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Showing posts from May, 2014

London's Spa Fields

Deceased Online has just uploaded around 114,000 burial records from Spa Fields in the modern London borough of Islington

Spa Fields Burial Ground became notorious in the 19th century for its overcrowded and insanitary conditions. Located in the parish of St James, Clerkenwell, the grave yard was not far from the ever-increasing City of London. Spa Fields was known also as Clerkenwell Fields and Ducking-pond Fields in the late 18th century, hinting at a dark side to what was then a summer evening resort for north Londoners. What would become a cemetery was a ducking pond in the rural grounds of a Spa Fields public house. It was here in 1683 that six children were drowned while playing on the ice. In his History of Clerkenwell (1865) William J. Pinks wrote that visitors, "came hither to witness the rude sports that were in vogue a century ago, such as duck-hunting, prize-fighting, bull-baiting, and others of an equally demoralising character." Another name for the area was Pip…

Bunhill Fields 1800-1854

Deceased Online's Bunhill Fields collection has proved very popular so far. Thank you to all who have been in touch about the nonconformist ancestors (including Huguenots) you have found in the database. This week, I look at the later years of the collection, 1800-1854.

By 1800, Bunhill Fields was well-established as a burial ground for nonconformist Londoners. Some of the most important figures in the Methodist movement were interred there, including SusannaWesleyand Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon. Buried in 1808, Theophilus Lindsey (1723-1808), one of the founders of Unitarianism, lies nearby. So significant to dissenters was the graveyard that even those who died away from London were brought to Bunhill Fields to be buried: the Scottish minister Henry Hunter (1741-1802) died in Bristol but was laid to rest at Bunhill on 6 November 1802.

In the 19th century the cemetery also saw the burials of notable scientists, such as the steam engine pioneer Jabez Carter Hornblower (1…

Bunhill Fields

Deceased Online is very pleased to announce that 71,100 of the records for renowned City of London cemetery, Bunhill Fields, are now online

Thanks to our partnership with the UK National Archives at Kew, we have digitised their entire collection of Bunhill burial records which covers 1704 to 1854. The collection includes some of Britain's most celebrated nonconformists, such as literary giants Daniel Defoe (1660-1731),  the hymn writer, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), and the poet William Blake (1757-1827). In this post, I look at the history of the cemetery up to 1800.

Bunhill Fields is one of the oldest nonconformist cemeteries in London, dating from 1665 in the reign of King Charles II. The current Grade I listed graveyard lies between the bustling City Road and Bunhill Row, but was originally part of the much larger Quaker Gardens. This land was the first freehold property owned by Quakers in England.

Across the City Road from the burial ground is Wesley's House, the museum of M…