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A Hucknall History

Public Utility & Services

Cemetery Grounds

A traditional graveyard long serving all devoted Sutton parishioners was the old churchyard surrounding St Mary's. Sacred grounds neither afforded room for, or desired use of nonconformists, before realising future limitation placed among those prestigious plots.

Acknowledging acceptance for some notable private Hucknall Huthwaite burial plots suiting Wesleyan and Quaker residents, would otherwise find Mansfield cemetery had tolerated broadening religious beliefs, or a Blackwell churchyard afforded christian funerals. The Hucknall Huthwaite Local Board understood a vastly increasing population had common need to claim their own cemetery.

Plausible consideration is found given towards siting their public graveyard near Little Lane. Grounds off Blackwell Road would be closest proximity the National Church School, which introduced divine services previously naming Church Street. But 1887 auction at the Peacock Inn plotting Crossley Close grass lands divided into three lots, gives earliest confirmation of an abutting two acre plot already having been purchased, marking location for the proposed cemetery likewise accessed of the main Mansfield highway.

mortuary chapel

Despite rather morbid postcard subject, H.G. Owsten presented an historic picturesque scene of the newly opened cemetery. That centrally positioned mortuary chapel completed full layout for an officially dated 1889 opening with no apparent celebrations. A caretakers lodge did, however, register the first 18 burials in 1888. Urgent necessity was raised by the distressing case of Mrs Mary Oxley dying during childbirth. Her 26th May burial was sadly followed three days later to further inter her newly born daughter.

Rev Hezekiah Astley K Hawkings

Hezekiah Astley K Hawkins was born 1859 at Thanet in Kent. Year 1871 locates him in Margate before studying at the St. Mark's College, London. As professional resident, the Reverend dutifully performed three of the first four Huthwaite cemetery funerals.

Provision of a mortuary chapel ensured respectful funeral arrangements could be managed for anybody. But establishing individual parish church status fuelled christian snobbery also shared between Methodist factions. Being unable to afford traditional church rites for a family members funeral was considered so shameful, that any use of the public mortuary chapel was believed to only serve pauper burials. mortuary chapel Through eventual lack of use, building last revealed in background to Welfare Park festivities, stood derelict up until a vaguely dated demolition sometime into the 1950s.

Clerk throughout a Hucknall Huthwaite Local Board was George Hudson Hibbert of Mansfield, who gained additional position of burial clerk seeing in the 1894 Huthwaite Urban District Council. They could have realised some pride managing to actually lead Sutton on this rare occasion. Opening that larger 1892 cemetery aside the existing churchyard, might prove however, to be why concerns were raised embarrassing both local authorities.

Sutton mortuary chapel

Attracting the attention and reported response from the Home Office in December 1893 revealed an unbeknown clause 40 years prior. It stated no cemetery should be provided in the ecclesiastical district of Sutton-in-Ashfield without consent of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Requesting explanation from both boards reached similar understanding for an unknown outdated restriction, thereby dismissing any need to close either new cemetery.

Mr William Pickaver Hardy names first appointed cemetery keeper given tied accommodation in the Caretaker Lodge. His parents farmed land off Mill Lane from their rear side Mill House seen in 1903. Father didn't initially approve him taking up this new position, although living relatives further suggest the family came to broaden their business interests as Undertakers. Caretakers role ended up being a highly respected duty, gaining entry among dated gazetteers next revealing 1912 position held by W. Ramsell.

1903 Mill House FarmMill Lane

Huthwaite Urban District Councillors prudently took opportunity purchasing an extra 1½ acres in 1912. Acquiring another 3 acres in 1915 ensured future demands could be met in extended burial grounds still presently covering over 25,000 square metres. Sale of the Mill House farm left original stone walling offering a comparable 2003 view, defining a border fitted with second gated entrance off Mill Lane to ease private access for horse drawn and motorised hearse into a past mortuary chapel plus extended burial plots.

Plan B
Caretakers LodgeLodge

The caretakers Lodge sited at main entrance off Sutton Road is one of the earliest properties atop south side that highway to claim nice distant view over lower valley meadows. Well tended cemetery gardens are shown under next occupied keep of one highly respected family. Mr Robert Bailey had been a coal hewer in 1911, when wife Willhelmine worked at the CWS factory homing seven of their Huthwaite born children at a previous King Street address.

Overseeing the nearby siting of a stone epitaph within the cemetery grounds, a memorial to those lost in The Great War included eldest son Bernard. Need to add World War II listings would furthermore find tragic loss of daughter Annie.

Cemetery Cenotaph

Council minutes note Robert senior was beginning to suffer some ill health through 1932. The council employed an able assistant to undertake heavier duties, allowing Mr Bailey to continue role as superintendent, until offering his notice of resignation May 1935. Earlier that year had seen amalgamation of Huthwaite Urban Council under wider Sutton District Council leadership, although Huthwaite representatives still thought it fitting to advertise and appoint a replacement keeper from their local Ward. Final 1941 commercial directory names Arthur Evans being cemetery keeper under an enlarged Sutton Council authority.


Ashfield District Council has since taken over maintaining all grave yards, parks Ashfield DC Website 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. Linked website contains cemetery registers, plus all current service information.


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 the annual focus of a Remembrance Day service.

Whilst the cemetery largely contains headstones identifying past family members who might link genealogy interests, 2018 marked centennial end of World War One with a grand tribute showing thanks for the huge sacrifice given by all those featured in the Huthwaite Online memorial.


18 Feb 08     by Gary Elliott       Updated 30 Sep 20