Skip To Main Content

Cambridge City Council

Cambridge's 'most historic burial ground' to be managed by city council following royal decision

News release from 24/06/2020

A BURIAL ground which is the resting place of many notable Cambridge figures, including Nobel Prize winners, academics, authors and philosophers, will now be managed by Cambridge City Council following a royal decree.

Responsibility for upkeeping the Ascension Burial Ground, located on All Souls Lane off Huntingdon Road, has passed to the council following an official Order of the Privy Council, signed by Her Majesty the Queen, to formally close it for burials. The Parish of Ascension, who previously managed the site, will remain owner of the graveyard.

The historic site contains the graves of many distinguished Cambridge people, including seven members of the Order of Merit:

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein – Eminent 20th Century philosopher
  • Sir John Cockroft – Nobel prize-winning physicist, pioneer of splitting the atom
  • Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins – Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who first identified the existence of vitamins
  • Charlotte Scott – Pioneering mathematician who gained outstanding university maths results but was not permitted to collect the same degree as men due to her sex
  • Ida Darwin – Campaigner for mental health services and women’s rights
  • Sir Arthur Eddington – Astrophysicist and populariser of science, who also has the nearby new Cambridge district of Eddington named after him

The one and a half acre graveyard was originally established in 1857. Today, thanks to the work of its active friends group, the burial ground is of great value for its biodiversity and ecological significance, which the council will seek to continue and enhance in line with its declaration of a Biodiversity Emergency in 2019.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces, said: “The Ascension Burial Ground is one of Cambridge’s real hidden gems. As well as being a place of historical importance it is a much-loved and important site for wildlife and biodiversity. I am very pleased that the council has become more closely involved in its future upkeep, and we look forward to working alongside the parish and the friends’ group to maintain and enhance it for visitors.”

The burial ground is located close to the junction of Huntingdon Road and Storey’s Way. It is open to visitors on foot or bicycle, and Citi buses 5 and 6 stop nearby on Huntingdon Road.