TG2408 : The grave of Robert George Bagshaw

taken 3 months ago, near to Norwich, Norfolk, Great Britain

The grave of Robert George Bagshaw
The grave of Robert George Bagshaw
The grey obelisk marks the burial plot of George Bagshaw, "merchant of this city", who died on 29 November 1883 at his farm in Crostwick, aged 74, and of Mary Ann, his wife, who died on 28 July 1880, aged 80. Records show that George Bagshaw owned a number of properties in Norwich presumably in context with his paper manufacturing business, G & GR Bagshaw, at St Miles' Mills. Also buried here are Robert George Bagshaw JP (d 23 March 1923, aged 80), his wife Maria Elizabeth (d 15 May 1922, aged 82).

White's History, Gazetteer & Directory of Norfolk (1854) lists Bagshaw G, rag merchant. In Kelly's Directory of Norfolk (1900), RG and G Bagshaw are listed as paper manufacturers; rag, skin and metal merchants; game, poultry and fish salesmen; pheasant, game, poultry and dog food manufacturers; and corn merchants, based at St Miles Street and at 5/7 Fish Market.

In September 1854, George Bagshaw acquired the tower wind mill and the adjacent steam mill located near the Magdalen Gates. He used the mills for crushing bones for fertiliser but may also have continued the corn trade. From 1863-1865 the mills were in the occupation of John Andrews who was in partnership with George Bagshaw and was later listed as a corn miller at New Catton. Henry Andrews, presumably a son of John Andrews, and partner to RG Bagshaw, was still living in the mill house in 1883. By 1868, George Bagshaw was in partnership with Edward Darby of Horsfield, of Antingham Lower and Antingham Upper bone mills. They were listed in White’s and Harrod’s Directories of 1868 as bone crushers etc at Magdalen Gates. In Hamilton's 1879 Directory G & RG Bagshaw were listed as paper manufacturers, rag and metal merchants, and dealers in game and poultry at St Miles. Robert George Bagshaw, who was born in 1843 in Norwich, was documented as living in "Mill Hill House" in 1880.

In the 1881 census George Bagshaw is recorded as being a farmer of 600 acres employing 16 men, 7 boys and 5 women, and also a paper and manure maker employing 19 men and 1 boy. He was then aged 71 and living in Tooley Street, St Mary at Coslany, with his daughter Emma. Robert George Bagshaw was listed as living at The Crescent, St Stephen's with his wife Maria, and their son George. Another relative, Joseph Bagshaw, was given as living in Saw Mill Yard, St Michael Coslany with sons Walter, Frank, and Abraham, and daughters Alice, and Annie. George and Joseph Bagshaw were listed in Eyre's 1883 Directory as chemical manure manufacturers based at Magdalen Gates, Magdalen Road. In 1884, a year after GF Bagshaw's passing, the mill was shown as disused.

Robert George Bagshaw also owned the Star Inn at 10 Haymarket, St Peter Mancroft from 1890, and the licensee from the 10th October 1893 until the pub closed in 1894. At this time he had been living in Newmarket Road.
Rosary Road Cemetery, Norwich
The main entrance to this Grade II* listed cemetery is on Rosary Road > LinkExternal link. A gate provides access for pedestrians only from Telegraph Lane East > LinkExternal link. The Rosary was the first non-denominational cemetery in the UK and also the earliest garden cemetery in England. It was established in 1819 by Thomas Drummond, a nonconformist minister. Claims according to which the Rosary is predated by the no longer existing Dissenters' cemetery in Rusholme Road, Manchester, are incorrect as indeed the records confirm that the latter was opened in 1821, two years after the Rosary, although the first burial in the Rosary did indeed take place in 1821. On 7 April 1824, the Norfolk Chronicle reports that it was agreed "that the Rosary burial-ground having been duly entered at the office of the Bishop of the Diocese, and therein designated a general burial-ground for the use of persons of all sects and denominations, shall be invested in trustees on behalf of those who may become the holders of shares, to be limited to 500." The area of land comprising the Rosary - situated at the western end of the Thorpe Ridge and falling gently from north to east and south to west, with a more dramatic, terraced cross slope in the southern section descending from the high ground in the south-east towards the chapel - had formerly been in use as a market garden, and presents a broad green open space between the housing areas to the south and the playing fields of the Telegraph Lane schools to the north. The writer Geoffrey Goreham in his book about Thorpe Hamlet (1972) wrote: "In Rosary Cemetery stone monuments straggle up the slope amongst forest trees and waning sunlight casts long shadows of urns, obelisks and crosses on the maze of winding footpaths". The cemetery chapel > LinkExternal link was constructed in 1879 and is said to be the finest work of architect Edward Boardman > LinkExternal link.

Tragically, the first interment at the Rosary was Drummond's wife Ann who died in childbirth aged 41 > LinkExternal link. The cemetery has a number of literary links. The novelist Ralph Hale Mottram, for instance, is buried here in the family plot > LinkExternal link. He was Lord Mayor of Norwich and also the last chairman of the trustees of the cemetery before it was entrusted to Norwich Corporation in 1956. A number of Norwich School painters > LinkExternal link are also buried in the Rosary, as are a number of railway employees such as the train driver John Prior and the fireman James Light, both killed in the disastrous 1874 Thorpe rail accident > LinkExternal link. A great number of interesting gravestones and memorials, such as the cast iron monument of Jeremiah Cozens > LinkExternal link and made by Thomas Dixon's foundry in Norwich, can be found on the 13 acres (53,000 square metres) of the cemetery. The only mausoleum in the cemetery is that of the eye surgeon Emanuel Cooper > LinkExternal link.

Norwich Heritage have a record according to which the large crowds of people visiting the Rosary in the summer of 1880 led to the employment of a policeman.

An extension adjacent to the old part (referred to as the lower cemetery) in the north-east and bounded by Telegraph Lane East, was opened in 1924 > LinkExternal link on land formerly owned by Isaac Bugg Coaks, and at times used as a grazing ground for the Cavalry horses, and Mr Bullard from Riverside used to train his horses there. This new part or upper cemetery was laid out according to the advice received from Captain Sandys-Winsch, the then head of the council parks department and the designer of Eaton Park, Wensum Park, Waterloo Park, and Heigham Park in Norwich. The Rosary came under the control of the Norwich Corporation in 1954 and it is estimated that about 18,500 people have been buried there since 1821.

To anyone interested in symbols and carvings > LinkExternal link on gravestones and monuments the Rosary offers a rich field of study. The Victorians had a particular preoccupation with death: many houses of the period had a 'coffin corner', a niche cut into the stairwell so that the coffin could make the turn in the flight of stairs, and some houses had a showcase window, where the deceased could lie in state for people to pass by on the street and pay their respects. This preoccupation is also reflected in the art of the period, including the decorative artwork seen on gravestones.

The Rosary also contains 31 Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) graves > LinkExternal link all made to the same design from Portland stone. The prominent circle at the top of each headstone depicts a national emblem or the regimental badge > LinkExternal link. Below the badge are the details of the buried serviceman or woman, commonly comprising service number, rank, name, military deocrations, regiment, age and date of death. Due to the practice of non-repatriation of the dead, Commonwealth servicemen and women who died on active service abroad were buried abroad. The majority of those buried in the UK are for this reason those who died either in military hospitals in the UK, in training accidents or in air raids, or those whose bodies had been washed ashore. Special commemorative headstones for individuals who are buried elsewhere also exist (but not in the Rosary). They look the same as the usual CWGC headstones but in addition have a superscription across the top, marking them as commemorating stones rather than headstones situated over an actual grave. Many other war casualties who are buried abroad are commemorated on the gravestones of their relatives, which can be difficult to spot because they do not stand out like the uniform, clean and well-maintained CWGC graves. All the 31 CWGC headstones in the Rosary are situated over actual graves.

A great number of wild flowers, many of these native, can be found growing in the areas of grassland, and more than 130 flowering plants have been recorded. The lower cemetery (which is the older part) is managed as a nature reserve. The Rosary is also host to a great variety of birds, and one of the best locations in Norwich to observe butterflies.

The first OS map (surveyed 1880/83, published 1886) records three OS benchmarks in the cemetery: by the NE corner of the boundary wall (105.5); by the SE corner of the boundary wall (138.8), and on the SE corner of the cemetery lodge by the entrance (60.5). The cemetery also had a well, dating from before 1878. According to the record held at the National Geoscience Data Centre ((161/p9), water was struck at about 30 metres, through layers of brick earth, sand and gravel, and chalk. The well would seem to have been sealed a long time ago. It was situated at TG 2440 0846 (near the north-south path separating Sections F and G).

The year 2019 is a landmark date for the Rosary Cemetery in that it was established 200 years ago in 1819.

For graves of interest and detailed information about the people buried there, be they members of Norwich's thriving Victorian merchant community, leaders of industry, bankers, eminent surgeons, painters, writers, preachers, or ordinary working people - they all have a story to tell - see my article. LinkExternal link.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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Grid Square
TG2408, 2554 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Thursday, 18 April, 2019   (more nearby)
Submitted
Friday, 19 April, 2019
Geographical Context
City, Town centre  Burial ground, Crematorium 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 2444 0844 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:37.6373N 1:18.8887E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 2444 0845
View Direction
South-southwest (about 202 degrees)
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Image Type (about): geograph 
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