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25 September 2009

Wander in Bunhill Fields

London is so densely packed that often some of the wildest spaces, especially in the centre, are graveyards, and Bunhill Fields on City Road underlines this.

The name is supposedly derived from 'bone-hill' and, though the area was originally much larger, only four acres of the remain, containing the graves of many nonconformists who died between the late seventeenth century and the middle of the nineteenth century, though it was probably used for burials from Saxon times onwards.

The graves of many notable people are here, including John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, poet and painter William Blake and Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe.

The 1852 the Burial Act allowed for the closure of burial grounds such as Bunhill when they became full, and the final burial took place in January 1854. By this time around 120,000 people had been laid to rest on the site.

The future of the site looked uncertain, but following much campaigning an Act of Parliament was passed in 1867 "for the Preservation of Bunhill Fields Burial Ground... as an open space", and it remains open as a community garden today.

For more information, visit the page on the City of London Website.

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