150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows 18 Sept 1857- Worcester New Cemetery (Transcript Page 10/11)

  • 26 Jan 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
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"The works at the new cemetery are now nearly completed; the consecration of the Episcopalian portion will shortly take place. We have previously briefly noticed them as they progressed, but are now enabled to give more detailed description"

The designs for the various buildings and the laying out of the grounds were, it will be remembered, furnished by public competition.  About fifty architects sent in designs for the former, and those prepared by MR.R. Clarke, architect , Nottingham, were adopted. Mr. Fuller-Coker of Ware, Herts, was the successful competitor, amongst eight, for the laying out of the grounds. The chapels face the road leading from Worcester, the entire length of the pile of building being 140 feet. The Episcopalian and Dissenters chapels are separated by cloisters and a centre tower, the interior area of which is 13 feet square; the cloisters on either are 27 feet long and 11 feet by 8 feet. A vestry 9 feet by 7 feet is attached to the Episcopal chapel, approached from the chancel. Open side porches are attached to both the chapels. The style adopted may be considered geometric middle pointed, or decorated, dating from 1270 to 1330.    

The principal feature is the tower and spire, the height of which to top of the vane is 130 feet, What adds considerably on either side to the extent of three bays, introducing buttresses forming them. This keeps the central mass of the tower and spire well away from the gables of the chapels, producing a good sky line and enabling the proportions of the spire and tower, to be well seen, before the eye wanders to the tower springs from four massive angular columns, and at the intersection of the moulded ribs carved bosses of foliage are introduced.  It is above this groining that the fine toned bell is placed.

Externally, the tower has four massive angular buttresses; these materially add to the stability of the structure, and add to the pleasing aspect of the tower. Above the open archway, in fact on all four sides, an arcade is introduced, consisting of moulded caps, bases and arches.                       The square portion of the tower, has on either side a two-light traceried window, filled with slate louvers; and at its termination a massive moulded cornice, filled with ball flowers, is introduced. The tower is surmounted by a broach and grotesque animals the beads at the angle of the spire. The whole terminates with a beautiful gilded vane.

The two four-light windows in the gables of the chapels indeed the whole of the windows throughout are filled with geometrical tracery; the jambs of all the doorways have columns with moulded caps and bases, the caps being filled with foliage. All the openings to the windows and doors are protected with moulded corbels, and gablets, at the springing of the gables, and moulded apex stones; the four gables to the chapels being surmounted with foliated crosses. A  moulded cornice with the ball flower introduced extends entirely round the whole of the building. The interior has a massive open timbered roof, resting upon stone moulded corbels; the seats are open, with trefoiled stall ends. The Dissenters chapel has a beautiful wooden screen, with moulded and carved caps and bases, and carved cornice. The whole of the woodwork is stained and varnished, and the floors throughout are paved with Maw and Co's geometrical mosaic tiles.

The most imposing, eleborate and novel feature in the whole of the works are the entrance gates. The road is recessed back by a circular dwarf wall, commencing from two massive stone piers, filled with traceried panelling, the distance between these piers being 65 feet. There is one large central gateway, 12 feet wide, and a small hand gate on either side, 4ft 6 in wide. The gates thenselves are beautiful specimans of medeval ironwork cast by  Messr's Hardy and Padmore of  Worcester. The three gatesways are fitted in between massive archways, with most elaborate and deeply cut mouldings, stopping upon clustered columns, with moulded caps and bases, the caps being filled with beautiful sculptured foliage. On either side of the central archway, two shields are placed. containing respectively the arms of Mr Laslett, M.P, and of the City of Worcester. Above the central archway a bronzed tablet is placed, containing a suitable inscription, in gilt old English letters, of the munificent gift  the land by Mr.Laslett. This tablet is surrounded with beautiful moulded stoneware, with caps, bases, ball flowers, bosses and carved foliage. The whole of the gateway and dwarf wall, is surmounted with massive stone coping, a small gable with fleur de lis apex, surmounts the whole. From the ground line to the fleur de lis apex is 37 feet.

On either side of this gateway the carriage drive passes between two lodges on the left hand is the superintendent's and the right is the sexton's. The superintendents is a two storey building, with a very picturesque outline, having two handsome stone bay windows, with rich mouldings, tracery, with ball flowers. The character of the lodge well harmonizes with that of the chapels, and for it's size it is a most effective building, the sexton's lodge is a one story building, of less imposing appearance, but it has a similar characteristic.

The front boundary wall is composed partly of stone, and partly of medieval ironwork, of a uniform height throughout its entire length. The whole of the works throughout are built with blue lias stone, and Bath stone dressings.

The whole area of the site is about 20 acres - 5 acres near to the brook side of the site, are for the present divided from the cemetery by light iron hurdles. The portion is not intended to be used for the purposes of interment. There is to an entrance to it through the gateway, and piers similar in character to those described for the main gateway. The brook side and extreme end of the grounds has a boundary wall, built with blue lias stone, covered with strong Pennant stone coping, the whole length of this long wall is one even line without a break or vamp in its entire length. It is intended to plant on the opposite side an holly fence protected for the present by larch paling.

A carriage-road 20 feet wide of a serpentine form, divides the one acre devoted to Roman Catholics from the portions appropriated to the church and dissent. Smaller paths 8 feet wide, terminating at large circular paths intersect the various allotments. A path 8 feet wide, 18 feet from the boundary, extends entirely round the site.

The energetic and untiring clerk of the works, to whose assiduity and attention great merit is due, was Mr. Lucy of this city; the head contractor, Messrs, Hardy and Padmore, of this city; contractor for planting the grounds, Mr. T.Bouker, Scarborough. The manner in which the entire works have been carried out is highly commendable; and reflects equal credit on those engaged as the entire cemetery does to the pubic spirit of the Board of Health of this "Faithful City" of which it forms so distinguished an ornament.