Skip to main content

Cedar of Lebanon at Highgate Cemetery

Sad loss of well-loved and historic tree

Sadly, Highgate Cemetery has reported the loss of, "its great old Cedar of Lebanon" The beloved tree predates the cemetery, having been planted more than 50 years before the London Cemetery Company began its layout began in 1836. It is not known exactly how old the Cedar was, but it was believed to be at least 250 years  

Highgate Cemetery’s layout on seventeen acres of the former Ashurst Estate by Highgate Village, which was itself taken down to allow for the building of St Michael's Church, Highgate in 1830. The areas lie on a steep hillside, facing the centre of London, and winding down Swain’s Lane past Waterlow Park towards Hampstead Heath, Dartmouth Park and Kentish Town. Garden designer, David Ramsey, created exotic, formal planting. Stephen Geary, the architect, and surveyor, James Bunstone Bunning designed the stunning monuments and chapels of what soon became London’s most fashionable cemetery. 

Earth taken from around the ancient Cedar of Lebanon was used to create the Circle of Lebanon, which leads up to perhaps the most unique aspect the celebrated Egyptian Avenue, a walkway bordered by sixteen vaults. Close by the Terrace Catacombs was built in 1842. Along with seventy other monuments, these gothic wonders have all been listed by English Heritage. Some of the most identifiably Victorian of the monuments and headstones lie in the West Cemetery. 

Highgate Cemetery shared the news of the tree's demise on its Twitter account in August 2019
When the cemetery was designed, the tree was incorporated into the plans. Visitors on the tour to the West Cemetery could see the gravestones radiating out from the magnificent arboreal centre. Cemetery staff requested an arboreal report before making the necessary decision of the tree's removal. Experts described the tree as, "high risk" as a result of years of significant decay. Dr Ian Dungavell, Chief Executive of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, has stated they are searching for a replacement tree of a similar size.  

All Highgate Cemetery burial records are available now on Deceased Online. They include digital scans of original registers, grave details indicating all those buried in each grave, and section location maps for graves (unfortunately, maps for a few graves are not available).

And please get in touch to let us know of any ancestors you have found buried in Highgate. Just post a message via the Comments Box below, or on our Facebook or Twitter pages!


Popular posts from this blog

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 today, with the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer in the background 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

Nottingham Collection

This week, Deceased Online expands its Nottingham Collection with the addition of records from the early Victorian cemetery, Nottingham General. Enter Nottingham's General Cemetery from Canning Terrace and be prepared to step back in time to the late 19th century. Like many of the Victorian cemeteries in the Deceased Online collections, Nottingham General was designed to take the burden from parish churches whose graveyards had become overcrowded. Also, like many other Victorian cemeteries, this was administered by a newly-formed body, the Nottingham General Cemetery Company (1836) . The Grade II listed gatehouse , the chapel and the adjacent almshouses were built between 1836 and 1838 by S. S. Rawlinson . Burial registers were kept from the opening date of cemetery in 1838. Concerns were raised in the 1920s that this municipal cemetery was now overcrowded and from 1929 the cemetery was closed to new burials other than those who owned burial rights. Headstones in

Churck (Rock) Cemetery, Nottingham

Coming soon to the Deceased Online database: two historic cemeteries from Nottingham City Council to add to the Nottingham Collection . This week, I explore the history of the renowned Church Cemetery (also known as the Rock Cemetery) . At first glance, the modern visitor to Nottingham's Church Cemetery may think they have wandered into Kensal Green , or another of London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries. The 13 acre site abounds with the kind of gothic stone monuments and large sarcophogi with which the mid-Victorians liked to remember their dead. Yet look harder and you will find something unique to Nottingham - sandstone caves. Since the middle ages, the area around Nottingham was quarried for its sandstone, now known by the name of a nearby village as "Bulwell sandstone". From 1851, after the cemetery was laid out on the former sandpits, local people grew to know it simply as "The Rock".  Church Cemetery Otherwise known as the Rock Cemetery on a