The Burial Ground
Originally burials were confined to the southern part of the site adjoining the road. The Burial Ground was extended northwards in 1821 over land that had previously been let
for grazing. The earliest burials were unmarked, but later burials have the characteristic Quaker headstones – small, round-topped and bearing only the most basic information. The rows of headstones are marked by letters set in the Burial Ground walls.
The walls are also Grade II listed. There are drainage problems: records of these problems and early drains date from eighteenth century and in the boundary wall is an arch which spanned those drains. Eventually poor drainage forced the end of burials in 1980; but the site continues in use for the scattering and interment of ashes.
The older part of the burial ground includes headstones for the Hoare and Barclay families, both involved in banking. Samuel Hoare junior (1751-1825) was a leading supporter of the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade. In the newer part there are stones commemorating Luke Howard (a pioneering meteorologist, responsible for the system for classifying clouds) and his wife, and Alice Hum (founder of the Palmers Green Girls High School). A stone commemorating the prominent 18th century Quaker physician, John Fothergill, has been removed to the Quaker School at Ackworth which he founded.
The burial ground is home to a rich variety of plant and animal life. There are frogs, toads, a family of foxes and a breeding colony of stag beetles. Among the many mature trees there are unique species. Dominant is the 25 metre high Cedar from North Africa (Cedrus Atlanticus) believed to have been planted around 1850.
This brief history and guide is based on A History of Quakerism at Winchmore Hill by David Olver (2002). A small number of copies remain available for sale.
Graham Dalling, December 2011 (slightly tweaked for web)
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