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Malpas Cemetery – A brief History

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Malpas Cemetery – A brief History

A cemetery differs from a Church Yard in that anyone can be buried there, regardless of their religious beliefs.

Malpas Cemetery dates back to 1873 when the St Oswald's Churchyard was almost full.
2 ½ acres of land were purchased from the Marques of Cholmondeley for £250.

Malpas Joint Burial Board was formed to represent the surrounding parishes of Malpas, Hampton, Wigland, Overton, Bradley, Wychough, and Nomansheath.

The committee borrowed the money to purchase the land and build the lodge and the chapel of rest from the government or as it was known then, "Public Works and Commerce".

The Burial Board borrowed just over £1,500. This was repaid over 50 years.

The clock on the chapel of rest was made by local clockmaker Arthur Drummond Callcott.

The Calcott family were prominent in the local area and Richard Calcott, a Wheelwright from Chorlton, was the first person to purchase a plot in the cemetery for one pound and one shilling for his wife and himself. 
This was on the 6th April 1875, when his wife, Ann Calcott became the first internee. Richard survived Ann by 27 years was buried in the same grave on 2nd July 1902.

The grave was recorded as being 9 feet deep and the headstone to them both was erected on 29th July 1903 at a cost of eleven shillings and six pence.

On average, the cemetery has between 8 and 12 new grave burials per year and the same of reopening of existing graves.
In addition an average of 4 to 6 interments of cremated remains per year take place.

However recent years have seen a decline in burials due to a number of factors.
These being:
a/ Family members tend today to live further away from their parents and grandparents so are less likely to want to come back and tend to a family grave.
b/ Cremation is cheaper.
c/ A memorial stone on a grave can cost more than £1,500.

Malpas cemetery is probably the only one which still has a resident caretaker and grave digger in the Cheshire West and Chester Council catchment area of which there are 31 Church Yards and Cemeteries.

Running costs for Malpas Cemetery are currently around £23,000 per year. 
This includes Insurance, water and electric supply, maintenance and repairs.

The cemetery does receive £8,800 in grant aid from Cheshire West and Chester Council, but this amount has not been increased since 2008.

At April 2014 there were over 4,300 people buried in the cemetery, and there were still 350 new plots available, and burial plots can still be purchased.

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