In 1776 the original St Anne’s Parish Church opened for worship, but burials in the town continued to take place at the old Corporation Church. However, the Corporation Graveyard was nearing capacity and so the innovative member of the Belfast Charitable Society decided to use a portion of its ground to create a new cemetery. Preparation began in 1795, with the ‘New Burying Ground’ opening its gates for burials in March 1797.
Three years later, a clause in an Act of Parliament in 1800 stated “no dead bodies whatsoever shall be interred in the said old church-yard” and instead the “piece of ground above the poor-house” would become the main graveyard under this Act of Parliament. Burials continued to take place at other sites in Belfast including Knock, Friar’s Bush and the Shankill.
With the passing of the Act of Parliament, what became known as Clifton Street Cemetery, was for generations the ‘fashionable place’ to be buried. Here in stone are the names of those who shared in the political and professional life of the town, the merchants and industrialist, radical and reformers as well as thousands of citizens who lie in unmarked graves, some the victims of Cholera outbreaks as well as famine.
Discover the stories of Clifton Street Cemetery every Saturday and Sunday at 11am in our ‘In Life & Death Tour’. For more information and to book click here.