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Bristol Hebrew Congregation

Bristol

 

 

   
 

Page created: June 2003
Latest revision or update: 1 May 2017
 

Bristol Jewish Cemetery Records

(to 5 June 2003) 

Introduction

Bristol is one of the oldest provincial Jewish communities in the United Kingdom. There are details of a Jewish community in the city dating back to pre-expulsion times in the 12th and 13th centuries. Over the last 250 years at least three Jewish cemeteries are known to have been established in Bristol: -

  • Barton Road, St Phillips

  • Great Gardens (Temple), Rose Street

  • Ridgway (Fishponds), Eastville

Barton Road Cemetery, St Phillips

The Barton Road Cemetery in St. Philips is believed to be the first in Bristol following the resettlement of Jews in England following their expulsion in 1290. (There had been a medieval Jewish cemetery in Bristol in use some time from 1177 until 1290.) There is documentary evidence to suggest that it was first established between 1740 - 1750, although the earliest identified tombstone dates from 1762. Because of the restrictions on Jews owning land it was leased for a number of years, finally being acquired by the Bristol Jewish Community on 8th August 1859. It continued in use until the early 1900s with the final burial taking place there in 1944. A fire in an adjoining building in 1901 resulted in one the Cemetery walls being demolished by firemen to gain access to the blazing building. As a consequence, a number of tombstones were toppled and graves flattened. The stones were subsequently removed from where they had fallen and laid against the boundary wall without any record of their original location. There are approximately 160 burials at this cemetery included in the Database.

Great Gardens (Temple) Cemetery, Rose Street

In 1811 Lazarus Jacobs, an eminent glass maker, set aside part of his Great Gardens dwelling in Rose Street for use as a private burial ground. This burial ground was purchased from Isaac Jacobs by Moses Abraham in 1830 and, during the mid to late 1800s, was used for a relatively small number of burials, the majority of burials during that period being in the St Philips Cemetery. The Great Gardens site was compulsorily purchased by the Great Western Railway in 1913 to extend the Goods Yard at Temple Meads but it was not until September 1924 that 27 graves and tombstones were removed from there to be re-interred in the Ridgway (Fishponds) Cemetery (see below) under the supervision of Mr. M. Nathan. Only about 50% of these tombstones remain partially legible today.

Ridgway (Fishponds) Cemetery, Eastville

The Ridgway Cemetery was purchased in several stages, the first section being acquired in the late 1890s (the first burial was in 1898). The second section was purchased in the late 1920s with the present prayer house being dedicated in 1933. In 1924, the 27 graves and tombstones were removed from the Great Garden Cemetery to be re-interred in the Ridgway Cemetery. The present prayer house was dedicated in 1933. This cemetery continues in use today. There are approximately 640 burials at this cemetery included in the Database until 2003.

Those buried at this cemetery include:

  • Joseph Abraham - First Jewish Mayor of Bristol in 1865
  • Helen (Strimer) Bloom - First Jewish Lord Mayor of Bristol in 1971


The Bristol Cemeteries' Database Project

The Bristol Jewish Cemetery Project was undertaken by volunteers from of the local Jewish Genealogy Group with the dual aims of providing the Jewish Burial Society (Chevrah Chadisha) with a comprehensive set of records (index and photographs) for its Cemeteries and submitting this information to the Jewish Cemetery Project.

The work was carried out initially during the summer and autumn of 1997 by Sheila and Alan Tobias, Judith Samuel, Michael Hill, Audrey Greenwood, Marlene Sutton, Sam Silverman, Sam Nirenberg and Rabbi Hillel Simon.

Information from the tombstones was supplemented from the following sources:

  • the Bristol Chevrah Chadisha Register of Births and Deaths 1829 - 1894 covering the St. Philips and Rose St. Cemeteries;

  • a listing of the inscriptions from the tombstones in the St Philips Cemetery compiled in 1990 - 1992 by Judith Samuel and the late Rev. Dr. Bernard Susser (original research by David and Simon Jacobs and Lynne Edwards, 1984);

  • the index produced by the Bristol Chevrah Chadisha for the newer sections of the Fishponds Cemetery;

  • a pre-1950 notebook covering the older (original) sections of the Fishponds Cemetery; and

  • the Bristol Chevrah Chadisha's holding of Death Certificates.

In a number of cases, tombstones were identified by matching the Hebrew names and/or dates given on them with those recorded in the death register. Also, the Samuel-Susser listing proved invaluable in verifying the detail and location of a number of fallen or eroded tombstones in the St Philips cemetery.

Wherever possible, details of both date of death and age have been extracted from Bristol Chevrah Chadisha's holding of Death Certificates as these were considered to be the more accurate information source.

The Database

Details of all burials are available on this database, together with images of all legible and partially legible tombstones as well as most of the 20th century Burial Certificates. Required information for any individual may be displayed by first selecting a cemetery and then highlighting the required name from the drop-down list given below. To obtain an enlarged display of a tombstone, click on its image. To view the Burial Certificate, click on the 'Y' if given in the Cert box. Burial Certificates may also be viewed in a separate database by selecting the required name form the drop down list.

The information provided in the database gives for each individual:

  • Full name

  • Date of death

  • Age (where known)

  • Additional data source - Death Certificate (c) or Death Register (r)

  • Notes on state of the tombstone, etc.

  • Cemetery Grave location within cemetery

  • Hebrew name (St. Philips cemetery only)

Some of the records have no surname (illegible, or only Hebrew given names). These can be searched by using UNKNOWN as the surname. Images of legible tombstones may be viewed and downloaded by clicking on the forename of the individual (if highlighted).

SEARCH SOLELY IN THE BRISTOL CEMETERIES DATABASE



 
  Search the All-UK Database (which includes the Bristol Cemeteries Records) 

This database, together with the tombstone images, are provided with the permission of the Bristol Jewish Burial Society (Chevrah Chadisha).


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