Churchyard and cemetery
This book explores, for the first time, the turbulent social history of churchyards and cemeteries over the last 150 years. Using sites from across rural North Yorkshire, the text examines the workings of the Burial Acts and discloses the ways in which religious politics framed burial management. It presents an alternative history of burial which questions notions of tradition and modernity, and challenges long-standing assumptions about changing attitudes towards mortality in England. This study diverges from the long-standing tendency to regard the churchyard as inherently ‘traditional’ and the cemetery as essentially ‘modern’. Since 1850, both types of site have been subject to the influence of new expectations that burial space would guarantee family burial and the opportunity for formal commemoration. Although the population in central North Yorkshire declined, demand for burial space rose, meaning that many dozens of churchyards were extended, and forty new cemeteries were laid out. This text is accessible to undergraduates and postgraduates, and will be an essential resource for historians, archaeologists and local government officials.