Tyne and Wear HER(13374): Birtley, Elisabethville, burial ground - Details
Birtley, Elisabethville, burial ground
Religious Ritual and Funerary
The burial ground for the Belgian village Elisabethville. 13 Belgian people are said to be buried here. Many local people have also been buried here since. Some of the Belgian residents were buried in Birtley churchyard. Gateshead Library has lots of photographs of the Belgian gravestones, mostly taken by Julien Dedrie in 1918, P.W. Armstrong and F. Mackay in 1916-1919 and 15 July 1980. The names on the stones include V. Raymaker, C.S. Priells, J. M'Bondo, F.P. Lovinfosse (died 18 May 1918), A.H.M. Hasevoets, Jan B.A. De Waet, Edgard A.J.V. Roelandt, Jan A. Claessens (15 Nov 1886 - 20 Nov 1918), Raul A.N. Brunet (1897-1917), A.J. Dageyter, F. Cools, A.J. Brogniez. There were two styles of headstone. Most are ?granite with scroll decoration, bronze plaques on the front and a circle above with a ?cross in it. Some of these were still there in 1980. Three stones (Lovinfosse, Hasevoets and Dageyter) are simple white stones with a lion, a cross, the details of the deceased and the words MORT POUR LA BELGIQUE PATRIA MEMORE on the front. There is also one monument with a cross on the top which is called 'the unmarked grave' on Armstrong's photo of 1980. This is the only stone that still sppears to be present [in 2010]. A memorial has been erected in the grounds of Birtley Crematorium.
McMurtie & Schlesinger, 1987, The Birtley Belgians (5th edition 2003); John G. Bygate, 2006, Arms & the Heroes; G. Nairn and D. Rand, 1997, Images of England - Birtley; http://isee.gateshead.gov.uk; J. Burrow and Co. Ltd (ed). 1969. Birtley Co. Durham: The Official Guide; Bygate, J.G. 2005. Of Arms and Heroes: The Story of the ‘Birtley Belgians’; Gateshead Council. 2010. The Changing Face of Birtley The Gateshead Towns and Villages Series (leaflet at Gateshead Library); Henderson, D. 2000. Memories and Photographs of the People of Birtley; Letch, H. 1970. Gleanings from the History of Birtley; Marshall, T. c.1980. Elisabethville: The Belgian Colony 1915-1918; Phillipson, Father. Birtley and Wrekenton, 1884-1891; Schlesinger, J. And McMurtie, D. 1988. The Birtley Belgians: A History of Elisabethville; Turnbull, L. c.1980. Glimpses of Old Birtley; Bygate, J. 2005. The riot at Elisabethville, Birtley. Durham County Local History Bulletin, 68 (Durham Record Office H6); Batho, G.R. and Faulkner, M. 2000. An Elisabethville Family: the Prowses, Durham County Local History Society Bulletin, 61 (Durham Record Office H6/9); Brown, M. 1990. The Belgian Colony at Elisabethville, Birtley. 1916-1919, Northern Catholic History, 31 (Durham Record Office H 7/4); Nairn, G. 1997. The Archive Photograph Series: Birtley; Burn, R.S, 1957, A recent history of Birtley Parish (Tyne and Wear Archives L/PA/252); The Belgian Community at Birtley (Tyne and Wear Archives L/PA/1545); Microfilm LHR3: Elizabethville: Various documents relating to munitions factory (Gateshead Library)