History of Olton Friary Cemetery


The Friars dedicated a plot of land next to the church as a graveyard.
The first burial was of William Bernard (Br Austin) - age 28 - October 24 1893.
This was accepted by Coleshill Sanitary Department in September 1898.

The big question is how many are buried here?

ANSWER – we will never know because:

1. In the Friary’s time the brothers dug graves five deep – So how many were actually there in the early graves?

2. In those dug for less – how many spaces were not used?

3. How many were never registered?
When cremations were first permitted there was period of confusion when they were not recorded at all, especially, if buried in a family grave.

Then we have problems with the numbering of the graves for the next reasons;

4. Relatives chose where to bury their loved ones and the graves were numbered in the order they were created and used. Number one was nearest the house/lawn, then number two preferred a plot more central…..

5. After grave number 918 they stated afresh and added a “G” after it (G for grave?) 
This got us to 582G = 1,500 graves.
Then there were areas which did not fit or were missed out.
So, we have 30As, 6Bs, 3Hs, 11Js, 34Rs, 33Ls = 117 (total 1,617),
and three cremation plots, Z = 45, Y = 93 plus and X still in use, (on August 13th 2019) therefore 1755 + 36 = 1,791 graves.

In sermons Fr Ted guessed a total of 3,600 and Fr Austin 5,000 burials.
Taking the figure above and presuming they all have one interment, 
And let’s guess a quarter more and round up = 2,300 approximately, I think.

By Fr. Ted

Sections of The Graveyard

The Calvary depicts The Crucifix (centre - although the wooden cross rotted away a long time ago) Our Lady and St John.

The corner of the graveyard, furthest from the church and closest to St. Bernards Road, has been cleared by the gardeners and this is where the common graves are. You can see the list of names of the people burried in this section pinned on the tree.

You can also download the list of names as a pdf by clicking  HERE.

There are also 20 War Graves at the Friary, they have white rectangular headstones bearing the symbol of the infantory the men belonged to.

Click HERE to go to the CWGC website with the details of the servicemen buried in the graveyard.

The Reverend Fathers, Priests and Fathers (brothers) are all burried along the hedge closest to the church. You will see more than one name on the headstones of the brothers as described by Fr. Ted above.

 

Health and Safety

Please be aware that some of the headstones became loose and have been laid down on the grave to prevent them falling.