West Dorset District
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Pressure for burials in Fordington (which was not at the time part of Dorchester) was increased following a number of deaths arising from an outbreak of cholera in 1854. This resulted from an enforced intake in August of 700 convicts from the Millbank Prison in London, where cholera was rife, to the Barracks in Dorchester, which were unusually empty because most of the military had been mobilised to take part in the Crimean War. Two women in Holloway Row were contracted to do the laundry for the prisoners and it is believed that this is how the disease was first introduced into Fordington. The Mill Street area was severely overcrowded (ironically because it was the only area of land in Fordington not owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, which refused to release any of its land for development) and the cholera spread rapidly in the appallingly unsanitary conditions which existed in the area.At least 30 people died of the disease in September 1854 alone, and all of them are likely to have been buried in St George's churchyard, adding further to the pressure on burial space there which had already been recognised. In 1866 the Duchy of Cornwall gave land (formerly part of the Farthinghold Tenement) to the Fordington Burial Board for use as an extension of the churchyard and this is the area which is now known as ‘Old Ground'.The ‘New Ground', was purchased by the Burial Board in 1885 to complete the Cemetery as it is today. Part of the cemetery occupies a site which had been used for burials in Roman times.
In the early 1990s the Dorchester Joint Burial Committee (which succeeded the independent Boards for Dorchester and Fordington in 1927) had formally closed Fordington Cemetery
(text by Geoffrey Gillon)