This public park was a graveyard for St. Mary’s Church, which is over the road, between 1823 and the 1860s. There are some older stones in the graveyard, but it appears that someone from the church decided to move them here over the road for reasons lost to history. There are 221 gravestones, but it’s thought that 6,089 people are buried here, an indication of just how few people could afford a nice headstone. The graveyard is also where they buried 295 of the town’s residents who died from cholera in 1832 and 1833.
The site was going to be turned into a hospital in the 1940s (an extension of the building opposite which is visible in the above map from the 1920s), but they then decided that it wasn’t big enough.
The land was left and it wasn’t until the 1970s that the council decided to tidy the site up. The gravestones have all been laid flat, which is preferable to turning them into a path, but I won’t start on that again.
Efforts have been made to ensure that visitors can find any gravestone that they want with this very useful plan of the site. Someone has put a lot of work into that and I think it’s very respectful.
And some more photos of the graves, in what is a nicely cared for park.