There was some controversy surrounding the beginnings of the cemetery which stood on the corner of Morley Road, beside the Gladstone Bridge. The land was presented to the town by a local landowner for the purpose of a public cemetery. A committee was formed consisting of non- conformists and churchmen, but it was reported in the local press that “by some adroit procedure” it was appropriated by the church, despite non conformists forming a majority of the population. This resulted in much bad feeling.
At three o’clock on Wednesday, June 15th, 1859, hundreds of people gathered at the new cemetery to witness the consecration of the ground by the Bishop of St. Asaph. The first burial took place later on the same afternoon when the body of William Williams, aged 15 months, son of Joseph Williams, 13, Sussex Street was interred.
By the late 1880’s the cemetery was full and no new graves were made, (although some burials continued until the late 1930’s in existing graves). The Rhyl Improvement Commissioners began negotiations to purchase 7.5 acres of land on Dyserth Road for a municipal cemetery, funded by the ratepayers. Thus began another dispute, similar to the one in 1859, between Church and Chapel – the result of which is the “Church Cemetery” and the “Town Cemetery” (Maeshyfryd Cemetery) on opposite sides of Dyserth Road.
In 1967/8 Morley Road Cemetery was landscaped. The monumental inscriptions were recorded and indexed, and a plan of the cemetery was made. A Book of Remembrance was subsequently compiled from these records. These are available to view at Rhyl Library, Museum and Arts Centre.
The park was landscaped again in 2006 and was officially opened on May 26th of that year by Rhyl Mayor Cllr. Brian Blakeley and Pauline Dobb of Denbighshire County Council. The garden “aims to provide a pleasant open space for people who live, work and visit the town”.
There is now a History Points plaque at the gardens, to read more about History Points click here.
To read about some individuals buried in the cemetery click here