Rosemary Green Burial Ground Data

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Projects: Eastville Workhouse
Subjects: Workhouses & Poverty Laws
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The files listed on this page contain data by decade of the burials at Rosemary Green (marked “Burial Ground (Disused)” on the map below). These are people who died in Eastville Workhouse and were buried in unmarked graves at the site.

The files are for Version 2.0 published November 2015 by Bristol radical History.

More files for subsequent decades will be added as the are compiled. As existing files are corrected, expanded and updated new version numbers will be issued.

A Note On Dates

It is now clear when Rosemary Green was first employed as a burial ground for Eastville Workhouse. The institution opened in 1847 and the first death is recorded in the registers as occurring in September of that year . Between 1847 and 1851 bodies of inmates were returned for burial to the parishes from whence they came. Examination of consecration documents for the site and other sources suggest that the first phase of usage of Rosemary Green as a burial ground was after April 1851 . The death registers show no burials for April 1851 and the first after the consecration (which occurred on or about April 25th 1851) is noted as 13 May 1851.


It appears that the Rosemary Green site became a disused burial ground around 20th November 1895. After this point the death registers mark the new burial ground as the ‘Ridgeway’ which is almost certainly the Ridgeway Park Cemetery located a few minutes’ walk away at the top end of Eastville Park which was opened by a private company in 1888.Greenbank Cemetery which lies adjacent to Rosemary Green was opened in 1871 and there is significant evidence that parts of the site were used for burying workhouse inmates in unmarked graves, though it is unclear (as yet) when this activity began. See “Explanations and notes concerning released burial data” (below).


Data Files

All of the data we have is now available on this page. Research continues into the years 1847-50 (see “A notes on dates” above).

To save the PDF files to your computer: Right click (‘Control’ click on a Mac) the PDF link and select “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…”, depending on your browser.

Searching these files: With  the file open in your browser or Adobe Acrobat Reader pressing the ‘Ctrl’ key and the ‘F’ key (‘Cmd’ and ‘F’ on a Mac) simultaneously will open a search box, the location of which will depend on the browser you are using but it is normally top left or bottom right.

Explanations and notes concerning released burial data






Summary 1851-1895

Change log

15/11/2015: VRS 2.0 uploaded. Includes the years 1851-54 and details of those that were ‘donated’ to the medical school.

26/01/2015: workhouse-data-1860-69-VRS-1-0c.pdf added.

25/01/2015: workhouse-data-1890-95-VRS-1-0a.pdf added.

24/01/2015: workhouse-data-1880-89-VRS-1-0c.pdf corrected Fanny Tasker appeared twice in Feb 1881 thus throwing the totals out by 1 female.

24/01/2015: workhouse-data-1880-89-VRS-1-0a.pdf added.


  1. Editor

    I was interested in the lunch time broadcast flagging up tonight’s ‘Inside Out’ featuring Eastville ‘paupers’ Cemetery.
    Bristol Radical History Group are to be congratulated in bringing this to the attention of the ‘greater’ public.
    I was similarly involved here in Wells in 2000 when the NHS attempted to dispose of the former Somerset Lunatic Asylum Cemetery (Mendip Hospital) at auction in London.

    I’m delighted to report consequent on a ‘public’ out-cry the cemetery was withdrawn from auction as is now vested in Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery of which I’m a ‘trustee’. ( Fifteen years on the cemetery is open to the public and I commend our excellent website.

    Dr Morag S. Hervey gave a lecture in St. Thomas Church, Wells, on 20th October 2000, at the invitation of the Friends of Mendip Hospital Burial Ground. Dr Hervey concluded her lecture with the following words:

    …………………”That brings me, in conclusion, to say a word about the dangers confronting the old Mendip Hospital burial ground. It seems to me that any thought of turning it over to commercial use would be a final act of contempt towards people who had known too much contempt during their lives. They are now beyond damage but we are not. Contempt always damages the contemptuous. Furthermore, the fragile improvement there has been in the attitude of society towards mentally ill people would be countered by a public message of this sort. I wish the Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery every success.”

    The late Trevor Fry broadcast a ‘Sunday Start’ and we’d welcome fifteen years on the media to further visit to observe what a ‘dedicated’ group of volunteers can achieve.

    Graham E Livings

    • Hi
      Someone at the Bristol Record Office open day mentioned your organisation and we obviously have a common project. I think it would be useful for us to have a chat/meet up, to discuss common issues and difficulties. Unfortunately I am no longer based in Bristol but am there from 17th to 20th (mainly) Where are you physcially based?
      Good luck to the memories of the poor and lunatik!

  2. I have just gone down the lists of registered buriels and found 8 people with my mothers maiden name,I am sure they are all related, you have done such a fantastic job in bringing this buried site to the publics notice. Well done to you all.

  3. Saw the item on Inside Out West which was brilliant. Thank you for your work in setting this information in a publicly available format. I am sure that it will prove to be of immense value to Family Historians near and far.

  4. Many thanks for the data. I knew my relative died at the workhouse and that on the 1891 census her occupation was recorded as brickmaker-she was aged 82yrs. Not sure if she did this at the workhouse or was a previous occupation? She died on Mar 3, 1892. On your data her name is entered as Whilcombe, however, it should read
    Eunice Whitcombe.
    Good luck with the project.

  5. In the 1950’s Mr. Williams, who kept the newsagents in Stapleton Road, at the back of the bus depot, would carry a large newspaperboy’s sack around 100 Fishponds Road, in the morning and in the evening, selling newspapers, cigaretts, chocolate etc to the ‘inmates’. About 1957/8 he was taken ill and my mother offered, rather foolishly to stand in for a while. I think it was for just under two years! Being a small lady she couldn’t take the bag but the people wanted their papers, so she borrowed a two wheeled handmade cart from my friend, Francis Woods, son of the Greengogers across the road from Williams, to put the stuff in. I went with her in the evenings from about 5.00 and it took about an hour to go around.
    I was 12 at the time and well remember the place. We would go round most of the ground floors. First two large halls, one for men and one for women. My mother used get very upset as husbands and wives were lept apart. The old people sat in chairs around the walls and I remebr the lighting being very stark and the sight of some of the people. Then we went through an alley, which on a winter’s night was quite ‘spooky’, especailly as chap would wait for us and pounce to buy an Evening Post or was it Evening World? We got used it after a while and were ready for him.

    I remember so well going into one room where there were about six beds for men. It smelt and there was one poor chap who couldn’t speak properly and dribbled awfully. My mother didn’t like dealing with him so I did. I genuinely did, and still do, feel so sorry for him. He always had some chocolate, Cadbury’s or Kitkat and paid with coppers or a sixpenny piece. One night I went in and his bed was empty. He never left that bed and I was told in such a cold hearted way by one of the other men ‘Oh you won’t see him again kid, he’s dead, last night.’ At twelve I suddenly realised what death was.
    We then went to the posh bit. This was a new extension at the back and looked out over the burial ground recently mentioned though I recall it as overgrown land, and towards Greenbank cemetry. It was men who had a bit of money, I recall an ex railwayman who probably had a railway pension. One night there was an awful argument, a fight, and my mother broke it up. We went round on our own, only the gate keeper, whose name I forget, and maybe a member of staff knew we there. When she found someone to tell she was told never to do such a thing in the future as she could get hurt.

    A freind, Malcolm Clothier, lived in Robinson Road and his father worked in 100 and would go over the garden wall to get in, whilst another who lived in Fishponds Road played with Govenor’s son, in the early 50’s.

    It may seem odd that Mr. Williams had such a round and that a mother and her young son would be allowed round. It didn’t bring in much money but it was a service to the people in 100 Fishponds which they most likely may not have had otherwise.

    I never went all round the place but am told the buildings were quite incredible, but very daunting and the memory of those rounds, each night and on a Sunday morning, sticks in my mind.

    • Hi Keith

      Thank you so much for your detailed anecdote! It’s fascinating to get an insight into what life was like in the workhouse.

      Thanks to Bristol Radical History Group, I organised my own “tour” today of Greenbank Cemetery, through to the Rosemary Green burial ground, to the corner of Argyle Street – I tried to imagine what the workhouse would look like. It’s so strange that the area is now composed of relatively modern housing, it’s almost as if it never even existed.

      It’s interesting that your mum found it really difficult to witness the separation of husbands and wives. It shows that people at the time had some humanity! Yet at the same time, there must’ve been an entire workforce across the UK who’s job was to ensure people were separated from their families & put to gruelling work in these workhouses e.g. Wardens/overseers. It seems almost impossible that human beings could be treated so cruelly, and even after they’d died, to be placed in unmarked graves is just so sad.

      Does anyone know why the workhouse was demolished in the 70’s? Was it partly because it was so feared locally?

      I’m guessing many of the workhouse inhabitants were the most vulnerable members of society, with many having disabilities, psychological conditions, & generally, conditions that were challenging to manage. And I guess many inhabitants were destitute, & when the Poor Laws were created, to be poor was morally wrong so the attitude at the time was that people deserved the harsh treatment in the workhouse? But there is so much evidence these days concerning social mobility, stating that if you’re born into poverty it’s extremely difficult to “work your way” out of it.

      Keith, in your comment you mentioned the “posh bit” of the workhouse. So people who had pensions still went to the Workhouse? Your comment was posted a while ago, but I hope you come back to post some more details! 🙂

  6. Further to my last – I should have said the chap that died, his name was Len.
    Appologises I have seen several spelling mistakes in my piece.

  7. Hi Keith
    Thank you so much for your memories. You really add to our understanding It sounds like the old peoples’ home in the 1950s continued the tradition of the 19th century workhouse.
    Di BRHG researcher

  8. I’ve been looking at the Council’s online archives, looking for some other stuff and I noticed that there is a photograph in the archive (sadly not online) that dates from the 1890’s. It relates to 100 Fishponds Road and seems to be a photo of the governors of the workhouse. Just thought I’d mention that. Many thanks for bringing this issue out into the open – it’s quite astonishing.

  9. Wow, brilliant information. My interest was tweeked when reading my Bristol, Avon family history journal , that arrived today, on page 53, i recognised 100 fishponds road, my great grand father died there from Tb, i assumed it was a hospital ! I now intend to research this , although bristolian , following marriage i moved to hampshire 48 yrs ago, and the last 10 years rediscovering my heritage, every trip to family still living there i discover a new place , green bank is next on my list, many thanks to you lovely people who make all this possible.

  10. Just an update and a SAVE THE DATE. Our continued research was slightly slowed by Covid, but now we are about to launch a new tranche of data that includes pauper burials at Greenbank cemetery.
    Meeting on October 16th Monday 7.30 pm
    more details to follow

  11. Hi, my grandfather, Herbert Kelly, was born in this workhouse in 1903, along with several siblings. I have found what happened to most of these apart from a Frederick Kelly (or using his mother’s name, Frederick Stenner) who was born in 1895 but I guess there’s a good chance he died soon afterwards. You said that post 1895, inmates were buried in Ridgeway. Are there any lists of names who this might have happened to? Thank you in advance

  12. Neil, the data for pauper burials after 1895 in the Ridgeway and Greenbank Cemeteries has been checked and will be released shortly.

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