Inventory Site Record

St Thomas's Burial Ground (Hackney)

Brief Description

St Thomas's Burial Ground was the former cemetery to a chapel-of-ease of St John-at-Hackney Church that was established here in 1810 to serve the southern part of the parish. Although the chapel was demolished after it ceased to be used in 1848, burials continued until 1876. It was converted into a public garden following agreement of the Bishop of London in 1884, with some chest tombs left in position but the remainder moved to the north and east perimeter. The garden has a number of fine plane trees along either side with a central path flanked at intervals by shrubs.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Well Street Burial Ground; St Thomas Long Burial Ground
Site location:
St Thomas's Place/Well Street
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Open to public?
Opening times:
7.30am - dusk (summer 9.30pm, winter 4pm).
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: London Fields. Bus 26, 48, 55, 106, 236, 253, 277, D6
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hackney.gov.uk

Full Site Description

This garden was the site of the burial ground to a Chapel-of-Ease of the parish church of St John-at-Hackney (q.v.) set up to serve South Hackney in 1810 by the Hackney Phalanx, a group of Anglicans consisting of James Watson, vicar of St John's from 1799, his brother Joshua, and South Hackney squire and parson Henry Handley Norris who founded the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The Phalanx had national influence in Anglican affairs and was involved in church and school building in the area. The chapel was in use until St John of Jerusalem (q.v.) was built in 1848, after which the building was demolished, only the burial ground remaining. Among the local people buried here were members of the Frampton family after whom the nearby 1960s Frampton Park Estate is named. The last burial here took place in 1876. In 1884 the Bishop of London approved Hackney Board of Works' proposal to turn the site into a garden. It was agreed 'to leave the principal tablestones in their present position, to plant evergreens round the site and to lower graves where necessary to remove all headstones and place same against north and east walls', these works costing some £180.

The garden was laid out in 1885 and writing in 1896 Mrs Basil Holmes remarked that is was 'very neatly kept by the Hackney District Board of Works'. In 1888 the Board paid £100 for a passage to join the garden with the Independent Chapel-ground, now known as St Thomas's Recreation Ground (q.v.), which it also maintained, the two sharing a single caretaker. The oblong site is enclosed by early C20th railings and it is overlooked to the west by St Thomas's Place built by Thomas Pearson between 1805 and 1807, and to the east by a 1930s council estate. The grassed area has a number of fine plane trees along either side with a central path flanked at intervals by shrubs, and containing a few chest tombs.

Sources consulted:

Wolfston, Greater London Cemeteries and Crematoria, 3rd ed., London 1994; J J Sexby, The Municipal Parks, Gardens and Open Spaces of London (1898); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Victoria County History; David Mander, Strength in the Tower, an illustrated History of Hackney (1998); Mrs Basil Holmes 'The London Burial Grounds', London 1896

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ350842 (535092,184276)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Hackney
Site management:
Hackney Parks Service
1837; 1884
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Mare Street
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Archaeological Priority
Other LA designation:
Open Space

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.