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Burial Plot Types

Unlike today, during the nineteenth century there were multiple names for different types of grave, several of which overlapped or were interchangeable. It is important to be prepared for the possibility that the circumstances of a relative’s burial may not be what you were expecting. In the first forty years of the cemetery's existence the vast majority of burials were in common graves. A grave was dug and for the next week or so whoever arrived for a burial was interred, irrespective of age or sex.

Common Graves:

A common grave was a plot which belonged to the owners of the cemetery rather than to a private individual. These plots were used to bury the bodies of unrelated individuals who died over the course of a few days and did not have the means to pay for a plot with private burial rights. These graves were not marked with any kind of headstone and so the occupants were not formally commemorated though the burial itself would have been paid for by the family of the deceased.


The cheapest kind of common grave whose usage stopped roughly around 1890. These plots were not completely back filled after burial but were sealed over with a wooden door which was then locked. When the grave was completely filled the door was removed and the grave landscaped in the same way as any other plot.

Public Grave:

Another permutation of the common grave, public graves were completely filled following each burial. Thus the first and deepest interment was most costly.


This plot is distinguished by having a headstone which was shared with an adjacent plot. The inscription detailed the names, ages and dates of death of the occupants of the grave.

Private Grave:

These plots were purchased by individuals who then held burial rights over the plot. Those buried in these plots usually belong to the same family though it wasn’t unusual for family servants to be interred in these plots upon the event of their deaths.