A History of Ford Cemetery

Liverpool Roman Catholic Cemetery, more commonly known as Ford Cemetery, is situated at Ford near Litherland to the north east of the city. Administered by the Archdiocese of Liverpool, its regulations differ than those which apply to cemeteries in Liverpool and Sefton that are run by the local authority.

In the 1850s the Liverpool Corporation forbade any more burials in the central area, meaning there could be noMap of Ford Cemetery more interments at St Anthony’s Church in Scotland Road. Father Newsham purchased twenty one acres of farmland at Ford for this purpose and the first recorded burials were in 1859. Costs ranged from six shillings for a single grave to five pounds and twelve shillings for a family plot near the cross, equivalent to £40 to 625 today.

Funeral services were first held at St Anthony’s, then in 1872 a mortuary chapel opened in Collingwood Street. Three days a week hearses would leave carrying coffins to Ford to their final resting place. There are now over 300,000 buried at Ford Cemetery, many of whom are in unmarked graves that are commemorated by a memorial on the site of the chapel. This chapel was designed by Augustus Pugin and opened in 1861 but was demolished in the 1990s.

A number of notable churchmen are buried at Ford. They include Father James Nugent, founder of a number of schools and refuges in the mid 1800s and whose values live on today via Nugent Care who support many of Liverpool’s most vulnerable. The cemetery is also where Alexander Goss, the second Bishop of Liverpool and first vice-president of St Edward’s College, was buried when he died in 1872.


Many of the graves in Ford Cemetery tell a tale of tragedy. They include that of Margaret Kirby, who was just seven when she disappeared in January 1908 whilst playing outside her home in Kensington. Her badly decomposed body was found seven months later and her killer was never caught. she was buried alongside her mother who had died the previous year and would be joined very soon afterwards by her father who died of a broken heart. Another family headstone commemorates Patrick Seagraves, an able seaman who was serving on the Lusitania when it was torpedoes in 1915 and whose body was never recovered.

Ford Cemetery remains open for burials today but there are some restrictions when it comes to memorials. For example kerbsets are no longer allowed. Sarsfield Memorials work closely with the archdiocese and will be able to advise on what is and isn’t permitted. If you are considering erecting or renovating a headstone at a Ford Cemetery please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.