Cardiff Jewish Community

South Glamorgan, Wales




Page created: 21 September 2020
Latest modification: 23 December 2021

Highfield Road (Orthodox) Jewish Cemetery


The 2nd Marquess of Bute donated land for Highfield Cemetery to the Jews of Cardiff in about 1841, although the first burial appears to be that of Abraham Lyons on 9 July 1852. Before that time, the Jewish deceased of Cardiff were taken to Merthyr Tydfil or Bristol for burial, and the new cemetery marked the beginning of an independent Jewish community in Cardiff.

A tablet over the gateway (shown below) refers to Mark, Solomon and Samuel Marks to whom the land was donated. Mark and Solomon were sons of two of the first arrivals in Cardiff, whilst Samuel Marks came from Middlesex.

The cemetery is shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1881, although there was no obvious structure. A track leads to an open area in the S.W. corner. The entrance structure is clearly marked on the 1920 O.S.M. and there is infill of graves further North, as well as an extension on the West side.

In this present exercise, every endeavour has been made to identify and locate all persons buried in the cemetery.

Before local synagogues joined to become Cardiff United Synagogue, each separate congregation had access to its own area within the cemetery. Such was the lack of co-operation and rivalry between certain members at that time, walls were built to separate various areas within the grounds. These were later demolished. Hence locating and researching Highfield Cemetery has not been easy. Much documentation was lost when the River Taff overflowed its banks in the 1970s, and some of the records stored in the basement of Cathedral Road Synagogue were destroyed.

It is evident from the older record books that rows have been renumbered more than once, and hence the location of some graves is unclear. Also during WW1 and WW2 record keeping was sometimes imprecise. For these listings, the original surviving registers were consulted, as well as material from the Glamorgan Archive Centre that was deposited when both Cathedral Road Synagogue and Cyncoed Synagogue closed.

In the early 1960s, it became apparent that the Highfield Road Cemetery was no longer large enough to accommodate the needs of the growing Orthodox Jewish community in Cardiff and accordingly the Cardiff United Synagogue acquired a new cemetery in Greenfarm Road, Ely (see Cardiff Ely Orthodox Jewish Cemetery, including database). Most burials now take place in the new cemetery and Highfield Road is practically full with only a few reserved plots remaining unoccupied.

The history of the Highfield Cemetery was researched by Mike Hawkins, a volunteer helper at the Jewish History Association of South Wales. It is reproduced here by his kind permission.

The Prayer Hall (Ohel) at the cemetery contains a number of memorial/dedication plaques which can be viewed on a separate page here.

This database contains nearly 1,800 burial records, with some 1,470 headstone images, and covers all burials and consecrations up to July 2020. A plan of the cemetery layout can be found here.

Information for any individual may be displayed by first selecting the appropriate surname letter from the list below and then selecting the required name from its drop-down list.

Important Notes:

Dates that appear in these listings are derived from early burial records, copies of Synagogue registers and also from the details which are on readable gravestones in Highfield Road cemetery. When dates from these sources are not available, because of broken or unreadable memorial stones, information from Birth, Marriages and Deaths on line has yielded some data about deceased persons.

Dates of passing and dates of burial seem not to have been recorded accurately in some cases in the past, so the date given for Date of Death may not be exact and families should ensure that a correct date is used for a yahrzeit.

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Acknowledgements: These cemetery records are provided through a Project coordinated by Anthony Blasebalk, chairman of the Cardiff Chevrah Kaddishah. Grants were provided by the C.U.S. Council and also by Pencare, a charity formed after the Penylan Nursing and Retirement Home was sold. Many thanks are due to Lisa Gerson and Judy Cotsen, respective Chairpersons of these organisations, for their help and co-operation, to Philip Stewart, Dr. Joel Levy and Gina Marks for headstone images, to Avril Blasebalk for her invaluable support, correlating and typing, and to the many volunteers who transcribed the cemetery records and digitised them. Finally, thanks to Alan Tobias for assembly of this on-line database for JCR-UK, and JCR-UK Webmaster - David Shulman. (The GPS enhancements were developed by Alan and Derek Tobias.)

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