Bollington Parish Burial Registers
The registers record interments in the Churchyard of St John's Church, in which there is also a Columbarium for the interment of cremated remains ("ashes"). There were no burials in the parish before 1835 (the year St John's Church was consecrated). (Our registers do NOT include records of burials in the Roman Catholic burial ground at Chapel Street, Bollington.)
Until recent years, the precise location of a burial was NOT usually specified in the registers. If there is no memorial associated with the burial it MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE to determine the relevant burial plot.
The registers do not indicate how many burials there have been in any specific burial plot.
Interments of ashes were not always recorded in the burial registers.
The presence of a person's name on an inscription on a gravestone does not necessarily indicate that the person was buried in that grave. Nor does the absence of a name indicate that the person was not buried there.
Some gravestones have been moved from their original positions.
There are a number of mistakes on inscriptions.
Only about half of the burial plots have memorials associated with them.
How to search the archives
Select Name Search. This will allow you to search for a surname and show you what records there are for that surname. You can then select a record to see more detail. This search will find details that are in the burial registers AND/OR inscribed on a memorial.
If there is a burial plot number given in the details, select Churchyard Plan to find the location of the burial plot. (You may find it helpful to make a note of the plot numbers at the head and foot of the plot. You can then select Browse Grave Memorials to see what incriptions may be on nearby memorials. This may help finding the plot when you visit the churchyard.)
You can also select Search by Burial Plot Numberto find names associated with an individual burial plot. Please be aware that there a significant number of burial plots about which we have no information. This does NOT mean that they contain no interments!
Burial plot numbers are given in good faith, based on available information. The parish CANNOT guarantee that the information is correct.
If there is a Columbarium Zone reference given in the details, select Columbarium to find the approximate location of the relevant memorial.
The original registers up to 2004 are deposited at Chester Records Office, and are NOT held by the parish. The transcriptions on this website are the most complete set available online. There is a gap in the records between 27 August 2004 and 3 April 2007; the register for this period is missing. The records are currently kept up to date (but very recent details may not yet be included).
There were no burials at St John's before 1835, and only 17 took place before 1837. Many local people would have been buried at St Peter's Prestbury before this date. Other possible burial locations in the local area include St Christopher Pott Shrigley and Holy Trinity Rainow.
The burial registers will normally provide a person's name, abode, date of burial and age at death. The abode may not be very specific (eg Bollington). The date of death is NOT usually given. Location of death may be specified, but not normally any details about next of kin. In most cases the burial register does NOT provide a precise indication of whereabouts in the churchyard the deceased was buried.
In a significant number of cases, interments of cremated remains (ashes) have NOT been recorded in the burial registers.
Unless indicated otherwise in the burial register, it can be assumed that if a person is named in the burial register their remains are interred somewhere in the churchyard or columbarium. If a person's name does not appear in the burial register, it is almost certain that they did not have a "full burial", but it is possible that their cremated remains were interred somewhere in the churchyard or columbarium.
There are evidently some mistakes in the original registers (including some missing details and one page of entries repeated with slightly different details) and there are examples of differences between the burial registers and details from other sources. Where register details are suspect, notes have been added to the transcription. There may, of course, be other mistakes that have not been noticed.
Where possible, the search results will include the relevant memorial inscription along with the burial register details.
IMPORTANT NOTE: the parish records do NOT indicate how many people have been buried in any particular grave, nor how much room may be available for further interments. The parish CANNOT advise whether additional interments are possible in any particular burial plot; it is necessary to consult a funeral director who can arrange the required investigations.
The churchyard was closed in 2004, meaning that no more new graves can be dug, but burials can still be made in an existing family grave if there is sufficient space left in the plot.
There are approximately 2,000 burial plots in the churchyard and over 7,000 burials (including interment of ashes). About half the burial plots have memorials (often called gravestones). It is important to understand that the inscription on a gravestone does not necessarily represent a list of names of people buried in that particular grave. It is reasonable to suppose that at least one of the named persons is buried there, but:
- a person may be named on the memorial, but buried elsewhere (or have no known grave)
- a person may be named on more than one gravestone
- a person may be buried in the grave, but not be named on the gravestone
- the first person listed on a memorial is not necessarily the first person buried in the grave
Examples of all these cases can be found at St John's churchyard.
Memorial inscriptions can provide useful information about dates of death (and sometimes dates of birth) as well as details of other family members. But, be warned, there are some mistakes on some inscriptions!
The memorial inscriptions were surveyed in 1985-86 by the "Macclesfield Ferrets" and again in 2011-2012. Mistakes found in the original survey have been corrected. Some inscriptions recorded in the earlier survey are now no longer visible or accessible; in such cases the earlier survey results have been used.
Some memorials from the original section of the churchyard were relocated in 2011 to allow the future construction of a car park. The graves themselves were not disturbed.
The columbarium at St John's was opened in 1958 for the interment of cremated remains, also known as ashes. Cremation had been a legal option for several decades by then, but it was not until the 1950's that cremation started to become more common, although full burial was still the norm at that time. Before the opening of the columbarium, ashes could only be interred at St John's in burial plots. The earliest interment of ashes recorded in St John's burial registers is in 1937; there are only five other such interments recorded prior to 1953.
The memorial inscriptions in the columbarium do not normally give more than the person's name and birth/death years. Many are double stone for a couple to be commemorated together. A number of double stones only have one person's details inscribed, with a blank space left for a future inscription.
In most (but not all) cases, the person named on a memorial in the columbarium has had their ashes buried in the columbarium.