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Bunhill Fields, London

Sign at the entrance to Bunhill Fields. View all images in our Bunhill Fields Photo Gallery.
Path through Bunhill Fields on a rainy day.
Tomb of John Bunyan (d.1688), author of The Pilgrim's Progress.
Tombstone of Susanna Wesley (d.1742), mother of the founder of Methodism John Wesley and the hymnwriter Charles Wesley.
Tombstone of William Blake (1757-1827) in Bunhill Fields, London.
Monument to Daniel Defoe (1661-1731), author of Robinson Crusoe. It was erected in 1870 over his grave.
18th-century tomb of the Cromwell family.
Quaker Meeting House adjacent to Bunhill Fields. It is the survivor after bomb damage in 1942 of the Bunhill Memorial Buildings, erected in 1881.
"The Papists they cry, Conform.
And the Turk, he cries, Conform.
And did not the heathen Emperors cry, Conform?
And the Presbyterian, he cried, Conform.
And the Independents...
So everyone that gets the uppermost, and gets the staff of authority, commands...
But no law of Jesus requires it, who said, 'Freely you have received, freely give.'"

--George Fox, nonconformist and founder of the Quakers

Bunhill Fields is a peaceful oasis in the center of the London used by locals and tourists alike to relax and take a break from the bustling city.

It is also a site of great historical and religious significance: Bunhill Fields is unconsecrated ground that has been used for centuries as a burial place for Nonconformists, Dissenters, and other people who died outside of the Church of England.

History

Bunhill originates with the term "Bone Hill" and the area was associated with burials from Saxon times. In 1685, it was set apart as a common cemetery for the interment of bodies for which there wasn't room in their church cemeteries during the Plague.

However, Bunhill didn't end up being used for that purpose, so a Mr. Tindal leased it and converted it into a burial place for the use of dissenters. Later, it was used for any persons who practiced a religion outside of the Church of England.

The cemetery was used until 1855 for approximately 120,000 burials. It was taken over by the City of London in 1867 for use as a green space. Today, about half of Bunhill Fields is a park and the rest remains a fence-enclosed cemetery.

Bunhill Fields graveyard was damaged by German bombing during World War II but reconstructed in 1960.

What to See

Notable graves in Bunhill Fields include:

  • William Blake (1757-1827), poet, and his wife Catherine (1762-1831)
  • John Owen (1616-83), Congregational minister
  • Susanna Wesley (1669-1742), mother of John and Charles Wesley
  • Daniel Defoe (1661-1731), author of Robinson Crusoe
  • John Bunyan (1628-1688), author of The Pilgrim's Progress - his elaborate tomb includes an effigy of Bunyan and bas-reliefs of scenes from his great allegory
  • Isaac Watts (1674-1748), hymnwriter
  • George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers) - in the Quaker Gardens, next to the Bunhill Fields Meeting House

For the tomb, chapel and house of John Wesley, an especially famous nonconformist and founder of Methodism, cross the street to Wesley's Chapel. Legend has it that John aligned his chapel so that it would look straight to his beloved mother's grave.


Quick Facts on Bunhill Fields

Site Information
Names:Bunhill Fields; Bunhill Fields, London
City:London
Country:England
Categories:Cemeteries
Faiths:Christianity; Protestant
Feat:Famous Grave
Dates:1685-1855
Status:monument
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:London, England
Coordinates:51.523558° N, 0.088389° W  (view on Google Maps)
Website:www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Bunhill Fields

Below is a location map and aerial view of Bunhill Fields. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Personal visit (June 24, 2007).
  2. Bunhill Fields - City of London (official site; includes map of graves)
  3. Bunhill Fields Burial Ground - Nonconformist Church History

More Information

Article Info

Title:Bunhill Fields, London
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:12/07/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/england/london-bunhill-fields
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/england/london-bunhill-fields">Bunhill Fields, London</a>