Commemorative Base Memorial Plaques

You may often notice in cemeteries that there are areas of plain grass on which  small plaques are sporadically situated. These are the parts of the cemetery where the public graves are situated, in which people have been buried at the local authority’s expense with no headstone.

It is possible at later date hoanfield cemetery memorial plaqueswever for memorials to be placed over a public grave, although there are restrictions. They must be flat and a maximum of eighteen by eighteen inches, and no more than three inches high.

Up until a few years ago Liverpool city council only allowed these memorial bases to be of Yorkstone material and ordered through their cemeteries department. Nowadays they realise it is more economical to allow private masons to do the work and deal with the public. As such, there are now no restrictions on what material is used, with masons adding the £90 cemetery fee to their final invoice when work is completed.  Other local authorities charge roughly the same fees in their cemeteries.

The memorial plaques are affixed to a flagstone which is cemented to the ground to form a foundation. Permission needs to be granted for a public grave to be marked, but not necessarily from a relative. As long as the cemeteries grant permission and the fee is paid then the grave can be marked. In Liverpool’s cemeteries there could be as many as fifteen buried in each public grave, but other families do not need to be contacted to get permission for a marker. They normally only allow four stones on each grave so it is on a first come first served basis.


There are some exceptions to mass burials in public graves. Stillborn babies for example, are buried in a ‘private public grave’ at the expense of a hospital or charity,  allowing parents to add a memorial plaque later.

Some public graves of notable figures in the history of Liverpool and Everton football clubs have been marked in recent years. William E Barclay, who managed both clubs in the Victorian era and Ned Doig, Liverpool’s goalkeeper when they were promoted in 1904-05, are marked with base plaques in Anfield cemetery.

Sarsfield Memorials can provide commemorative plaques in a range of materials and liase with the cemeteries, having the permit granted and arranging payment of cemetery fees and lettering and fixing. Please contact us here for information and a free no obligation quote.

The Grave of Bob Paisley

14th February 2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of Bob Paisley, the most successful manager in Liverpool Football Club’s history. The former bricklayer from Hetton-le-hole in county Durham came to Liverpool as player in 1939 and never left. After retiring from playing in 1954 he took up various backroom roles before being appointed manager in 1974 following the retirement of Bill Shankly.

bob paisley grave feb 2016

In just nine seasons as manager Paisley won six league titles, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup and three League Cups. His achievement in winning Europe’s highest prize on three occasions was not matched until Carlo Ancelotti in 2014, although Paisley remains the only manager to do it with the same club.

Despite such successes, Paisley wasn’t comfortable in the limelight and liked nothing more than to play with his grandchildren or call into a garage on the way to training for a cup of tea and pick some horses from the betting pages of the papers.  

After handing over the managerial reins to Joe Fagan in 1983, Paisley enjoyed a spell of retirement but was persuaded to return for a season in 1985 to help newly appointed Kenny Dalglish, who was still playing as well. He then took up a boardroom role until ill health forced him to leave the club altogether in 1992.

Paisley spent the last year of his life battling Alzheimer’s Disease at Arncliffe Court nursing home in Halewood, where he was regularly visited by his beloved wife Jessie, two sons and one daughter. His death at the age of 77 was greeted with sadness beyond Merseyside, with stars past and present attending his funeral at St Peter’s Church in Woolton. He was buried in the churchyard, his grave marked by a suitably modest headstone with the words ‘He remained an ordinary man amidst extraordineleanor rigby grave feb 2016ary achievements.’

Paisley shares the churchyard with some graves of the Earle family of Allerton Tower, who were not so humble. They moved there in the early nineteenth century after selling their Spekelands estate in Edge Hill. In 1869 Hardman Earle was made a baronet, a peerage that could be passed down through the generations. He died in 1877 and his son Sir Thomas Earle, who died in 1900, described himself as a ‘baronet and merchant’ in the census of 1891. They decamped to Cheshire in the early twentieth century and Allerton Tower was demolished in the 1930s, the land being one of Liverpool’s lesser known parks.

It is fair to say that the vast majority of visitors to St Peter’spass the Earle graves without giving them a second glance. Many Liverpool fans come to see Paisley’s graves but the church welcomes many more Beatles fans, the graveyard being the final resting place of somebody immortalised in one of their songs, Eleanor Rigby.

A History of Anfield Cemetery

Situated in the shadow of Liverpool and Everton football grounds, themselves there since the later Victorian period, Anfield cemetery is even older having been taking in burials for over 150 years.

By the middle of the 19th Century Liverpool’s graveyards were reaching saturation point and in 1854 the Corporation prohibited any more burials in the centre of the town. The new cemetery at Anfield was designed by Edward Kemp and building work began in 1861 with the first burial taking place two years later. The total cost of the project, including purchase of the land, was £150,000, equivalent to £16 million today.

The cemetery is laid out in a diamond shape with four entrances and axial paths that run north-south and east-west. Liverpool architects Lucy and Littler designed the lodges, chapels and entrance gates.Only one chapel, originally for Nonconformists, remains and this is now unused and on the Heritage at Risk Register. The crematorium was opened in 1896 and was the first in Liverpool and only the fourth in the United Kingdom.

Four recipients of the Victoria Cross are buried in Anfield Cemetery, including John Kirk who was awarded one for gallantry in the Indian Mutiny of 1857. He died aged 38 in 1865, having fallen into poverty following a discharge from the army due to having contracted rheumatism which in the opinion of the Inspecting Medical Officer was ‘the result of, or aggravated by, the use of intoxicating liquors, or indulgence in other habits or vices.’ Kirk had been punished twelve times for being drunk on duty, going AWOL and escaping from barracks cells.

The cemetery contains a mass grave containing the remains of over 500 residents of Liverpool who were killed during the May Blitz of 1941. There are over 900 British servicemen from the two world wars buried in the cemetery as well as 67 from other nations, mAnfield Cemetery Alfred Lewis Jones Graveainly Dutch and Norwegian seamen.

Notable local people buried in Anfield Cemetery include Thomas J Hughes, founder of the T J Hughes chain of shops in 1925; Michael J Whitty, former Chief Constable of Liverpool and founder of the Daily Post newspaper in 1855; shipowner Sir Alfred Lewis Jones, who opened the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 1898 and whose grave is pictured left. Also buried here are Victorian boxing champion Jem Mace and singer Michael Holliday, whose song ‘Starry Eyed’ was the first number one of the 1960s.

Near to the Cherry Lane entrance is a grave containing the remains of husband and wife William and Julia Wallace, who were at the centre of a classic ‘whodunnit’ in 1931. On 20th January that year Julia was found battered to death at her home in Wolverton Street by William, an insurance agent. He was later charged with murder after police concluded he still had time to carry out the killing and then create his alibi, that he was in Allerton looking for an address that did not exist. After being found guilty by a jury he waWallace Murder Grave Anfield Cemeterys sentenced to death but the conviction was overturned by the High Court as the verdict had been reached against the weight of evidence. Just two years later William died of renal cancer and was buried alongside his wife.

Being so close to Anfield and Goodison Park football stadiums, it is not surprising that a number of notable people connected to the early years of the Liverpool and Everton clubs are buried there.

William E Barclay holds a unique place in Merseyside football history as the only man to manage both clubs. He combined these roles with that of headmaster at an industrial school in Everton Terrace, off Netherfield Road South. He later drifted into obscurity and was found dead in tragic circumstances in 1917, an inquest returning a verdict of suicide during temporary inEverton George Mahon Grave Anfield Cemeterysanity. His final resting place in Anfield cemetery remained unmarked over ninety years but due to the sterling work of local football historians a stone was placed on it in 2013.

Barclay had remained loyal to Liverpool FC founder John Houlding after the acrimonious split within the Everton membership in 1892. However local solicitor George Mahon was instrumental in Everton’s move away from Anfield and arranged the purchase of the land that became Goodison Park, after which he became the club chairman. He lived at 86 Anfield Road and was buried in Anfield cemetery after his death in 1908.

Liverpool FC’s longest serving manager was Tom Watson, who tooTom Watson grave Anfield cemeteryk over from William E Barclay in 1896 and guided then club to two league titles and their first FA Cup final. He died in May 1915 and his funeral at Anfield cemetery was attended by many leading figures from the game in which he was held in high regard, having also won honours with Sunderland. In May 2015 a headstone was re-erected on his grave after family members were traced.

Anfield cemetery remains open to burials today. A charity, the Friends of Anfield Cemetery, has been founded with the aim of removing it from the Heritage at Risk Register by 2025, as well as building a heritage and visitor centre whilst remaining mindful of the fact it is a working cemetery.