Boundary stones mark the divisions between the 13 parish areas of the cemetery. The boundary lines between adjacent parishes are all straight, so each boundary (with two exceptions) is marked by a boundary stone at either end.

The boundary lines

13 parishes, 13 x 4 = 52 boundary lines. However, the designers of the cemetery devised a clever way of marking out the parishes that required only 14 of those boundary lines. They disregarded all lines running along walls and (with one exception) the central path, and any other lines running north-south. Of the 14 lines that remained, 12 were marked by a stone at either end bearing identical inscriptions. Two needed a stone at only one end.

The boundary stones

14 lines, 14 x 2 = 28, minus 2 = 26. Each stone has an inscription on either its single face (e.g. ‘St. A. G. P. | St. E. P.’) if it is a wall stone, or two of its opposite faces, (e.g. ‘St. C. P.’ and ‘St. A. L. P.’ = St Clement’s Parish and St Andrew the Less Parish) if it is a free-standing stone beside a path or in open grass.

How precisely the boundary lines between these stone were adhered to is a matter of speculation. Perhaps the sextons overseeing the cemetery ran a length of string from the stone marking one end of the boundary line to that at the other whenever a grave was to be located near the boundary.

The bill for the stones

The bill for supplying the boundary stones was supplied two weeks after the cemetery had been opened, and reads as follows:

Jonson: Nov[ember] 22 [18]48
Bound[ary] Stones
£6 ‒. ‒.

[To] Revd Maddison
of Thomas Jonson

[Date] [Item] £
Oct To 18 Stones Posts
10 ditto Tablets
for the new Cemetry ground 5. 12. ‒.
for fixing 1 day. ‒. 8. ‒.
[Total] 6. 0. 0.

1848 Nov 22nd
[signed:] Thomas Jonson

(NB These sums are in pounds, shillings and pence)

Source: Cambridgeshire County Archive, R72/054, Records of Francis & Co. solicitors, Cambridge Parochial Burial Grounds (Mill Road): accounts 1844-1868

By Ian Bent