The first Jewish settlement in Sunderland was in 1755 and the first congregation was established in
about 1768. Sunderland was the first regional community to be represented on the Board of Deputy of
British Jews. A vibrant Jewish community, numbering almost 1,400 individuals by the mid-1960's,
developed in the town. However, the numbers dramatically dwindled to a mere handful by the mid-2000's,
with the last remaining synagogue closing in 2006.
The following four cemeteries have been used, consecutively, by the Jewish Community in Sunderland:
- Ayers Quay Cemetery
This is the earliest known of the Sunderland Jewish cemeteries, in use from about the 1770's until 1856.
Although it is estimated that up to 500 persons may have been buried at the cemetery, the site,
some distance from the Jewish community, has been neglected, is overgrown and has been the object
of vandalism over the years.
All that remains visible and legible is a broken monument and two headstones. The monument bears the
inscription - "This monument was erected by the children of David Jonassohn of Usworth Hall, Durham,
in memory of his beloved parent who died on the 25th July 1859 in the sixty fourth year of ......".
One headstone is inscribed (in English) - "In memory of Leah Louise Lee, Widow of the late
Aaron Levi Lee...", and the other stone bears the Hebrew inscription to Reb Moshe, son of Reb. Shlomo,
who died aged 67 and whose date of death appears to be Friday 8 Nisan 5615 (which, if correct,
corresponds to 25th May 1855.) The remaining text on the stones was not decipherable.
- First Bishopwearmouth Cemetery
This Section of the cemetery, in use from 1856 to 1899, is at the northeastern corner of the main Bishopwearmouth
Cemetery, adjacent to Hylton Road, Sunderland, and contains over 100 graves. The inscriptions
on many of the stones are still legible. A list of most of those known those buried here appears
as an Appendix to Arnold Levy's "History of the Sunderland Jewish Community 1755-1955", Macdonald & Co.
(Publishers) Ltd., 1956.
- Second Bishopwearmouth Cemetery
This Section of the cemetery, in use from 1899 to 1926, is situated in the central section of the western side of of
the main Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland.
- Third Bishopwearmouth Cemetery
This Section of the cemetery, dating from 1926 and still in use, is to the northwest of the main Bishopwearmouth Cemetery,
Sunderland. It is accessible from Hylton Road.
Details of all burials in the 3 sections of the Bishopwearmouth Cemetery are provided in
this database, together with images of all legible and partially legible headstones. The available
burial register included a number of burials for which no headstones were ever erected or have survived.
The locations of these burials have been included in this database.
The overall layout of the Sunderland Cemetery can be viewed here,
while details of the row assignments in the Jewish sections can be viewed:
here - First Bishopwearmouth Section
here - Second Bishopwearmouth Section
here - Third Bishopwearmouth Section
The term 'Unconsectrated Grave' is used to describe graves for which the deceased has been
identified (from the burial records) but where no headstone or plaque has been consecrated.
This database covers all burials, consecrations and headstone renovations carried out prior to 31 May 2019
(approximately 1500 graves).
Photographs of headstones in the Bishopwearmouth Cemetery have been taken on several occasions over the
last 15-20 years and, in a number of instances, have shown the gradual erosion and deterioration in the
state of the stones. For the present purposes, it was decided to include the images which displayed the
inscriptions with the greatest clarity and legibility.
Information for any individual may be displayed by first selecting the appropriate surname letters
from the list below and then selecting the required name from its corresponding
drop-down list. Navigation to the next or previous burial plot in the
Section/Row is achieved by clicking the appropriate link on the individual
(accurate to about a metre) can be displayed on a Google satellite image via the
button provided on each burial page. Note that, although the grave location will
always be identified, the image may not contain details of some of the most
recent row additions to the cemetery.
This database has been created through the efforts and support of Alan Tobias, David Gordon,
Malcolm Sender and Robert da Costa. The GPS enhancements were developed by Alan and Derek Tobias.
Webmaster - David Shulman.
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