the cemetery

Originally known as the Northern Cemetery, Salford’s second public burial ground was opened in 1903. Planning started in 1896 when Salford Corporation purchased 45 acres of land outside the Borough of Salford in neighbouring Pendlebury from Robert Dauntesey of Agecroft Hall . At £600 per acre the expense was considerable but growing concern that Salford Cemetery (later renamed Weaste) would soon reach full capacity drove the initiative. However, newspaper reports of some very lively council meetings reveal that income generation from burials was also a factor in building Salford’s second civic cemetery.

Agecroft cemetery layout Corbett 1903
The layout of the the Northern cemetery at Agecroft was designed by Joseph Corbett, Salford’s borough engineer. Concerned with public health and welfare Corbett undertook improvements to control flooding along the River Irwell. At Agecroft he included a riverside embankment in the cemetery scheme.  The cemetery absorbed the Agecroft Grange Farm on the corner of  Langley and Agecroft Roads. The layout of the cemetery remains unchanged and, with the exception of the Roman Catholic chapel, all the Sharp and Foster buildings are extant.
Agecroft conveyance Dauntesey Salford 1900
Conveyance of the 45 acres of land from the Agecroft Estate for the purpose of a new cemetery for Salford Corporation, March 1900
Agecroft cemetery conveyance Dauntesey Salford 1900
First page of the conveyance between Robert Dauntesey and the Mayor of Salford.
Agecroft conveyance map Dauntesey Salford
Plan of the land to be conveyed to the Corporation for the Salford Northern Cemetery. The  plan shows the position of  Agecroft Grange Farm at the junction of Agecroft Lane and Langley Road. The River Irwell and the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal and Agecroft Bridge are clearly marked on the plan.










As with Weaste Cemetery several sites for Salford’s second public burial ground were considered before a final decision was reached. In 1896 one of the front runners was Summerville, Lees Knowles’ estate at Irlams o’ th’ Height. However, despite its location in neighbouring Pendlebury, Agecroft was the final choice largely in part because of the necessity to comply with legislation regarding proximity of housing to burial sites.

In October 1897 the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser carried the following report on the discussions taking place:- 

Dauntesey portrait Agecroft Jacomb-Hood 1890
Robert Dauntesey of Agecroft Hall painted circa 1890 by the society painter George Percy Jacomb-Hood.  The Jack Russell, gun and country-style tweeds refer to Dauntesey’s love of game hunting. Dauntesey died in 1904 aged 61 and is buried nearby in St Paul’s Kersal.

A Cemetery for Salford. The Mayor moved the adoption of the following resolution from the Cemeteries’ Committee: That the Council recommend to purchase from Robert Dauntesey Esq the land between Langely road, Agecroft lane and the river Irwell, containing about 45 statute acres, upon the conditions agreed upon, at the price of £600 per acre (including the area of the farm house and outbuildings) for the formation thereon of a cemetery for the borough, subject to the approval of the Lords of Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Home Secretary being obtained thereto; and also to instruct the Town Clerk to make the necessary application for such approval, and prepare the necessary contract for purchase of such land. He said that for years the necessity for an additional cemetery for the borough had been obvious. There had been difficulty finding a proper piece of land because the Act of Parliament insisted that cemeteries should not be nearer than 100 yards to the nearest dwelling house. He might tell them that the present cemetery was rapidly filling up, and as it must be three or four years before they might get the new one into use it was time they got to work. When they visited the site he was sure they would see it was the best that they could have chosen. They would not regret spending the money, as the Cemetery Committee was a trading concern, and a paying one. It was a trading committee. Several members: Oh no. (laughter.) Alderman William Robinson: It is too grave to laugh at. (Laughter.) Mr. Hudson seconded the motion. Alderman Mandley asked if this land was not all undermined by collieries, and where they would be if a great explosion took place in the mines? The Mayor: Are you afraid of killing somebody? The Town Clerk said he had been shown the plans, which showed that mines had been got under a small portion the land, and powers were reserved to go under the rest. But it is an absolute certainty that those powers would never be put into operation, as there was a throw, or fault, of 1,000 yards’ depth before the coal could be got at. The Mayor: As it is thousand yards below, I don’t think explosion will do us much harm. Alderman B. Robinson said the matter had been sprung on the Council, and he suggested that it should be held over till next month. After some discussion this course was adopted.

Agecroft Grange Farm
agecroft hall grange farm 1891
Agecroft Grange Farm in relation to Agecroft hall in 1891. The farm was included in the sale of the 45 acres of land in 1900 and is mentioned in the conveyance of that year. Agecroft Grange, later known as Agecroft Farm was not demolished, however, and continued to function as a farm until after World War II. The site of the farm buildings is now partly covered by the Agecroft Crematorium car park.

The Ward family farmed at Agecroft Grange for several decades. James Ward was born in 1854 in Manchester and had been a joiner and victualler on Oldfield Road before taking on Agecroft Grange farm. In 1911 Ward was living at the farm with his wife Harriet, their eight children, James’s aunt, who at 70 is recorded as a dairy hand, and two labourers. Three of James’s sons are recorded in the census as butchers so there may have been an abbatoir in the locality. In the early twentieth century the Manchester newspapers contain many advertisements associated with the farm from which we can deduce that the Ward family were raising pigs and hens, selling milk and eggs and also dealing in livestock. The farm buildings, within the perimeter of the cemetery, appear on several maps well into the twentieth century. Click on the link for more information about the Ward family.