Rothley Cemetery and Chapel

At a Parish Council meeting held on May 15th 1895 Mr Staples moved "That the Chairman wait upon the guardians with reference to their sending so many of their dead to Rothley the churchyard being very full and it being expected that in a very short time a cemetery will have to be provided if interments are continued at the present rate."
(The guardians referred to the Board of Guardians of the Barrow on Soar Union Workhouse, which was situated in the Parish of Rothley.)

It did, however, take nine years from this date until the Cemetery was consecrated and the Chapel will be 100 years old in 2004. In July 1904 a notice was placed in the Rothley Post Office window stating that "the cemetery is complete and interments can now take place".
The aquisition of the land, raising of finance, objections and the building of the Chapel became a major project for the Rothley Parish Council 100 years ago and their efforts are recorded here with extracts from the Rothley Parish Council Minute Book 1895-1908.
I would like to dedicate this site to the members of the Rothley Parish Council who served the village between 1895 and 1904, they did a tremendous amount of work over the years and I am sure that they would be very pleased if they could see it now.

A view of the Cemetery and Chapel taken in June 2003 from the entrance on Mountsorrel Lane.


March 2002

The chapel from Mountsorrel Lane. March 2002

At a Parish Council meeting held on June 7th 1901 a letter was read:
June 3rd 1901
As Trustee of the estate of the late J.Wilkinson I am willing to sell to you for the purpose of a cemetery the field in Mountsorrel Lane marked 252 on the Ordnance Survey for £250 pounds per acre.
Yours faithfully
S N Wilkinson
The response from the Parish Council was "That an offer be made to Mr Wilkinson of £200 per acre for the field in question subject to the approval of the L.G.B.
(Note: The LGB is the Local Government Board much referred to later in this document.)
However, Mr Wilkinson was not happy with this offer and gave the following response:
June 17th 1901
In answer to your letter of last week offering me £200 per acre for the field in Mountsorrel Lane marked No 252 on the Ordnance Map for the purpose of a cemetery. I do not think you quite realize that my adjoining property will be seriously depreciated in value being adjacent to a cemetery. After full consideration I have decided to offer you the field at the price you name viz. £200 per acre on the condition that at the same time and at the same price part of the field at the back of field No. 252. The fence of No. 252 adjoining, my other field adjoining and also adjoining Mountsorrel Lane, to be carried on in a straight line to the far side of the other field as I described to your clerk Mr Staples. This will be an addition of about 2 acres more or less. I have also decided to offer you the field first named by itself at £225 per acre.
Yours faithfully
S N Wilkinson.
The Parish Council declined the offer of 4 acres at £200 per acre, decided to offer £200 per acre for field 252 and, if refused, they would advertise for suitable sites.
Within a week Mr Wilkinson accepted this offer and an agreement was to be drawn up for the purchase.
At a Parish Council meeting on the 5th July 1901 it was agreed to ask for trial holes to be dug at the site with compensation for any damage that may occur. An Architect and Surveyor would be appointed at the next meeting.
At a Parish Council meeting on 12th August 1901 Mr W Langley of Friar Lane, Leicester was appointed Architect and Surveyor.
At the same meeting a letter was read refusing to grant permission for the Council and a Medical Officer of Health to go on the land.

The above map was drawn up by Messrs Langley & Baines the Architects to show the location of the Cemetery and is dated 1904.

Some residents were not in favour of this proposed Burial Ground and a Petition was sent to the L.G.B.

On the 20th ultimo we addressed a letter to you requesting that you would postpone granting to the Parish Council Rothley for the making of a Burial Ground on the road leading from Rothley to Mountsorrel until we had an opportunity of placing before you our objections to the proposed site.
1st. As to sanitation.
The ground proposed by the Parish Council slopes towards the South and East which we think must of necessity be injurious to some houses situate between 100 and 200 yards below.
2nd. As to drainage.
We believe (in the absence of an expert) that the cost of drainage will be considerable to do it effectively as there is a quantity of surface water to be dealt with and to get a fall the drain must be taken for some distance through private property.
3rd. As to situation.
The proposed site of 2 1/4 acres is situate on the top of a hill leading to Mountsorrel and is considered one of the best sites for building of any in the parish in fact the working men of Rothley and Mountsorrel have and are still building houses for themselves along the road so that in a few years hence the two villages will join.
We think therefore in the interests of all concerned it would be advisable for an expert to be sent down to examine all details before a final decision is made.
4th. As to prices.
The size of the field proposed by the Parish Council is about 2 1/4 acres to cost over £200 per acre when a piece of land could be obtained situate on the Leicester Turnpike on which the Loughborough, Mountsorrel and Quorn also Belgrave and Birstall Cemeteries are situate size 4 acres or less at smaller cost per acre and better situate for drainage. This field belongs to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the benefit of St Leonards Church, Leicester.
Ethel G Tucker, 30 Henlease Avenue, Dardarn, Bristol.
Elizabeth Fowke, Rothley
Mary A Pagett, Rothley
George Moore, Rothley
Thos. Coltman, Rothley
William Holmes, Rothley
George Humphrey, Rothley
Martha Mosedale, Rothley
Henry Payne, Rothley
H.E.Moore, Rothley
John F Moore, Rothley
John Waugh, Rothley
Thos. Paget 32 Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham.

The L.G.B. requested information from the Parish Council and a letter was sent from the Parish Clerk in response.
I am instructed by the Rothley Parish Council to forward the following replies to the questions raised in the petition forwarded to you against the proposed new Burial Ground and to ask your consideration of true facts.
1st. Sanitation.
The proposed ground slopes to the East very little if any to the South there being only two houses situated 200 yds exactly South the other nearest houses to the South being more than a quarter of a mile away.
2nd. Drainage.
Should there be any quantity of surface water the ground sloping to the East the drainage would be carried several hundred yards to the east of the two houses mentioned and a good fall easily obtained to the brook.
3rd. Situation.
The proposed site is midway between Rothley and Mountsorrel being about a mile from Rothley and three quarters of a mile from Mountsorrel, there being eight houses only within 500 yards of the site, two to the South and six to the North so with nearly two miles of frontage to be built on it will be a long time before houses are erected in the vicinity, there being only five houses built within 500 yds. during the last forty or fifty years. The Mountsorrel men choose land near their own village and the Rothley men the same.
As to the expert coming down we shall be only too glad to place our views before him.
4th. As to price.
The price agreed to be paid is exactly £200 per acre for the field of 2.204 acres, bounded on the North and East by land remaining the property of Mr Wilkinson the Vendor, on the South by land owned by Mrs Percy Herrick and on the West by the Mountsorrel Lane, the Council not being opposed in any way by adjoining owners.
As regards the field of 4 acres suggested in the petition, the Council very carefully considered not only the cost which would be greatly increased by fencing etc but the position being very low and within flooding distance of the brook, in fact the flood water reaching the bottom of the field and in case of flood time funerals would have to go through the water twice to reach the suggested ground.
Yours faithfully
J Staples.
(The letter also stated the distances of the houses from the proposed site.)

The chapel in 2002

At a Parish Council meeting held on Jan 16th 1902 a letter was read:
20th December 1901
I am directed by the Local Government Board to advert to your letter of the 4th ult, with reference to the proposed burial ground for the Parish of Rothley and to state that the Board will defer the consideration of the application for approval of the site until the Parish Council have applied for consent to the necessary loan.
When the particulars indicated in the printed form of queries enclosed with the Boards letter of the 21st June last are supplied the Board should be furnished, if possible, with a map showing a) the boundaries of the civil and ecclesiastical parishes of Rothley as they existed on the 14th August 1878 and b) the position of the Parish Church and Churchyard of Rothley and Rothley Baptist Chapel and Churchyard referred to in the Order in Council of the above mentioned date.
Your Obedient Servant
Noel T Kershaw.

At a Parish Council meeting held on the 6th June 1902 it was reported "That the plans for the Proposed new Burial Ground were received from Mr Langley and approved by the Council."
At the same meeting it was also approved "That the consent of the Leicestershire County Council be applied for to a loan of £1500 for providing a new Burial Ground for Rothley."

At a Parish Council meeting held on June 13th 1902 it was attended by the Architect Mr Langley who explained the Plans and estimated cost of the proposed new cemetery.

At a Parish Council meeting held on August 22nd 1902 it was approved "That this Council apply for consent of the Local Government Board for a Loan of £1500 for the proposed new Burial Ground."
A response to this was read out at the Parish Meeting on 26th September 1902:
Local Government Board
18th September 1902
I am directed by the Local Government Board to advert to your letter of the 25th ultimo applying for your consent to the borrowing by the Parish Council of Rothley of the sum of £1500 for the provision of a Burial Ground and am to state that before deciding upon this application the Board will direct a Local Inquiry to be held on the subject by one of their inspectors. The inquiry will take place as soon as the other engagements of the inspectors will permit and due notice of it will be given.
I am to request that you will inform the Board within a week in the precise place in the Parish at which the Inquiry can be most conveniently held and that you will cause the Trial holes which have been dug to be kept open or if necessary re-opened for inspection on the occasion of the inquiry.
I am at the same time to return the enclosed plan and to request that the drainage arrangements of the chapel may be indicated thereon and the plan may be then retransmitted to the Board.
I am sir your Obedient Servant
Noel T Kershaw.

The meeting then approved that Mr A H Bennett be appointed as solicitor in the purchase of the Burial Ground.

The Inquiry was held in the Village Hall on Thursday Nov 13th 1902 at a quarter to eleven.
Following the Inquiry the Surveyor was instructed to get out the quantities necessary for drainage, manholes etc and contracts asked for. Tenders were requested to be delivered no later than 4pm on Friday January 30th 1903 and would be advertised in the Advertiser, Chronicle and Mercury, Monitor and Herald.

The loan of £1500 was granted on the following terms:
Township of Rothley
Dec 12th 1902
Consent to Loan
Whereas the Parish Council of Rothley in the County of Leicester, have, under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1894, made appliaction to the Local Government Board for their consent to the borrowing by the said Parish Council of the sum of One Thousand five hundred pounds for the provision of a Burial Ground.
And whereas the County Council have consented to the borrowing by the said Parish Council of the said sum of One Thousand five hundred pounds for the purposes aforesaid.
And whereas there are no balances of our standing loans contracted by the said Parish Council or by an Authority whose powers, duties and liabilities have been transferred to the said Parish Council, and such last mentioned sum does not exceed in the whole one half of the assessable value for one year of the premises assessable within the said Township.
Now Therefore We, the Local Government Board do hereby consent to the borrowing at interest by the said Parish Council of the sum of One Thousand five hundred pounds for the sum aforesaid such sum to be borrowed on the security of the poor rate and of the whole or part of the revenues of the said Parish Council and to be repaid with such interest within a period not exceeding thirty seven years from the date of the borrowing thereof.
Given under the Seal of Office of the LGB Dec 12th 1902
Noel T Kershaw
Ass. Secretary

The chapel in 2002

At a Parish Council meeting held on the 30th January 1903 the following Tenders for the work to the Burial Ground were opened:
Mr J T Ball £657.6.0
F Sleath £457.0.0
W Hanson & Co £715.0.0
Needham Bros £466.0.0
Bradshaw Bros £735.0.0
W Warner? £1300.0.0
J Williams £354.0.0
H Mason £655.14.6
The Parish Council approved the tender of Mr Williams. However, at a Parish Council meeting held on Feb 13th 1903 a letter was read from Mr Langley stating that Mr Williams refused to do the work on the Burial Ground for his tender of £354.0.0 and offered to amend his tender to £525.0.0.
It was agreed that the work be tendered for again.

At a Parish Council meeting held on Feb 27th 1903 the tenders were opened as before and these were:
Mr H Mason £562.13.10
A Green £479.8.11
J Hutchinson and Son £796.0.0
J T Ball £657.0.0
W Hanson £715.0.0
F Sleath £475.0.0
J Holme £590.0.0
Bradshaw Bros £658.12.0
It was moved that the tender of Mr F Sleath be accepted. The contract was signed on the 27th March 1903

Main entrance. January 2004

Inside the porch is a Register of Burial Fees. With thanks to Frank Whitby for its restoration. August 2012

The loan of £1500 had been granted, the tender had been accepted and the work could commence on the Burial Ground. The Tenders for building the Cemetery Chapel were opened at a Parish Council meeting held on 30th April 1903. These were as follows:-
Mr F Sleath £550.0.0
W.F.Harding £625.0.0
W.Hanson £564.0.0
Messrs. Bowles & Son £638.10.0
Elliot £604.18.0
Messrs Bradshaw Bros. £545.0.0

The Parish Council approved "That Mr F Sleath's Tender of £550.0.0 be accepted."
The contract for erecting the Cemetery Chapel was signed on June 26th 1903.

Front of chapel. October 2003

At a Parish Council meeting held on the 22nd May 1903 the council examined the design for a new Bier and it was approved "That a Bier as the design for the sum of £32 be ordered from Mr T Palmer, Wheelwright, Rothley."
However, at a Parish Council meeting held on Dec 22nd 1903 the account for the new Bier was presented exceeding the estimate by £8. It was proposed to pay the account and that Mr Palmer be given 7 days to deliver the Bier according to his estimate.
At a Parish Council meeting held on Jan 21st 1904 it was proposed "That the clerk purchase a Holland cover for the Bier."
At a later meeting it was agreed that Parishioners would have free use of the Bier.

Side entrance to the chapel. August 2002

Looking to the rear of the chapel from the far end of the cemetery. 2000

At a Parish Council meeting held on July 3rd 1903 the following letter was read:
6 Market Street
July 1st 1903
Dear Sir
We have now heard from Mr Wilkinson's Solicitors that they will be in readiness to complete this purchase on Friday next 3rd Inst. We set out below a statement of the Purchase money payable on completion and shall feel obliged if you will kindly send us a cheque payable to ourselves for this amount.
The hedge and ditch between Mr Wilkinson's land and Mr Herrick's is included in the purchase in accordance with your letter of 25th April last, but no payment is being made in respect of timber.
We shall be glad to receive a cheque to enable us to complete in course of Friday.
Yours etc
Bennett & Ironside
Purchase money being 2 acres 1 rood 12 perches at 200 per acre £465.16.8.
Interest 25th March 1902 to 3rd July 1903
One year and 100 days at 5% £29.13.4
Less Tax £1. 14.0

The purchase of the land was completed on the 4th July 1903 and the Deeds of the Burial Ground deposited at Parrs Bank.

At a Parish Council meeting held on the 19th Nov 1903 it was approved "That a Table of Fees as produced be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval."
At the same meeting it as further approved "That application be made to the Secretary of State to approve half of the Burial Ground for consecrated purposes."
It was also agreed to get estimates for chestnut trees, ivy and privet for planting on the cemetery and estimates for Chapel seats from the Midland Educational Co.
Later, an order was put in to Messrs. Warner, Wright & Merryweather for 22 White Chestnut, 22 Red Chestnut, 12 pots of Ivy and 450 Privet. An estimate for 3 doz Evergreen Trees of 3 varieties was to be obtained.

Wall of Remembrance in August 2002

At a Parish Council meeting held on Dec 10th 1903 it was proposed "That a caretaker be appointed for the cemetery at a salary of £6 per annum, one months notice on either sides to be given. Duties as follows:
Dig all graves as per scale & attend all funerals. Keep the Chapel and Bier clean. Keep all walks and paths clear of weeds, cut and clip margins of paths & centre piece when required & clip all fences & keep the cemetery in good order generally.

A notice was placed in the Post Office window to advertise for applicants and on the 25th April 1904 the job of caretaker and Sexton was given to Mr A Laughton at the salary of £6 per annum.

A small committee was empowered to purchase 3 dozen chairs, 1 Reading desk and 1 Table for the Chapel.
At a Parish Council meeting held on the 12th Feb 1904 a letter was read from the Secretary of State giving preliminary approval to the Table of Fees. Another letter was read confirming approval of the Consecration of the Southern portion of the Rothley Cemetery comprising grave spaces 295 in Section A, 417 in Section B, 488 in Section C according to the plan.
The Bishop of the Diocese was asked to Consecrate the Southern portion of the Burial Ground
according to the rights of the Church of England

August 2002

The Table of Fees was approved by the LGB in their letter to the Parish Council:
Whitehall Feb 6th 1904
With reference to your letter of the 18th ultimo I am directed by the Secretary of State to signify hereby his approval of the accompanying Table of Fees.
The Parish Council do not seem empowered to use a common seal. See section 3 (9) of the Local Gov Act 1894.
The seals may be of any kind the Chairman and members may find it convenient to use. Wafer seals will suffice but there must be a separate seal for each signature.
The Board request therefore that the signatories to the Table may now affix their seals thereto at a meeting of the Council the date of the meeting being inserted in the attestation.
When this has been done the Table should again be sent to the Board for approval.
I am Sir
Your Obedient Servant
H Monro
Asst Sec.

At the same meeting it was agreed
"That the Table of Fees be signed and sealed by the Chairman, Messrs Boyer & Haynes."

At an Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held on April 22nd 1904 a letter was read from the LGB requesting the sum of £5-9-7 being the costs of the inquiry held on Nov 13th 1902 for the Loan for the Burial Ground.
At the same meeting the Table of Fees & Payments fixed and settled under Section 34 of the Burial Act 1852 was received from the LGB sealed and approved by them. (The Table of Fees is shown separately.)
The Foregoing Fees and Payments will be doubled in the case of persons not being Parishioners or Inhabitants of the Parish of Rothley.
The Sections of the Cemetery referred to as Sections A.B.& C. respectively correspond with the Sections as marked on the plan deposited at the residence of the Clerk to the Parish Council.
Adopted at a meeting of the Rothley Parish Council held on April 7th 1904.
H Staples, Chairman
H Boyer, member
A F Haynes, Member.
This letter held the seal of the LGB.

At the same meeting it was agreed
"That 50 Tables of Fees on good paper be printed & 150 on common paper."

At a Parish Council meeting held on July 21st 1904 it was agreed:

At a Parish Council meeting held on Aug 18th 1904 it was agreed
"That the clerk James Staples be appointed Clerk to the Burial Authority & Register of Burials at a salary of £4.0.0 per annum."
At the same meeting it was agreed
"That a committee consisting of the whole Council visit the Cemetery on Monday August 17th at 6.30 with power to give instructions to the Clerk to write to the caretaker about keeping the cemetery in better order if necessary."
At the same meeting the Council was considering if the Architects' a/cs were excessive. These were eventually reduced by 14/-.

At the meeting held on Aug 18th 1904 the first exclusive Rights of Burial were granted to Mr Samuel Snow, Mr Frank Preston & Mrs Katie Brooks.

At a Parish Council meeting held on Jan 19th 1905 a letter was read from the sexton A Laughton asking for an increase of salary from £6 to £9 per annum.
It was agreed
"That A Laughton receive the sum of £9 per annum on condition that he puts in one full day per week on the cemetery & acts under the instructions of the clerk for keeping the cemetery in order."

At a Parish Council meeting held on May 18th 1905 a letter was read from the LGB with reference to the closing of the Church and Chapelyards.
At the same meeting it was agreed
"That Mr Whitwell and the clerk sell the grass on the Burial Ground."
It was further agreed
"That the Council aquire a roller for the Burial Ground and the purchase be left to Mr Whitwell."
(The roller was ordered from a Mr R Osmond and the cost was £2.9.6.)
At a Parish Council meeting held on Oct 19th 1905 it was agreed
"That 1 load of Charcoal and some coke be purchased for the filter on the cemetery."
At a Parish Council meeting held on Feb 16th 1906 it was agreed
"That a committee consisting of the Chairman and Mr Sleath be appointed to investigate the question of providing a stove suitable for the Cemetery Chapel and to report to a future meeting." It was later suggested buying a slow combustion stove and cast iron piping estimated at £4.0.0"

Most of the references about the Cemetery and Chapel in the Parish Council Minutes for 1905/6 refer to Rights of Burial and general repairs. Two seats were purchased for the cemetery in May 1906.
At a Parish Council meeting held on July 19th 1906 the Clerk was instructed to ask the Schoolmaster Mr Keyworth to speak to the schoolchildren about making a playground of the Cemetery.

At an Annual Meeting held on April 19th 1907 it was approved
"That the Cemetery Chapel be insured against fire for £200. The furniture therein for £50 & the sexton against employees liability."
At a Parish Council meeting held on June 18th 1907 it was approved
"That the Assistant Overseer and Sexton be insured against accident in the Royal Insurance Company and the question of insuring the Fire Brigade be left over for the next Council meeting."
At the same meeting it was approved
"That the Council go into committee to interview the Cemetery Caretaker with reference to the state of the Cemetery."
At the same meeting it was approved
"That the Caretaker's salary be increased to £10.10.0 per annum & that the grass be mown with the scythe four times each year, as far down as ordered, & that all persons requesting attention to graves shall give their orders to the Clerk, who shall give a receipt for the moneys received by him, & the said moneys shall be paid to the Caretaker when the work is done during his own time."
At a Parish Council meeting held on July 16th 1907 a letter was read from the Royal Insurance Company declining to grant a policy for Insuring the Clerk & the Sexton under 10/- per annum. It was therefore approved that the Clerk & the Sexton be insured against accident with the General Insurance Corporation Ltd for the sum of 7/- per annum.

The final entry in the Rothley Parish Council Minute Book 1895-1908 relating to the Cemetery and Chapel is dated Mar 17th 1908 to grant Rights of Burial to Mr Thomas Antill for Plot 129. Section B. Unconsecrated

Mr Frank Sleath, the builder, who won the contract to build the Cemetery and Chapel. He was buried in the cemetery on December 24th 1924.

The original Agreement dated 27th March 1903 between the Builder, Frank Sleath, the Architects, William Langley and John Cecil Baines, and Henry Staples and Harry Boyer on behalf of the Rothley Parish Council.

To see who was buried in the cemetery from 1904-1954 please click on the following link:

To find out the cost of burials when the cemetery was established please click on the following link: