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It is believed that the Remembrance Garden was once the “little orchard” of Staveley Hall, which was owned by the Lords of the Manor of Staveley. Ownership transferred to the Parish Church when the Duke of Devonshire gave the land for use as an extension to the churchyard as a burial ground. The land was consecrated on 31st July 1851.

Church with graves

By the 1870’s,  the population had grown with the expansion of  local industries and the two Church graveyards no longer had enough space to meet the demands of the large Parish. Concerns about public health led to the opening of a new cemetery on Inkersall Road in 1884. It was reported at a Staveley Parish Council meeting, in 1910, that the old churchyard had never actually been closed, and there “had been isolated burials in it ever since any of them could remember. Wherever they could put anyone, they had done so.”

The old churchyards were finally closed to further burials in 1910  by Order in Council [1] and “certain rights granted to owners of vaults.” [2].

As closed churchyards, responsibility for their maintenance was transferred to the Parish Council under the 1906 Open Spaces Act, although the Church remained the owner of the consecrated land. By early 1920, when it was proposed as the site of the war memorial, it was considered that “the old cemetery, no matter how sacred it might be, was an eyesore to Staveley.” The cemetery had been an “old common burial ground for Staveley, and therefore no sectarian trouble could arise through placing the monument there…. provided the necessary legal sanction can be obtained.” [3]

The memorial itself was originally sited “just inside the old cemetery. It is a commanding position.” [4] The Parish Council arranged for gates to be inserted in the wall, close to the memorial, and for trees and plants to be tidied.[5]

Memorial with graves

Towards the end of the 1920’s, Derbyshire County Council proposed a scheme to widen the road through Staveley. Faculty (Church) permission was finally granted in April 1930 following a Consistory Court hearing. The County Council paid the church £250 to purchase two strips of land and were given permission to remove the headstones, exhume bodies and re-inter human remains.

Record Office Garden Documents 019

One of the conditions of the Faculty was that the County Council should insert stone plaques into the walls of both churchyards.



A stone plaque built into the wall on Church Street states that “this churchyard extends to a line which lies about 42 feet to the southeast from the foot of this wall.”



A similar plaque on the wall of the Remembrance Garden states that “this churchyard extends to a line which lies about 28 feet to the north from the foot of this wall.”



The second petition, as part of the Faculty, granted permission for the Rector and Parish Council to “beautify” the old cemetery as a Garden of Peace, or Remembrance, This included moving the War Memorial to a central position, removing tombstones and levelling grave mounds. It was a condition that the tombstones be recorded and preserved.

Burials in Staveley churchyard

Burials in the Garden of Remembrance (previously churchyard)

An architect was employed to draw up a plan and the Gardens were landscaped during the early 1930’s.

1930S Staveley Memorial

The tombstones and memorials were removed to the rear of the garden.

Remembrance Gardens 036

Paths were laid and seats added, as well as flower plots and trees.

1931 Gardens

 Despite protests from Staveley Urban District Council, the railings were removed in 1942 in support of the war effort.

1920s Staveley Memorial

In the 1960s, an electric cable was laid to light the War Memorial and a public drinking fountain was added.

[1] London Gazette 22nd July 1910 and Faculty documents
[2] Derbyshire Courier: 6th March 1920
[3] Ibid
[4] Derbyshire Courier: 20th November 1920
[5] Cemetery Committee Minutes 12th October 1920

Photographs: Courtesy of Staveley History Society
Research: Ann Lucas and Sandra Struggles