Current Projects | Chapels of Rest | Stroud Neighbourhood Development Plan | Buildings of Concern | Local List | Local List Process
The Project for Stroud Preservation Trust
On October 8th, Stroud District Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee agreed that the Chapels of Rest could be asset transferred to Stroud Preservation Trust for £1
There are four conditions:
The financial capital needed to bring these lovely buildings into full use will be more than the eventual value of the buildings. This is known as the conservation deficit. Stroud Preservation Trust’s expertise and charitable status could help raise grants for the work.
The aim would be to consult widely with the public, raise funds and within a designated time, return to Stroud District Council with a full plan. If agreed the Chapels of Rest will then transfer to SPT for £1 (known as an asset transfer) and the plan will be put into action.
Regular updates will be put onto SPT’s website as to developments for this project.
History of the Chapels
In 1854, the several burial grounds in Stroud had become insufficient in size and dangerous to health and, with the threat of closure from the Secretary of State, a new cemetery had to be created. An extensive site of approximately six acres was purchased from Mr Joseph Watts for the sum of £756.00.
Stroud’s cemetery was a piece of land of 6 acres laid out with shrubs and walks by Mr W Foster, Nurseryman.
It was the fashion in those days to make the new cemeteries beautiful places for visiting and with its exceptional site, views and walks and Stroud Cemetery fits the fashion perfectly.
The twin chapels, surmounted by a spire and the original entrance lodge were designed, in decorated Gothic, by the local architects, Messrs Baker and Son, 3 Albert Buildings, Stroud, and built to a high standard of stone masonry. The overall cost (excluding the land) was £2,800.00.
The North Chapel (nearest the Bisley Road) was for non-conformists and the South Chapel for Church of England congregations.
On the 6th September 1856 the Church portion of the new cemetery was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese. About forty of the clergy were present and there was a very large concourse of people. The morning was exceedingly fine and favourable. The following day, two paupers from the workhouse were interred there.
The cemetery grounds were divided into three areas, Church of England Non-Conformists, and paupers. The pauper’s area was directly opposite the Union Workhouse in Bisley Road. On the 4th September 1856, William Lewis, a pauper from the workhouse, was the first person to be interred.
Another resident of the workhouse was Sara Dancey Face, who died aged 100 years and 47 days and was buried in the pauper area in December 1863. She was a poor, but respected member of the Society of Wesleyans in Acre Street and one of her earliest memories was that she had once cleaned the shoes of John Wesley, when he was on one of his visits to his Society in Stroud.
The cemetery had to be expanding quickly and in 1885 more land was bought by the Stroud Joint Burial Commottee to extend the land down to Horns Road.
In 1913 Bisley Parish bought 91/3500 of the cemetery and Thrupp Parish 464/3500.
In 1974 Stroud District Council took over the running of the cemetery and the Chapels of Rest were not used (except as a parks maintenance base by Stroud Town Council) since 1994.
There were two lodges, Upper and Lower which have both been sold privately and the cemetery as a whole have been run by Stroud Town Council as a nature reserve for nearly 30 years.
The cemetery now belongs to the Town Council.
The Chapels of Rest and surrounding tarmac belong to Stroud District Council.
With thanks to Stroud Local History Society https://www.stroudlocalhistorysociety.org.uk/research/cemetery