Holy Souls Cemetery


Holy Souls Cemetery is a peaceful place away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Bristol city centre life. It is located adjacent to Arnos Vale Cemetery on Bath Road, Bristol



About the Cemetery:

All burial plots within the cemetery have now been purchased, meaning, unfortunately, we are not able to provide resting places for those who haven’t already purchased a burial plot.

A remembrance garden is situated in the centre of the cemetery. It has been created to remember the dearly departed. Here you will find a bench to sit and contemplate for a while.

Holy Souls is the last resting place of over 60 military personnel from five different nations and is registered with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Holy Souls contains 52 First World War burials, mostly of men who died at the local hospitals, particularly the 2nd Southern General and the Beaufort, many of whom were landed at Avonmouth from hospital ships from the Mediterranean. Forty of the graves form a war plot, marked by a screen wall bearing the names of the dead. The cemetery also contains 11 Second World War burials and 10 Belgian and Portuguese war graves.

There is a Chapel within the Cemetery of Holy Souls, and this available for hire at a charge. If you are interested, please contact the Property Services Team at Clifton Diocese on property.servies@cliftondiocese.com or call on 0117 902 5592.

Buried within the Chapel of Holy Souls are five previous Bishops of Clifton: Bishop Thomas Lawrence, Bishop William Brownlow, Bishop George Burton, Bishop William Lee and Bishop Joseph Rudderham.

A Bit of History:

Originally, a building was gifted to the Diocese of Clifton by the generosity of a businessman from Liverpool by the name William Austin Gillow. He wished to see the establishment of a convent and reformatory for women on the site.

Gillow married Agness Markland of Clifton and the land where the cemetery of Holy Souls now stands came as part of her dowry. The buildings of the Convent, known as The Good Shepherd Convent, still exists and is now Arnos Vale Manor Hotel.

The land was acquired in three sections. The front being part of the original convent land, the back section was then added, this was part of a related estate, then finally the land of the estate was included.

This land became a cemetery in 1860, however, the first burial wasn’t until 1867.

Burials and Memorial Services:

Please contact: property.services@cliftondiocese.com or on 0117 902 5592 or ask your  Funeral Director to make contact.

In your first point of contact, please ensure you have the following information so that the process is as smooth and as stress-free as possible:

  • Family Grave Plot Number – if this is unknown, please provide the names of the previous internments within the grave plot, including the year of passing. Any additional information which you think may be as of use is welcomed.
  • Deceased Details – we will require the full name and date of passing of the deceased you are enquiring for.
  • Burial Details – What is your preferred date and time for the burial? Will it be a coffin burial or an internment of ashes? Do you require use of the chapel?

Please provide the details listed above as a minimum so that we can work as effectively as possible to meet your requirements for the burial. Once we have all of the information, we will contact the grave digger to ensure the preferred date and time is available, and we will get that booked in for you. You will be sent an order of internment form which must be filled out and signed before the burial takes place. An invoice will be sent to you which will be discussed at the time, and this will need to be returned to the Clifton Diocese Property Services Office before the burial takes place.

If you require use of the Chapel within the cemetery, please let us know so that we may ensure that it is unlocked and ready for family, friends and loved ones.

If you would like to change, add, or erect a memorial stone, please let us know as you will need to complete a memorial application permit. This will also need to be returned and include payment before these works proceed, but again, this can be discussed in more detail at the point of contact.

All of this can be corresponded through the funeral director if that is your preference, and they may fill out the forms on your behalf.

Grave Search Enquiries:

If you would like to try and locate a loved one within Holy Souls Cemetery, please send all enquiries to: property.services@cliftondiocese.com, alternatively call on 0117 902 5592. Please provide the below when detailing your enquiry:

  • Full Name of the deceased
  • Year of passing (include the year of burial if different)
  • Grave Plot number if known – if unknown leave blank
  • Other internments – Who was the first internment? Please provide their full name and year of death and burial.

Please note that there is a fee for searches.    The search will provide you with  confirmation that the loved one is buried within this cemetery, information which we hold on this person, plus all of the internments within the same plot and  the location of the plot within the cemetery.   Please note that not all searches are successful and we may not be able to locate the plot.