Rapidly filling the old combined Sutton parishioners churchyard surrounding St Mary's realised individual demands for seeking future burial grounds. Graves recognising a few nonconformist Hucknall Huthwaite residents finds alternative use of Mansfield or other cemeteries, before our emerging township adopted its own Local Board in 1873 with powers and new responsibilities for advancing modern village services.
Some consideration may well have been given for siting the Hucknall Huthwaite graveyard below Blackwell Road, off Little Lane within close proximity the National Church School. Nevertheless, an 1887 auction held at the Peacock Inn reveals grass lands known as Crossley Close had been divided into three Lots, which abutted a previously purchased site for the proposed new cemetery also facing the Mansfield highway.
Hezekiah Hawkins was born 1859 at Thanet in Kent. Year 1871 locates him in Margate before the 21 year old is studying at St. Mark's College, London. Late 1880's the Reverend resides in Huthwaite, with duty to perform three of the first four cemetery funerals.
The new two acre cemetery grounds were not due for completion until fully equipped with a central mortuary chapel and fronting caretakers lodge. The year 1889 officially marked this opening, without any apparent celebrations. It was through urgent necessity the first 18 burials were actually registered in year 1888. A distressing case of Mrs. Mary Oxley buried 26th of May with her new born daughter three days later, made first funeral book entries.
Despite a rather morbid subject, the postcard by H.G. Owsten presents an historic and picturesque scene of newly opened grounds. The chapel last found captured behind park events did intend to serve all local funerals. Yet strong christian pride upheld religious traditions between methodist factions and especially the later parish church, fueling beliefs it only served pauper burials. Decaying through little use, its demolition vaguely dates near 1950s.
One unknown fact was later revealed by the Home Office in December 1893. They had only just found an order issued forty years before, asserting no cemetery should be provided in the ecclesiastical district of Sutton-in-Ashfield, including Hucknall Huthwaite, without consent of the Secretary of State. Whilst the Home Department desired an explanation from both Local Boards, it was clear nobody had been aware this old order existed. An obvious unwillingness to close either new cemetery allowed the matter to be dismissed.
Clerk for the Hucknall Huthwaite Local Board was George Hudson Hibbert of Mansfield. He also retained position of burial clerk when establishing the Huthwaite Urban District Council in 1894. Under their employ came William Pickaver Hardy, our first named cemetery keeper known to be given tied accommodation in the Lodge cottage. From a long notable line of Hucknall-under-Huthwaite residents, living relatives recalled ancestral disproval when accepting this position. Yet it was a respected educated duty, and this important role gained named entry among dated gazetteers, next revealing in 1912 that W. Ramsell held position.
Huthwaite Urban District Councillors prudently took opportunity to purchase an extra 1½ acres in 1912. The farm house shown above had stood rear and adjoining Mill Lane The owners son was the same William Pickaver Hardy who'd first kept the burial grounds. Original stone walling still stands when comparably viewed 2003. Thanks to descendant Mrs Eileen Wallace for also sharing evidence this was the originally addressed Mill House farm, dating back to when a windmill had stood atop the so named Mill Lane.
Following that sale, another 3 acres is claimed being acquired in 1915, ensuring future demands could be met among this rapidly growing mining community. With burial grounds fully extended into present size covering over 25,000 square metres, a second gated entrance off Mill Lane had allowed direct access into the past mortuary chapel, when mostly still reliably employing horse drawn vehicles.
Still fronting the main entrance gates off Sutton Road, earlier view of the Cemetery Lodge from Mrs Pearce dates back to next becoming home for her respected Bailey family. Robert Bailey took over responsibility of cemetery caretaker, with tied cottage accommodating wife Wilhelmine and their children. Overseeing the nearby siting of a stone epitaph within the cemetery grounds, a memorial to those lost in The Great War included their eldest son Bernard. World War II later adding daughter Annie among all the listed names.
Printed silk ribbons were one way of remembering lost ones. These three relating to Huthwaite cemetery were remarkably discovered inside an old book by Mrs Nicol Dales, an antiquarian book dealer in Wales.
Council minutes from 1932 reflect Robert senior was beginning to suffer some ill health. The council did employ an able assistant to undertake heavier duties, allowing Mr Bailey to continue role as superintendant, until offering his notice of resignation in May 1935. That year had earlier seen amalgamation of a Huthwaite Urban Council under Sutton District Council leadership, although our local representatives still thought it fitting to advertise and appoint a replacement keeper from the Huthwaite Ward. The next and final listing given in 1941 then names Arthur Evans as the currently appointed cemetery keeper under Sutton Council.
Ashfield District Council was formed 1st April 1974, and has since taken over maintaining all grave yards, parklands and most related amenities previously established and tended by smaller merged Urban, Rural and Parish Councils. They also jointly manage the Mansfield Crematorium which offers alternative dignity. Their own website contains cemetery registers, plot layouts, plus information on current services.
The cemetery war memorial is now the only Grade II listed building left in Huthwaite worthy of any historic interest. This cenotaph erected 1920 of sandstone ashlar is decorated with a bronze cross and wreath on the north and south face respectively. Two plaques listing recognised losses had become badly weathered and missing some letters. Year 2007 saw a full renovation, for what is annually the focus of a Remembrance Day service.
Written 18 Feb 08 Revised 09 Jan 14 © by Gary Elliott