Only a fraction of London's monumental inscriptions survive today. It can be helpful to search surveys of church cemeteries made in the past, when more gravestones were intact, and before churches were demolished.
Up to the mid-1800s, most London burials took place in churchyards. For further information on these burial grounds, see specific London parish pages. Due to overcrowding, municipal cemeteries, located outside of the historic City of London, such as New Bunhill Fields, became popular.
In addition to the city churches, other popular burial grounds in medieval and early modern London included:
- Austin Friars
- Crutched Friars
- Mercer's Chapel
- Rolls Chapel
- St Anthony's Hospital
- St Mary Magdalen Guildhall
Bunhill Fields burial ground, opened in 1665 to inter Londoners who died in the Great Plague, was in operation until 1854. Approximately 120,000 burials took place there. Bunhill Fields Burial Ground database at Find A Grave. (175+ entries)The 'Magnificent Seven' Greater London cemeteries opened in the nineteenth century were (with years opened):
- (1832) Kensal Green Cemetery database at Find A Grave. (1,500+ entries)
- (1837) West Norwood Cemetery database at Find A Grave. (1,900+ entries); official website
- (1839) Highgate Cemetery (East) database at Find A Grave. (175+ entries); Highgate Cemetery (West) database at Find A Grave. (665+ entries)
- (1840) Abney Park Cemetery database at Find A Grave. (4,500+ entries)
- (1840) Nunhead Cemetery database at Find A Grave.
- (1840) Brompton Cemetery (aka West London Cemetery, Westminster Cemetery) database at Find A Grave. (950+ entries)
- (1841) Tower Hamlets Cemetery database at Find A Grave.
Beginning in 1854, thousands of East Enders were buried in Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey (also known as the London Necropolis). It is the largest cemetery in the UK and one of the largest in the world. Until World War II, funeral trains ran from Waterloo station directly to the Cemetery. Brookwood Cemetery database at Find A Grave. (614+ entries) The official Brookwood Cemetery site offers a grave search for a fee.
Large Victorian cemeteries include:
Major modern cemeteries include:
- Wandsworth Cemetery, London BillionGraves
- City of London Cemetery and Crematorium database at Find A Grave. (1,850+ entries)
For early monuments inside London churches, see:
- Weever, John. Ancient Funeral Monuments in Great Britain &c. 1631; reprint, London: W. Tooke, 1767. Digitized by Internet Archive. City of London begins on page 413.
- Fisher, Payne and G. Blacker Morgan. Catalogue of the Tombs in the Churches of the City of London, A.D. 1666. 1668; reprint, London: Hasell, Watson, Viney, Ld., 1885. Digitized by Internet Archive.
- Oliver, Andrew. A List of Monumental Brasses in the City of London Churches. 1891. Digitized by Internet Archive. (41 brasses)
The Churchyard Inscriptions of the City of London (1910) is available online.
A very useful guide to published monumental inscriptions appeared in the Genealogists' Magazine in the late 1920s and early 1930s:
- "A Bibliography of Monumental Inscriptions in the City and County of London," Genealogists' Magazine, Vol. 5 (1929-1931):406-408; Vol. 6 (1932-1934):22-23, 68-69, 107-109, 285, 439-441, 503 and 561.
Raymond has compiled an extensive list of publications of City of London monumental inscriptions.
For a modern guide to London's burial grounds, see:
- Wolfson, Patricia S. and Cliff Webb. Greater London Cemeteries and Crematoria. London: Society of Genealogists Enterprises Ltd., c2005, 2007. FHL Book 942.1/L1 V34w 2005.
- Cemetery Records (London Metropolitan Archives Information Leaflet)
- Deceased Online. Includes London Borough of Brent, London Borough of Camden, London Borough of Havering, London Borough of Islington, and London Borough of Merton monumental inscriptions.
- The London Burial Grounds. History, cemetery photographs. David Orme took an 1897 description of the city church cemeteries and updated it with additional sources and modern observations.
- Brookwood Cemetery. History, cemetery chapel, cemetery map, grave search, famous graves.
- Cliff Webb, My Ancestors were Londoners: A Guide to London Sources for Family Historians (London: Society of Genealogists, 2009), 22.
- Cemetery Records, London Metropolitan Archives Information Leaflet Number 5, http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/0EA11147-00CB-4F00-8DB6-EEBDA39E5F22/0/5CEMETERYRECORDS.pdf, accessed 17 January 2012.
- Payne Fisher and G. Blacker Morgan, Catalogue of the Tombs in the Churches of the City of London, A.D. 1666 (1668; reprint, London: Hasell, Watson, Viney, Ld., 1885).
- Email, Dr. Brian Swann to Nathan W. Murphy, 20 April 2012.
- Stuart A. Raymond, London and Middlesex: A Genealogical Bibliography (Birmingham, UK: Federation of Family History Societies, c1997). Vol. 1:39-42. FHL 942.1 D27r 1997 v. 1.