Burial grounds bring together people separated by hundreds of years but who, in eternity, make connections across time and one of the most fascinating of these burial grounds is Bunhill Fields in the City of London.
- The name is probably a corruption of Bone Hill and it is thought that bones were probably being placed on this land for thousands of years.
- The bones were probably not just human but animal bones also, quite possibly from the shambles around Smithfield.
- Certainly in 1549 a thousand cartloads of bones were moved from the Charnel House at St Pauls and placed on the fields.
- At the height of the plague in the mid C17th new burial grounds were needed and the land of Bunhills was walled ready to receive victims of the plague but whether they actually were ever buried at Bunhills is open to conjecture.
- The land was leased to John Tyndell to use as a private cemetery.
It is recognised as being the most important nonconformist burial ground in Britain, Sussanah Wesley, wife of Methodist preacher John Wesley is buried here.
- Other notable burials include Daniel Defoe, William Blake and John Bunyan
- The burial ground was closed in 1854, 123,000 people having been buried there.
- Another 6,000 are buried behind Wesley’s Chapel just across the road and to the west of Bunhill 20,000 Quakers are buried along with their founder George Fox.
To explore the burial ground use the map
To access a record of burials connect here
The Guildhall Library holds internment books 1789 – 1854 and a record of inscriptions of the monuments as they were in 1869