I was down at Lewes, East Sussex again today. Apart from a brief visit to the East Sussex Record Office I also wanted to visit Lewes Cemetery. I knew there had to be relations buried there, and wanted to get a feel for what the place was like and what would be involved in trying to locate them.
I had taken a peek at an aerial view of the cemetery on Google Maps and knew it was big, but I hadn’t quite appreciated how big it was until I actually got there.
It was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to check every gravestone in the time I had, so I just wandered around the cemetery scanning as many headstones as I could trying to pick out any family names. Obviously this wasn’t going to be very successful, but I did come up with a few GEERING gravestones including that of William and Emily GEERING, my 2x great grandparents.
There were three things that really stood out for me about Lewes Cemetery, that made me fall in love with the place straight away. Firstly was the position, it is on a south facing slope (they should be growing grapes there) with fantastic views across to the South Downs to the east and west.
Secondly, there was the condition of the cemetery. It was immaculate, all credit to the Lewes District Council and their contractors, there was hardly a blade of grass out of place. I was expecting to find some areas overgrown and abandoned to nature, but no it was all well trimmed and very neat and tidy, so no scrambling through the undergrowth needed.
Thirdly, and this made me smile because it was totally unexpected. They have their own public toilets. In my limited experience of cemeteries I have never come across one with a toilet, admittedly most of my ancestors were buried in small rural cemeteries or churchyards so my experience of large town cemeteries is very limited. It was a shame I didn’t need to use the facilities at the time!