City of Sunderland Jewish Community

Tyne and Wear




Page created: 1 August 2019
Latest revision or modification 23 December 2021

Sunderland Jewish Cemeteries


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 burial page.

Grave locations (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.

Please ensure that JavaScript is enabled in your browser before making a selection above.

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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