|SWANSEA, West Glamorgan: (2 cemeteries)|
Acquired in 1768 (the original lease is in the Swansea City archives) It is oldest Jewish burial ground in Wales. Subsequently enlarged, in particularly in 1878. It was closed generally in 1965, although there were some subsequent burials. No complete burial records earlier than 1862.
When I visited in 2007 the cemetery was sadly overgrown, the Shatz memorial leaning over considerably & flaking; the cost of replacing it seems impracticable. In 2009 Michael Howard paid for some restoration. The current Chairman of the Congregation has informed me: "Maintenance work continues to be carried out on the cemetery and a few years ago new inside gates were erected." The Cemetery Scribes site states "The 99 year lease for the old burial ground (part of Town Hill) was dated 28 Nov 1768. It was enlarged in 1878 but by 1965 it was practically full." Source: Bryan Diamond [August 2013]
In 2009, the body of Bernard Howard, the father of Michael Howard (later Lord Howard of Lympne), the former head of the Conservative party, was transferred from Townhill Cemetery to the Bushey Jewish cemetery in London. The exhumation was instigated by Mr Howard's wish for his father, who died in 1966, to be buried in the same cemetery as his then recently-deceased mother. A team from United Synagogue, also carried out a two-day restoration of the cemetery. The following press release appeared on the official website of the United Synagogue [Source: David Shulman, Webmaster of JCR-UK]:
"Michael Howard has helped to pay for the restoration of a vandalised Jewish cemetery in Swansea, where his father was buried. The United Synagogue's burial team was asked to restore Townhill Cemetery, which is now closed, by Mr Howard and the local Jewish community. Mr Howard, the former Conservative leader, offered to pay for some of the team's expenses and asked for his father, who was buried there in 1966, to be moved to Bushey cemetery to join his late mother. The team spent two days restoring knocked over stones and cutting back overgrown brambles in the cemetery, which is not affiliated to the US. Melvyn Hartog, head of burial services at the US, said: "The restoration of a non-US cemetery is not something we would normally get involved in but we felt we couldn't leave the cemetery in such disrepair."
There is a tombstone "sacred to the memory of Levi Michael of Swansea, who died 29th of November, 5602 (1841) in the 87th year of his age, beloved by his family and friends and esteemed and respected by all who knew him. He is supposed to have been the first of the Jewish persuasion ever born in the Principality of Wales" - Source; extract from article in the Cambrian newspaper 29 January 1897. For full article, see "The Jews Burying Ground" on JCR-UK, David Shulman, Webmaster of JCR-UK [February 2016].
Access: Surrounded by high rubble stone walls. Locked. Key with Swansea Hebrew Congregation - (+44) 1792 475 400.
This is the new Jewish Cemetery, opened in 1962.
|Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2016 20:45|