Church picture

St Oswald's

The parish church of Bollington

Bollington Road, Bollington Cross, SK10 5EG
01625 422849

St John's Churchyard


Although St John's Church building was closed 15 years ago and later sold in 2010 to a private developer, the churchyard has remained the responsibility of the Bollington Parochial Church Council (PCC) based at St Oswald’s, our Parish Church, at Bollington Cross.

The churchyard is now closed to new burials, except where there is space in existing family graves. However, a legal complication has delayed the legal closure of some parts of the churchyard. This means that we have not been able to transfer responsibility and costs for maintenance of the churchyard automatically to the local council. An informal request was therefore made to Cheshire East in 2016 to take on this responsibility but this was turned down. Due to a lack of sufficient local volunteers able or willing to carry out maintenance of the churchyard on a regular basis, we first engaged the help of the Community Payback Team over five years ago now. Following discussions with Bollington Town Council, arrangements have now been made for the Community Payback Team to cut the grass regularly through the growing season. This was carried out successfully during last year and, at the time of writing, the grass is short, allowing access to all graves. Ours is a very large graveyard so several visits are required to complete the whole area. We hope this arrangement will continue this year.

The church’s obligation for maintenance extends to the safety of the churchyard and its memorials, in order to comply with Chester Diocesan Churchyard Regulations (which can be found on the Diocesan website). Regular and fully documented safety inspections will be carried out at intervals, to identify:
- Risks from trees, in order to carry out safety work where necessary (in line with any Tree Preservation Order)
- Dangerous headstones and monuments
- Any breaches of Chester Diocesan Churchyard Regulations.

Potentially unsafe graves were identified in an inspection carried out in November 2017, using this Churchyard Plan. In all, 75 graves have been noted, 30 of which we consider may need attention. Overextended graves which contravene the Churchyard Regulations, open graves and any that could be a tripping hazard have also been noted, as well as graves undermined by saplings that may cause damage and/or instability.

Any laying down of dangerous headstones has to be done with the agreement of the family who own the monument or otherwise by approval of the Diocese, via a Faculty application. The laying down will be carried out by a suitably qualified person.


The original 1835 churchyard comprised sections A, B, C and D. In 1896-7, the former vicarage was demolished and the vicarage land and gardens were consecrated to create Area E. In 1932 the first section of Area F was consecrated for burials. This was extended in 1938 and again in 1946. There were still some WW2 air raid shelters at the west end of section F in the early 1950s; these were cleared to permit full use of Area F. It was decided in 2001 that no new graves would be dug anywhere in the churchyard because of the state of the remaining small area of available land. However, burials can still take place in existing family graves if there is sufficient space available. Burial of cremated remains ("ashes") can be arranged in the Columbarium, which has recently been extended to provide space for the foreseeable future. It is also usually possible to inter cremated remains in an existing family grave.

The Columbarium occupies most of Area C.

In 2001, a number of memorials from Areas A and B were re-located to the north side of Area F in order to allow for the future construction of a car parking area. The graves themselves were not disturbed.

The detailed plans of the churchyard show a numbering system for the burial plots. This numbering system was created in the 20th century as a means of locating memorials and burial plots and DOES NOT relate to the order in which graves were dug.

Schematic plan of the churchyard

Church Street runs North-South to the East of the church-yard entrance (right hand side of the plan).

How to find a burial plot or memorial

If you know the burial plot number, select the appropriate detail plan from the panel below. If you do not know the plot number, please use our Name Search facility, which includes details from all the burial registers and all the legible memorials (including some that are no longer legible!)

Please note that until recent times, the burial registers usually did NOT indicate the precise location of an individual burial, only that the burial took place in the churchyard. If there is no memorial, it may not be possible to locate the burial plot.

Although the location plans have been drawn as regular grid patterns, boundaries of the churchyard are not rectangular and the presence of trees, paths and underground obstructions mean that burial plots are not necessarily aligned exactly as shown.

Detail plans of the sections

showing the plot numbers in each section click on the section reference to see more detail.

Although drawn as a regular grid pattern, boundaries of the churchyard are not rectangular and the presence of trees, paths and underground obstructions mean that burial plots are not necessarily aligned exactly as shown.

Original Churchyard (first used 1835)

Where plot numbers are highlighted in yellow, memorials from these plots have been relocated to the north west of section F (apart from the memorial from plot 122, which has been relocated to near the entrance gate.


Houses on Vine Street back onto the northern boundary of Section A. The old church school used to be here. There was a path from the church to the school yard along the western side of Section A.


The Bier House and toolshed no longer exist. The area of banked earth to the north of this section was presumably formed from soil removed during the digging of graves.

The boundary wall at the western edge of Section B has been removed but the former boundary is marked by vegetation.

The grid numbering allocated some numbers to areas which were preserved as pathways, even though no graves may have been dug in these locations.

Part of Section D is shown in pink at the south west edge to aid with alignment of sections.

Sections C and D contains Plots 710-1050

The Columbarium takes up most of Section C

plan plan

The end of Section D is shown in pink at the left edge of the Section C plan to aid alignment.

There is a wall between the old churchyard and Section E. Section D extends as far east as the gap in this wall where the path leads to Section E.

There is a row of small memorial stones alongside the wall where some cremated remains have been interred (shown yellow on the plan - for details see Columbarium Row K).

Plot 712 is the grave of Revd George Palmer, first vicar of Bollington. He was at Bollington from 1839 to 1852, and became vicar when Bollington became a parish in its own right in 1842. Memorials that were formerly inside the church have been incorporated into the new Columbarium wall alongside his grave.

Plot 750, next to the pathway that led to the old vicarage, is the grave of Revd Frederick Richardson, the longest serving vicar of the parish (1856-1896). After his death, the old vicarage was demolished (the materials were re-cycled as far as possible in the construction of the new vicarage) and the former vicarage site was consecrated for burials (it is now Section E of the churchyard).

Original Vicarage Site (first used 1897)


The Southern extension first opened in 1897, originally the site of the old vicarage and its garden. There are a number of changes of level in this part of the burial ground, especially where the former building stood.

TAKE CARE when visiting graves in this area!

In the 1930's (before the opening of the Section F extension) graves were dug in the less accessible south-west part of the Section. Again in the 1950's (before the last part of Section F was available) graves had to be dug in the extreme south of the section.

The layout of plots is particularly irregular in this section of the churchyard in view of its shape, contours and previous use. The grid plan provides an approximate guide, but it is advisable to check a plot location with reference to inscriptions on nearby memorials.

This Section contains a large number of burial plots and is shown in two parts. The first row of plot numbers is on the eastern edge (along Church Street). The two section plans have an overlap of one row to permit alignment.

Western Extension (first used 1932)


The Western extension was opened in phases from 1932 onwards as additional areas of land became available.

The grid numbering allocated some numbers to areas which were preserved as pathways, even though no graves may have been dug in these locations. In addition, three burial plots were interpolated after the numbering system was established - these are marked with outlines on the plan. In the database they have been allocated numbers ending in .5 (eg 1714.5 is next to 1715 - although this detail is not shown on the plan).

Note that the numbering system changes direction in the final (extreme west) row.

As there are a relatively high number of memorials in this newer part of the burial ground, the listing of memorial inscriptions has been divided into three parts (but these lists all relate to a single plan as shown).

Note that in the 1950's, before the 1942 extension was fully available, some new graves were dug in Section E.


Access to our archives is provided free of charge by the parish. If it has been helpful in your family research, please consider making a donation to aid parish funds. Thank you.



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Last modified: 07 October 2020