Lost Graveyards – Wellington St Crypt

When the Associate Congregation of Anderston left their premises in Cheapside Street in 1828, it moved into a new building in Wellington Street, designed by architect John Baird.  Images of the church can be viewed on the Lost Glasgow website.

The church had a crypt in which interments were regularly made. The use of intramural and crypt burials was becoming increasingly discredited and it had been long prohibited in France and Germany. Although public health experts had yet to make an accurate connection between disease prevention and burial practices (the miasma theory still prevailed), the link was recognised.  

“During the last twelvemonths, eleven burials took place in the Wellington Street Church crypt – that is, within the very same place in which one of the nost numerous and respectable congregations of the city assemble, Sabbath by Sabbath, for worship…  Surely it would be only wise and prudent, on the part of those who hold private lairs there, to discontinue interments voluntarily and acquire grounds in some of the extramural cemeteries, which have the recommendation of being far apart from the crowded dwellings of man, and at the same time moderate in price.”

The Glasgow Herald 1849

The problem was ultimately solved when the Wellington Street Church congregation decided to leave the soot, smells and noise of Glasgow city for the fresh air of the western suburbs and new premises on University Avenue.  The old church was put up for sale, and the bodies buried in the crypt were removed to the Glasgow Necropolis and buried in a large plot in compartment Alpha.  It is estimated a minimum of 708 bodies were reinterred.  None of the people are identifiable unless a headstone had subsequently been erected on the new grave.  In a small number of cases, burials continued in these graves but the practice soon ceased.

No burial registers are known.  The names of lairholders in 1870 are held by Glasgow City Archives.  No monumental inscription lists are known.

[My thanks go to Morag Fyfe for information relating to this burial ground which was published in the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis newsletter Grave Matters Number 1, Autumn 2017, based on her article in the FHS Newsletter, No. 28, November 1988 entitled “A Note on Burials transferred from Wellington Street U.P. Church to Glasgow Necropolis in 1879”.]

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