Who we are
The Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery were founded in November 2006 following an initiative by Tunbridge Wells Soroptimist Club to conserve this historic town cemetery. A number of other organisations and individuals joined forces to form the group.
Our aims are:
- to further the protection, conservation and sympathetic enhancement of Woodbury Park Cemetery for public benefit and enjoyment.
- to record and to foster its heritage of monuments and its ecological importance; and
- to foster its appropriate use as an educational resource for the community.
Brief History of Woodbury Park Cemetery
The lack of a cemetery in Tunbridge Wells was of major concern in 1824, when a meeting of townsfolk was held to consider the building of Trinity Church (now Trinity Theatre,Church Road).
Until Trinity Church opened in 1829, most burials of Tunbridge Wells inhabitants had to take place some miles away at Tonbridge, Speldhurst or Frant.
However, within twenty years Trinity Churchyard was itself full and in 1849, Trinity Cemetery (now called Woodbury Park Cemetery) was laid out on what was then the edge of the town. The subscription list of £1200 included £100 each from John Ward and John Deacon, £30 from Lord Abergavenny, and £10 from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
By the 1870's the three acres of the cemetery were virtually full. Thereafter the only interments allowed were of relatives in existing graves. The last interment was in 1934, of Miss Maria Hake from Hanover who for many years was a teacher at Hamilton House School close by in Amherst Road.
The cemetery was listed by English Heritage in 2003 as an early example of a garden cemetery with an informal and imaginative layout of paths in picturesque style that had survived essentially intact. It had extensive C19 tree planting and variety of social and artistic historical interest expressed in a notable collection of monuments.