n 1841 the vicar of St. John's church in Newcastle opened a new church at his own expense, opposite Westgate Hill Cemetery. He believed this two storey building with seating for 700 would become the parish church  of the proposed new district of St. Paul's. The vicar the Reverend William Wright was the brother-in-law of Richard Grainger). It was an expensive gamble as Wright found he could not sell the new church on to the Church Commissioners as planned so, he was forced to sell it at auction. The Independents (later Congregationalists) met the reserve price of 1,600 and the chapel opened for worship in 1855. Some tokens of Anglican worship were retained within the church but an external cross was chopped off and buried somewhere in the churchyard. (A new parish church St. Paul's by Benjamin Green was built in nearby Havelock St. in 1854.
This burial ground is often described as the plague cemetery (in fact as I was doing a survey and taking photographs of the area a local offered this information and as a lad he said often played in the derelict building). this wasn't the towns only burial ground for the 1,533known victims of the 1853 outbreak. At this time it was a normal parish churchyard and as such took its share of the towns deaths (approx 340) all within a period of about four weeks. Some years after the closure of urban churchyards in 1854, over 2200 had taken place here but then the graveyard was converted into a recreation area known as Dotchin Garden of Rest. (
SEE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW) John Anderson Dotchin, a Newcastle ironmonger had long been associated with St Paul's Congregational Church.In 1931 the chapel became a recreation centre for the unemployed. Then in 1934 it became the Gem cinema. In 1967 the building was demolished and the site is now a car park. (see aerial map here) Photo left. The church from Tindal St. 

Photographs of the Burial Ground
 
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      Who is Buried here

Robert Roxby  
Famous in collaboration with Thomas Doubleday (poet, politician & merchant) for fishing songs. Roxby was the elder. Born Needless Hall and became a clerk with Sir W. Loraine and with Sir M.W. Ridley at banks in Newcastle. Died July 30 1846 age 79.  In 'The Fisher's Garland' (signed by R.R. ) Roxby is responsible for the manuscript and Doubleday the lyric

Inscriptions that are legible

Sacred to the Memory of Isabella wife of William Jackson who departed this life September 10th 1853 aged 78 years and of the above named William Jackson who died 6th June 1854 aged 72 years His remains are interred in the Westgate Hill Cemetery

Sacred to the Memory of George Jefferys who died August 11th 1852 aged 56 years

Sacred to the Memory of William Temple who died 27th January 1819 aged 74 years

Sacred to the Memory of William Hopkins Scot Slate Merchant of this Town who died 30th October 185? aged ?? years
(This headstone is of grey slate)

In memory of Anne wife of Christopher Heslop who died Aug 30 1849 aged 30 years

The Burial Place of Thomas and Elizabeth Armstrong William their son died in infancy Mary Ann their daughter died March 13 1851 aged 9 years Elizabeth Ann their daughter died July 3 1851 aged 2 months Robert their son died April 13 1852 aged 3 years

Sacred to the Memory of John Bell Wine &Spirit Merchant of this Town who departed this life January 3rd 1846 aged 50 years

 

More Photographs of the Burial Ground
 
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