I visited Merridale Cemetery in Wolverhampton one year ago, on 20 October 2019. I had a city map and thought I am finding the cemetery easily. Well, I found the cemetery, but it was surrounded by a wall. I had to go back and find another route as the street turned out to be a cul-de-sac. I found the entrance on Jeffcock Road.
Merridale Cemetery was founded in 1850 and the first burial took place in June 1850. This private company cemetery was extended later. There have been two chapels, but they have gone. The whole cemetery is locally listed and is closed for new burials, even though there are places for cremated remains. You can read a bit more about the cemetery and the Foster Monument – which seems to be the most famous thing in the cemetery – in Wolverhampton History & Heritage Website by clicking this.
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In the photograph above you can see the grade II listed Foster Monument. You can read about the monument and particularly about its decoration in the earlier mentioned link. The monument is for solicitor and alderman Joseph Foster, who died in 1861, and his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1869. But there is also a third name: A. F. C. Gough. Who is he and why he shared the same memorial with the Fosters? This is what is written in the above mentioned Wolverhampton History & Heritage Website about this “intruder”:
This monument does something to perpetuate the memory of the Fosters but it seems to have been hijacked. Within the 6 ionic columns is a pedestal with a large urn on it, both inscribed in memory of A F C Gough who, one can only presume, had some connection with the Fosters. On the urn are the words: “Alexander Clement Foster Gough LL.D., died lst February 1892 aged 59 years”. On the pedestal these words appear: “The above named A. C. F. Gough LL.D., (a solicitor) was Past Grand Standard-Bearer, England, and Provincial Grand Master of Staffordshire and held other important offices in Freemasonry. He was also formerly Colonel Commandant of the 3rd. Volunteer Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment”. One wonders who decided to inscribe this modest statement on the Fosters’ monument. (Source)
When I visited the cemetery, the urn had fallen over. Not long ago I saw a comment that it would be a result of vandalism, but as I haven’t found anything official about it, it might have just fractured.
I have now gone round the whole cemetery. The cover image of this photo story shows the area where I started my walk, to the left from the gate. This last picture shows the main path back to the gate. The white cross is the war memorial.
Photos and text © Katriina Etholén