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Stoke-on-Trent Districts: Burslem Cemetery


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Burslem Cemetery, Nettlebank, Hanley Road, Burslem

The internment of Arnold Bennett's ashes

Internment at Burslem Cemetery

"In accordance with the unanimous decision of the near relatives, and in pursuance of the believed desire of the writer himself; the ashes of Mr Arnold Bennett, were interred at Burslem Cemetery today, the service being of the simplest and most private character.
The only mourners present as the beautiful and hallowed words of the committal prayers were recited were the widow (Mrs Arnold Bennett), Mrs Beardmore (the eldest sister) and Mr Frank Bennett (brother).

Though the ceremony was thus so characteristic of the austere and the retiring nature of North Staffordshire's greatest interpreter, there was not lacking the companionship of the sights and sounds which he knew and described so well.

The brilliant freshness of the cemetery green, beneath the sunny sky, contrasted with the overlooking grey pitmound, which shut out the view of "Bursley." Away to the left the hill could be seen climbed by "Trafalgar road." A slight breeze sighed through the trees, and in the distance an engine working on the colliery sidings could be heard, its continuous "chuff -chuff" being softened almost to a croon.

The internment was in the grave where Arnold Bennett's mother and grand-parents lie - on the east side of the chapel, near the centre of the cemetery. Above the grave there is a grey granite monument.

On one side is the inscription: "In loving memory of Sarah Anne Bennett, daughter of Robert and Frances Longson, born 27th July, 1840. Died 23rd November, 1914."


On the other sides are the inscriptions: "In loving memory of Robert Longson, of Burslem, who died February 14th, 1892, aged 84 years;" and "In memoriam. Frances, the devoted wife of Robert Longson, of Burslem, who fell asleep in Jesus, November 3rd, 1884,
in the 71st year of her age."

The fourth side of the monument has not yet been used. No decision has yet been reached as to any inscription being placed there in memory of Arnold Bennett.

Exceptional precautions had been taken to secure the privacy of the service, and even the officiating clergyman - the Rev A L Lamb, Rector of Burslem - was not informed until he entered the cemetery office today the identity of the ashes over whom he was to read the service.

The ashes were conveyed from Colder 's Green Crematorium today by train, accompanied by Mr T Bridgman (of Messrs J Kenyon Ltd, London, the under-takers). In the same train Mrs Bennett and Mrs Beardmore travelled to Stoke. Mr Frank Bennett travelled to Stoke from Rochdale today, and there met the ashes, and the party proceeded by car to the cemetery. The two ladies waited at the graveside, while Mr Bennett and Mr Kenyon went
to the cemetery lodge, there meeting Mr Myatt, superintendent Registrar of the City Cemeteries, and Mr A Walker, Assistant Registrar at Burslem Cemetery.

Led by the Rector of Burslem, the party - consisting of Mr Bennett, Mr Myatt and Mr Bridgman - then made their way slowly to the grave. Mr Bennett himself carried the ashes, which were contained in a bronze casket of severe, but graceful design, on which was inscribed, in plain Roman lettering: "Enoch Arnold Bennett, died 27th March, 1931, aged 63 years."

Thus, though the suggestions that the internment should take place in the Potters' Corner in Stoke Parish Church, or elsewhere in circumstances permitting public homage to North Staffordshire's distinguished son, have been overruled the district has received back its own. Enoch Arnold Bennett travelled widely and achieved greatly in many fields, but it is fitting that the soil which he trod in youth, and trod again so often in imagination, should afford his ashes their last resting place."

Evening Sentinel, 22 July 1931

inscription on Bennett's memorial
inscription on Bennett's memorial

"The fourth side of the monument has not yet been used. No decision has yet been reached as to any inscription being placed there in memory of Arnold Bennett."

following the internment the 'fourth side' did have a simple inscription added to commemorate this great author.   


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previous: the chapel / Edwin Clayhanger