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Ascension Parish Burial Ground facts for kids

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The former chapel of rest at the Ascension Parish Burial Ground

The Ascension Parish Burial Ground, formerly known as the burial ground for the parish of St Giles and St Peter's, is a cemetery off Huntingdon Road in Cambridge, England. Many notable University of Cambridge academics are buried there, including three Nobel Prize winners.

Although a Church of England site, the cemetery includes the graves of many non-conformists, reflecting the demographics of the parish in the 19th and 20th centuries, which covered much of West Cambridge.

It was established in 1857 while the city of Cambridge was undergoing rapid expansion, although the first burial was not until 1869. It covers one and a half acres and contains 1,500 graves with 2,500 burials. Originally surrounded by open fields, it is now bounded by trees and the gardens of detached houses, and is a designated city wildlife site.

In 2020 it was formally closed to new burials by an Order in Council, and responsibility for its upkeep was transferred to Cambridge City Council.

The former chapel of rest is now used as the workshop of letter-carver Eric Marland.

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The 1.5 acres (0.61 ha) of the burial ground were established in 1857 when extra burial space was needed as the city of Cambridge expanded in Victorian times. The first burial here was in 1869. Today some 2,500 people are buried in about 1,500 plots. Many city and university dignitaries, scientists and scholars are buried here, including and 11 members of the Cambridge Apostles. 83 have biographies in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The cemetery is located just off Huntingdon Road near the junction with Storey's Way in the northwest of Cambridge. The burial ground is a designated City Wildlife Site and is part of the Storey's Way Conservation area. In 2005 the plant species present were catalogued and the site is now managed so as to encourage wildlife and habitat diversity, as well as to care for the graves themselves.

The Friends of the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground aim to protect and enhance the burial ground for the public benefit as a place of remembrance, spirituality, history and nature.

Graves and memorials of notable individuals


Grave of astronomer John Couch Adams - - 370564
Grave of astronomer John Couch Adams and wife Eliza Adams


Grave of astronomer Sir Robert Stawell Ball - - 382507
Grave of Sir Robert Stawell Ball and wife Lady Frances Elizabeth Ball.
  • Sir Robert Stawell Ball, Astronomer, Lowndean Professor of Astronomy and Geometry, founded the screw theory.
  • Arthur Beer Astronomer, member of Caius College.
  • Cecil Bendall Professor of Sanskrit, University of Cambridge; Honorary Fellow of Gonville and Caius College.
  • Edwin Keppel Bennett, noms de plume: Francis Bennett, Francis Keppel, Fellow and President of Gonville and Caius College.
  • Jack A. W. Bennett, New Zealand born literary scholar, a member of the informal Oxford literary group, the Inklings, Fellow of Magdalen College.
  • Arthur Christopher Benson, 28th Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge noted for writing the words of the song "Land of Hope and Glory".
  • William Henry Besant FRS, Fellow of St John's, mathematician
  • James Bethune-Baker, Theologian, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity and Dean of Pembroke College.
  • Frederick Blackman, FRS Plant Physiologist, Fellow of St John's.
  • Joan Boulind CBE, fellow and tutor at Hughes Hall, Cambridge.
  • John Buckley Bradbury, Downing Professor of Medicine.
  • Charles Oscar Brink, Classicist, fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (cremated remains).
  • Denis William Brogan, Historian, Political Scientist.
  • Zachary Nugent Brooke, Historian, Professor of Medieval History.
  • William Warwick Buckland, Professor of Law, President of Gonville and Caius College, Regius Professor of Civil Law.
  • Robert Burn, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and wife Augusta Sophia, née Prescott (a descendant of Oliver Cromwell)
  • John Burnaby, Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge, Regius Professor of Divinity, and wife Dorothy Burnaby, née Lock; also her brother Robert Heath Lock is buried in the same grave
  • Geoffrey Bushnell, Archaeologist and Ethnologist, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.


Sarah clackson memorial
Memorial to Sarah Clackson
  • James Cable, Diplomat, Naval Strategist, and wife Lady Cable, Viveca Hollmerus
  • John Walton Capstick Bursar and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge Physicist, Musician
  • Neville Chittick, Scholar, Archaeologist
  • Richard Chorley, Quantitative Geographer, Vice-Master, Sidney Sussex College
  • Sir Derman Christopherson FRS, Engineering Scientist, Master Magdalene College : 1978 to 1985 and his wife Frances, Lady Christopherson
  • Sarah Clackson Coptologist; first wife of James Clackson, Secretary of Friends of Ascension Parish Burial Ground.
  • Sir William Henry Clark, Civil Servant.
  • John Cockcroft Physicist, Nobel Prize winner, instrumental in the development of nuclear power, first Master of Churchill College.
  • Agnes Bell Collier Vice Principal of Newnham College, passed Maths. Tripos in 1883.
  • Frances Cornford, Poet, interred in grave of father Sir Francis Darwin; wife of Francis Cornford.


Grave of Francis Darwin - - 382508
Gravestone of Sir Francis Darwin, FRS and his daughter Frances Cornford


  • Arthur Eddington, Astrophysicist, Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy (cremated remains interred in the grave of his mother Sarah Eddington.).
  • Sir James Ewing FRS, Professor of Mechanism and Applied Mechanics, Professorial Fellowship at King's.



  • Peter Geach, Philosopher, buried with his late wife Elizabeth Anscombe.
  • Roberto Gerhard Composer, Musical Scholar.
  • Henry Melvill Gwatkin, Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Historian, theologian, conchologist.



  • Henry Jackson, Regius Professor of Greek (Cambridge), Classicist, Member of the Cambridge Apostles.
  • Sir Richard Jebb, Regius Professor of Greek (Cambridge), Classicist, Member of the Cambridge Apostles.
  • Caroline Jebb, American intellectual and socialite, wife of Richard Jebb.


  • Courtney Stanhope Kenny, Legal scholar, Liberal politician, Downing Professor of the Laws of England.



Grave of philosopher G.E. Moore - - 382503
Gravestone of philosopher G. E. Moore OM and wife Dorothy Moore



  • Conrad Pepler Priest, Writer, Editor, Publisher
  • Max Perutz, OM, FRS, Molecular Biologist, Nobel Prize winner, Fellow of Peterhouse, and wife Gisela Perutz; their cremated remains are buried together with his parents Hugo and Dely Perutz.


  • Sir Leon Radzinowicz FBA, Criminologist, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • Arthur Stanley Ramsey Mathematician and philosopher, President of Magdalene College.
  • Frank P. Ramsey Philosopher and mathematician, Member of the Cambridge Apostles, the intellectual secret society, buried in same grave as his parents: Arthur Stanley Ramsey and Mary Agnes Ramsey.
  • William Luard Raynes OBE, solicitor, twice Mayor of Cambridge.
  • William Halse Rivers Rivers FRS, Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, Anthropologist, Neurologist, Ethnologist, Psychologist
  • David Roberts, architect and fellow of Magdalene College.
  • Walter William Rouse Ball, Mathematician, author on the History of Mathematics, endowed professorships.


  • John Edwin Sandys, Classicist and Public Orator of Cambridge University.
  • Sir Charles Henry Sargant, Lord Justice of Appeal, Privy Counsellor
  • Charlotte Scott, mathematician, first unofficial wrangler, buried in the grave of cousin Eliza Nevin.
  • Isabel May Griffiths Seltman, wife of Charles Seltman, art historian, fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge and a University Lecturer in Classics.
  • Gerald Shove, economist and Member of the Cambridge Apostles, the intellectual secret society, and Fredegond Shove, poet, step-daughter of Sir Francis Darwin; her mother was Lady Darwin, formerly Florence Maitland;
  • Walter William Skeat, Philologist, Elrington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon.
  • Lucy Joan Slater, Mathematician and Recorder of Ascension Parish Burial Ground, buried in her mother's grave (Lucy Slater, Classicist)
  • George Smee, solicitor, and wife Eliza Smee; monument designed by Jacob Epstein.
  • Bridget Spufford, after whom "Bridget's Hostel", Cambridge was named; daughter of Professors Peter Spufford and the late Margaret Spufford, sister of Francis Spufford. She is buried with her grandmother, Mary Clark, née Johnson.
  • Vincent Henry Stanton, Regius Professor of Divinity, Member of the Cambridge Apostles, the intellectual society at Cambridge University.
  • Joseph Peter Stern, Germanist, Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, (cremated remains).
  • Stanley Stubbs Headmaster of Perse School.


  • Joseph Robson Tanner, Bursar of St John's, Samuel Pepys expert.
  • Charles Taylor Vice-Chancellor and Master St. John's College: 1881 to 1908, Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, mathematician and Hebrew scholar
  • Harold McCarter Taylor Mathematician, Barrister, a Fellow of Clare College, (cremated remains)
  • Henry Martyn Taylor, Mathematician, braille expert.
  • Sir Alfred St Valery Tebbitt, managing director of Kirby, Beard & Co. and British Chamber of Commerce, Paris, and of the Hertford British Hospital, Paris, and wife Lady Gladys St. Valery Tebbitt, née Pendrell Smith.


  • Augustus Arthur Vansittart, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, classical scholar.
  • Arthur Woollgar Verrall, Classicist, Member of the Cambridge Apostles, King Edward VII Professor of English Literature.
  • Margaret Verrall, parapsychology researcher and lecturer in classics at Newnham College.


Wittgenstein Gravestone 2021
Wittgenstein's gravestone in 2021

Darwin family

Five members of the family of Charles Darwin are interred here: two sons: Sir Francis Darwin and Sir Horace Darwin, two daughters-in-law: Lady Florence Darwin (third wife of Francis) and Lady Ida Darwin (wife of Horace), and a granddaughter: Frances Cornford, the daughter of Francis Darwin by his second wife, Ellen Wordsworth Darwin, née Crofts.

Charles Darwin himself is buried in Westminster Abbey.

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