Portland stone pedestal tomb with urn, c.1833
Reason for Listing
The monument to Edward Macklew is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Design interest: a large and unusually richly-carved Neoclassical monument of the 1830s;
* Historic interest: one of the earliest monuments at Kensal Green, commemorating the fourth person to be buried at the cemetery;
* Group value: with other listed monuments within the Grade I registered Kensal Green Cemetery.
Edward Macklew (d. 1st March 1833) was only the fourth person to be buried in the newly-established Kensal Green Cemetery. Little is known about him, although he was clearly a man of means: his will, which describes him as a ‘Gentleman of Piccadilly’, includes charitable bequests totalling £3,500 to organisations including the Middlesex Hospital, St George’s Hospital, the Female Orphan Asylum, Lambeth and the ‘Society in Craven-street for the Discharge and Relief of Persons Imprisoned for Small Debts’.
The Cemetery of All Souls at Kensal Green was the earliest of the large privately-run cemeteries established on the fringes of London to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. Its founder George Frederick Carden intended it as an English counterpart to the great Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, which he had visited in 1821. In 1830, with the financial backing of the banker Sir John Dean Paul, Carden established the General Cemetery Company, and two years later an Act of Parliament was obtained to develop a 55-acre site at Kensal Green, then among open fields to the west of the metropolis. An architectural competition was held, but the winning entry – a Gothic scheme by HE Kendall – fell foul of Sir John's classicising tastes, and the surveyor John Griffith of Finsbury was eventually employed both to lay out the grounds and to design the Greek Revival chapels, entrance arch and catacombs, which were built between 1834 and 1837. A sequence of royal burials, beginning in 1843 with that of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, ensured the cemetery’s popularity. It is still administered by the General Cemetery Company, assisted since 1989 by the Friends of Kensal Green.
The tomb takes the form of a square pedestal with a stepped base, inset inscription panels and an egg-and dart cornice, topped by an outsize urn with elaborate Classical decoration. The flared base of the urn is much eroded, but some wreath and foliage ornament can still be made out. The bowl is decorated with stylised acanthus leaves spiralling up to a central band with cable and wave-scroll mouldings; above are festoons suspended between female masks with plaited braids, beneath a moulded and scalloped rim. The lid has more acanthus-leaf ornament which curls over beneath a massive two-stage finial. The principal inscription testifies to Edward Macklew’s ‘sterling worth, kindness, generosity and extensive benevolence’; other inscriptions commemorate Andrew Macklew (d.1847) and Catherine Barker (d.1878).
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.