Hadfield and Goldie of Sheffield, were consecrated by the Archbishop of York, Thomas Musgrave, on the 5th of July 1859. Wardsend Cemetery has a distinct military influence due to its close proximity to Hillsborough Barracks.

Notably, the cemetery is the final resting place of multiple military families, and of many of the victims of the 1864 Sheffield Flood. Other epitaphs of interest are dedications to a number of Bible readers, one a member of the Philadelphian Wesleyan church; the Secretary of Sheffield Angling Association, widows referred to as relicts, and a reference to a 15 year old boy tragically killed at work in a colliery accident.

By the turn of the century, some 20,000 interments had taken place and in 1901, a further two acres of land on the other side of the railway were added. Because of this, Wardsend Cemetery remains the only cemetery in England with a railway running through it!

Historical Map

The final burial took place in 1977, when the re-interment of remains from a building site close to Sheffield Cathedral took place. The cemetery was officially closed in 1988. Although it remained technically open for burials until 1988,Wardsend Cemetery has been increasingly neglected over the 3 decades. Especially following the demolition of the chapel and sexton’s house, leaving the cemetery more or less abandoned by the parish and church authorities.

The local authority took responsibility for the maintenance of the site in 2010.