The English Cemetery

Why is there an English Cemetery in Malaga? William Mark was the British Consul in Malaga between 1824 and 1836. At that time Spain was a very Catholic country and it was prohibited for any Protestant to be buried in any Catholic cemetery or churchyard. Protestants had to be buried at the seashore at night during low time, upright, and looking at the sea. Many times the tide would wash up the bodies onto the shore and dogs would tear them up or the sea would wash them offshore. This was a very cruel and barbaric custom.

William Mark applied diplomatic pressure on the Spanish king and finally in 1830 King Ferdernado VII allowed the establishment of Protestant cemeteries in Spain in towns where there were British Consuls. Mark obtained local permission to acquire land for a small cemetery about a mile from the center of town, and this is where the English Cemetery is now located.

The grave of the Irish rebel, Robert Boyd, who fought with General Torrijos for the liberal cause in 1831 and was executed, is in the Inner Cemetery. Also there are the shell graves of children who died in epidemics of the era. There is a monument to Robert Boyd, shown in the second picture down.

In 1840 a small chapel was built in the cemetery. This was enlarged in 1891 and is now St. George’s Anglican Church. This church has beautiful Doric columns. In 1856 a Gothic style gatehouse was built and used as the home of the cemetery gardener. In 2005 this building was remodeled into a giftshop for the church and is manned by volunteers from the church.

Hans Christian Andersen visited Malaga in 1862 and visited the English Cemetery. This became his favorite spot in the city. Among the famous people who are buried in the cemetery are William Mark. So is the writer Gerald Brenan of Bloomsbury fame. He came to Andalusia and fell in love with it and lived for a long time here in Churriana.

There are some Spanish non-Catholics buried also, such as Jorge Guillen, the prolific poet, literary critic and winner of the prestigious Cervantes Prize. Guillen is one of a group of talented poets -- among them Federico Garcia Lorca, Rafael Alberti, Pedro Salinas, Luis Cernuda and Vicente Aleixandre -- known as " the Generation of 27". His second wife, Irene Mochi-Sismondi is buried in the same grave.

 The Finnish writer Aarne Viktor Haapakoski, "Outsider", is buried high on the hill.

In 1900 the Gneisenau, a German Imperial Navy ship sank in the port of Malaga during a fierce storm. Many people from Malaga risked their lives to save many survivors. The German government later donated money for the German’s Bridge (Puente de los Alemanes) across the Guadalmedina River. Those who died are in a common grave in the English Cemetery and there is a monument to them.

The city no longer allows burials of people unless they have been cremated beforehand. The gift shop has a diagram showing where the famous people have been buried.

The English Cemetery in Malaga, previously owned by the British government, is now the responsibility of The English Cemetery in Malaga Foundation, the President of which is the British Consul in Malaga.

 

 

Address:

English Cemetery, about 300m east of the Malaga bullring.
Avenida de Pries, 1

Hours:

9:30 am to 2:30 pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

9:00 am to 1:00 pm Sunday.

Closed Mondays.

Admission: By donation or Euro 1