Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Cemetery Trail Leaflet

In 1855 Mr Lucas Shadwell offered Hastings Corporation Gateman’s Field, an area of 21 acres on what was then the London Road, for a cemetery. The Secretary of State approved the purchase for £770. Henry Carpenter [architect of Blacklands Church] was paid £10 for his plan.

The cemetery was opened on 28th November 1856, the Church of England section being consecrated by Bishop Gilbert of Chichester, followed by a service in All Saints Church.

There were two lodges for staff accommodation and boundary walls, all made from local sandstone. A broad walk separated the consecrated[Anglican] from the unconsecrated sections.

The first burial, on the 2nd December that year, was John “Yorky” Smith. He came to the area to help with the construction of Martello Towers and was responsible for cutting the cliff away for the development of St Mary-in-the-Castle and Pelham Crescent and also for James Burton at St Leonards. He was a builder as well as an engineer and had fingers in other local pies. Like many people at that time he had a wide range of skills and interests.

In 1884 9 acres were added, in 1890 another 44½, making a total of 74½ acres. In 1940 an additional 4½ acres were allowed for war graves [of which there are 438 which are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission]. In 1997 land was again purchased for an extension and the total area now is said to be 87 acres.

A section marker to help you find your way

The letters and numbers inside refer to the location of the grave. The sections of the cemetery shown on the plan are divided into rows which have letters, and plots which have numbers. If you stand on a path facing a section, and towards the cemetery entrance, the row in front of you is A and the plots are numbered from right to left.

This plan is of the upper and older part of the cemetery.

The section letters are the first  part of the  grave  address.

Hastings Borough CemeteryThe Ridge, Hastings TN34 2AE

Gates are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm & Saturday & Sunday 9:00am to 4:30pm.

This leaflet is produced by “The grave’s a fine and private place....” project. More information can be found on our website:






Link to details of graves marked on map