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The English Cemetery
A short history
The English Cemetery in Malaga, where St George’s Church stands, is the result of the inspiration and concern of William Mark who was British Consul in Malaga from 1824 until 1836. In the eight years he had lived in Malaga before his appointment as Consul he had looked "with great disgust” on the way Protestants had to buried on the sea shore at dead of night. Due to his persistent efforts he was finally given permission to create a permanent cemetery outside the walls of the city. This is the old walled cemetery, as it still exists today, finished in 1831 and containing its poignant collection of graves covered with seashells.
The Royal Decree ceding the land for the cemetery to the British Government was issued in April 1830, and the following year the first protestant cemetery in Spain was established. It now covers over 8,000 sq. m. and contains more than 1000 graves. The cemetery is also a botanical garden with a number of unusual specimens of trees and plants. With several well-known people buried there, it has become one of Malaga’s historical sites. The English Cemetery is a beautiful and well-visited place of peace and quiet in the middle of a bustling city of over half-a-million people.
During the years immediately after 1830 the cemetery was greatly extended, and in 1839-40 a “lodge temple” was built in classical style with a small chapel and incorporating the cemetery guard’s dwelling. With its fine Doric columns, this structure was adapted and enlarged in 1890-91 to become the present St George’s Anglican Church. In 1856 a Gatehouse was constructed in Gothic style at the entrance to the Cemetery.
The English Cemetery today
While the church is administered by the Chaplaincy, the cemetery, previously owned by the British government, is now the responsibility of The English Cemetery in Malaga Foundation, the President of which is the former British Consul in Malaga. Although the cemetery had been the property of the British Government since its While inception, no funds had been provided for its upkeep for many years. The Malaga Ayuntamiento already recognized the cemetery as an important part of the city’s history, and the idea of setting up a charitable Foundation was conceived as a way of raising funds for the cemetery’s restoration and maintenance.
In 2006, ownership was transferred to the English Cemetery in Malaga Foundation, a nonprofit organisation founded to preserve, maintain and manage the monument as part of the historical legacy of the city.
The English Cemetery in Malaga was designated a site of Cultural Interest in Andalusia in 2012 and is registered with the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe (ASCE) thanks to its great historical and botanical value.
For more information about the English Cemetery in Malaga and about the Cemetery Foundation, please go to www.cementerioinglesmalaga.org