Inventory Site Record

Royal Hospital Old Burial Ground * (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Cemetery within the grounds of the Royal Hospital that served the pensioners residing there. It accommodated some 10,000 burials between its consecration in 1691 and closure in 1854/5 since pensioners were not normally given a headstone and the ground was re-used. There are some fine monuments including a number from the C18th.

Practical Information
Site location:
Royal Hospital Road (Royal Hospital London Gate)
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
Access by application to Royal Hospital Constable at London Gate
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Sloane Square (District, Circle)
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Royal Hospital Chelsea: Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection.

The Old Burial Ground was consecrated in August 1691 and has accommodated some 10,000 bodies, for the pensioners were not normally given a headstone and the ground was used and re-used. Among those buried here were William Cheselden, pioneer of modern surgery, and Dr Burney, who was Organist at the Royal Hospital from 1783-1814 and author of 'General History of Music', but better known as father of the novelist Fanny Burney. The cemetery closed for burials in 1854/5 and from 1855-1893 a plot in Brompton Cemetery (q.v.) was used, until a portion of Brookwood Cemetery was acquired that is still used for Royal Hospital Pensioners. The Old Burial Ground has table tombs, headstones and slabs, some dating from the C18th and handsomely carved, and it is an important military cemetery.

Sources consulted:

'The Royal Hospital Chelsea' guidebook 2002; Hugh Meller & Brian Parsons, 'London Cemeteries, An Illustrated Guide and Gazetteer', 4th edition (The History Press, 2008). See EH Register

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ281782 (528001,178183)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Royal Hospital
Site management:
Royal Hospital
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

NHLE grade:
Grade II
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:
Royal Hospital
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance II
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:
Area of Metropolitan Importance

Royal Hospital Old Burial Ground *

Royal Hospital Old Burial Ground - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 14/04/21 14:12

Click a photo to enlarge.

More photos

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.