Fleetwood Cemetery is the final resting place for some of the port's most illustrious figures - and it marks its 180th year

This year Fleetwood Cemetery is 180 years old and is the oldest and largest in Wyre. And it’s where some of the port’s key figures and influential people were laid to rest.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 3:45 pm

Most of Fleetwood’s illustrious history can be traced at Fleetwood Cemetery.

There are a sizeable number of official war graves there as well as the graves of some of the port’s key figures. Located to the west of the peninsular, as decided by Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood, the town’s founder, the cemetery is 180-years-old this year.

The very earliest Fleetwood residents to die were actually buried in Thornton and the first known burial at the cemetery was that of James Thompson on September 28, 1841. It’s the largest and oldest cemetery in Wyre and was largely laid out on what had been military shooting ranges linked to Fleetwood’s two 19th century barracks.

Local historian Richard Gillingham, who often leads guided tours of the cemetery said: “Graves I often go to are those of Thomas Atkinson Drummond, developer from around 1837 and builder of hundreds of dwellings, churches and public buildings in Fleetwood. The Lofthouse family grave is there as is that of Richard Leadbetter, arch businessman.”

The last resting places of Crimean and Zulu War veterans and notables from the Great War are highlighted and fishing tragedies feature prominently along with the graves of early citizens like Esau Monk and Richard Warbrick.

“Amongst the most fascinating is the grave of Arthur Sinclair,” said Richard, “believed to be the only American Confederate Naval officer buried on British soil. He was lost with his ship the Leila during a fierce storm off North Wales in 1865.

“His body was picked up by a Fleetwood fisherman in Morecambe Bay and he was buried thanks to the generosity of local townsfolk.”

Fleetwood became an independent town in 1894 and was under the parish of St Peters. There was originally two mortuary chapels built in the 1800’s for Church of England and the Non Conformist Sections, with the main Roman Catholic church still present today built August 28 1932, the first stone laid by the Right Reverent Thomas Wulston Pearson OSB, Bishop of Lancaster.

Wyre Council organises history walks which normally take place for the national heritage week in September but small group tours can be arranged throughout the year by contacting the Bereavement Services office.

The scanned burial registers are available here for assistance and other enquiries please contact Bereavement Services at Wyre Council or 01253 891000.