Exploring History in Hastings Cemetery

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All the burial grounds of the borough of Hastings, with the exception of the newly-inclosed part of All Saints churchyard and the cemetery of St Leonards , were ordered to be closed, under the Burial Act, on the 1st May, 1855, and the Burial Board of the borough made many attempts to obtain land for the formation of a general cemetery.

The parishes, however, being unable to agree as to the site, the Burial Board was dissolved, and the Town Council petitioned Her Majesty’s Privy Council for powers to constitute them a Burial Board for the whole borough.

In the meantime an extension of the period of closing was obtained by St Mary-in–the-Castle until the 1st October.  The Town Council have now received full powers, and steps are being taken (Aug.1855) to obtain about fifteen acres of land at a suitable distance from the town for the purpose of forming a General Cemetery.
From Hastings Past and Present, Diplock 1855 p. Lix in the appendix Note 67

The first burial, in 1856 was that of John “Yorky” Smith, a builder from Yorkshire,.  The first monument in the Cemetery was in the following year at AB J24

Thomas Brett recorded "The First Monumental Stone in the new cemetery was erected to the memory of Major-General Cox, who died at St. Leonards. And was buried on 17th January 1857.  The sculptor was Mr. Henry Vennell, who put up the marble chimney-piece within 3 feet of where I am writing."

The monument is no longer there.

Illustrated London News - Saturday 17 January 1857

We regret to record the death of Major-General William Cox, K.H., who expired at St. Leonards on-Sea on Tuesday. He was a very distinguished officer, having served in the old 95th at Copenhagen, and throughout the whole of the Peninsular war, from 1808 to 1814. He was present at the actions of Roleia, Vimiera, the retreat to Corunna, battles of Vittorio, Nivelle, Nive, passage of the Bidassoa, and battle of Orthes; receiving three severe wounds during the war. the Kaffir war of 1835 he had the command of a division under Sir Benjamin D’Urban, and was subsequently employed in Canada during the insurrection of late years. Major-General Cox was on the staff in Ireland. He had the war medal and seven clasps for his Peninsular services. .

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