This year is a landmark date for Rosary Cemetery having been established 200 years ago in 1819.
As one of the city’s hidden gems, the cemetery is the final resting place of many famous Norwich residents including Ethel Mary Colman (first lady mayor of Norwich in 1923), a number of the Norwich School painters (James Stark, John Thirtle and John Berney Ladbrooke), Ralph Hale Mottram (novelist and Lord Mayor in 1953), some of those who lost their lives in the 1874 Thorpe rail accident and the founder of the cemetery, Thomas Drummond.
To mark this historic occasion the cemetery will be hosting an open day in October and see the introduction of a new memorial rose garden and natural woodlands burial area.
The Thorpe Hamlet based burial site will also celebrate its 200th anniversary by running wildlife and historic tours throughout the year.
The events will be run by the Friends of the Rosary Cemetery, Norwich Group of Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Norwich City Council and will be free and open to everyone.
The 12-acre cemetery is a place of historic and natural interest as well as being a working cemetery. It is open daily and offers a quiet refuge from the bustle of the city and is a haven for flora and fauna.
Susan Moore, area management team leader for Norwich City Council with responsibility for cemeteries, said:
“The Rosary is such a unique place in the heart of Norwich and we have some wonderful events planned this year.
“The bicentennial events are part of the wider regeneration project for both Rosary and Earlham cemetery which aim to protect and enhance the natural environment.
“We will also be able to support bereaved families and offer a more personal and affordable choice of funeral services.
“Our events are a great opportunity to show people everything the cemetery has to offer whilst celebrating 200 years of this hidden gem.”
This year also marks the 20 year anniversary of the Friends of the Rosary group.
Nick Williams, chair of the Friends of the Rosary Cemetery, said:
“We look forward to welcoming all to the Rosary so we can proudly tell you the stories of its history and natural importance.
“The celebration events also provide an opportunity to hear about the work of the Friends and how people can get involved.”
Rosary cemetery was established in 1819 by Thomas Drummond who was a non-conformist minister.
The first burial was in November 1821 and was the re-interment of Ann Drummond, the wife of the founder. Ann had died two years earlier and had previously been buried at The Octagon Chapel in Norwich.
The bicentennial open day is scheduled for Saturday 12 October 2019.
The Rosary was the first non-denominational burial ground in England and was granted Grade II listed status in 2010.
Details of all tours and events at the Rosary can be found at www.norwich.gov.uk/Rosary200