The Bunhill Fields registers are presented as a browse search. You will be able to search the burial registers or the monumental inscriptions by the first letter of the surname or by event type. The burial register books are organised alphabetically by surname. Then each book records the burials in chronological order. The records of monumental inscriptions are organised in alphabetical order regardless of the date of burial. The detail found in each type of record will vary.
The burial registers recorded the following facts:
In some cases, additional notes about the individual
The monumental inscriptions will vary depending on the detail of the monument but most will include
Age at the time of death
Relatives’ names (i.e. spouse, children, or parents)
Bunhill Fields is located in the Borough of Islington, north of the Square Mile in London, near Old Street Station. It gains its name from the ancient name of the area, Bone-hill. The cemetery was founded in the 1660s for non-conformists, radicals, and dissenters. It closed in 1853 with 120,000 people interred. The original registers are held by the College of Arms.
Among the thousands buried at Bunhill Fields, you will find records for Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe; John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress; Isaac Watts, minister and hymn writer; Susanna Wesley, the mother of Methodism; Thomas Bayes, the creator Bayes’ theorem of probability; and many more. The Banbury Advertiser, 21 October 1869, described the people who were buried at Bunhill Fields: ‘It was not the successful men who were buried in Bunhill-fields, it was men who lived for something nobler than success. Learning and conscientiousness and faithful service of unpopular causes led to Bunhill-fields’.
The oldest registered grave on the site is Theophilus Gale buried in 1678. The oddest monumental inscription is that of Dame Mary Page. Page died from dropsy, an excess of fluid in the body. Her inscription from 4 March 1728 details her long battle with the disease: ‘In 67 months she was tapped 66 times, had taken away 240 gallons of water without ever repining at her case or ever fearing the operation’. Her monument is a Grade II listed monument.
Over the years, the cramped London cemetery became neglected. At one time it was used as a plague pit, and during the Second World War, it was damaged by German attacks on the city. In recent times, it has been listed as a Grade I on the National Register of Parks and Gardens, and more attention and care has been given to maintaining the site.
Type only the first letter of a surname when you use the surname letter search.
All results will bring you to the first page of the register. Use the arrows to the right and left of the image to browse through the register, or use the image count at the bottom centre and jump ahead in the book. For example, when you search Bunhill Fields Monumental Inscriptions Vol V – P and you want to find the surname Person, you can type an image number such as 60 and that will automatically move you to image number 60 in the book, which includes the name Pearsall. From there you can continue your browse.