IronbridgeQuaker Burial Ground
Darby Road
Shropshire TF8 7EW
Eighteenth and 19th century Quaker ironmasters played an important role in turning the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England into what is now referred to as “The Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution”.
The most famous of these ironmasters was Abraham Darby I who, in 1709, was the first to successfully smelt iron with coke. For five generations the Darby Family managed the Coalbrookdale Ironworks. Business links with other Quaker families were cemented by marriage, with members of the Ford and Reynolds family marrying into the Darby dynasty.
The Coalbrookdale Arboretum was created by the Darby and Goldney families, to provide a peaceful setting for the Darby Houses. The land for the adjacent Quaker Burial Ground was purchased by Abraham Darby II in 1763 as a gift to the Coalbrookdale Quakers. Previous to this in 1717, his own father had to be buried in the burial ground at the Quaker Meeting House in nearby Broseley.
The cemetery consists of a sloping lawn with 2 huge fir trees enclosed behind high brick walls. Access is through an iron gateway in the wall. Visitors will note that the headstones are separated from the graves and placed around the walls.
This 18th century burial ground contains the graves of many ironmasters and manufacturers associated with Coalbrookdale. These include Abraham Darby III (d.1789), the builder of the Iron Bridge, and William Reynolds (d.1803), Ironmaster.
The first member of the famous Darby Family to be interred in the burial ground was its’ benefactor, Abraham Darby II (d. 1763).The last was Rebecca Sarah Darby in 1908. The cemetery saw its last burial in 1982.
Disabled Access
There is a steep flight of steps to the sloping lawn which makes wheelchair access difficult.
Quaker Philanthropy in the Gorge
The Sabbath Walks, a series of paths through the woodland around Coalbrookdale, were laid out by Richard Reynolds in 1782. These provided an area where visitors, workers and their families could walk on Sundays. Reynolds was a Quaker ironmaster who was closely associated with the Darby family and the Coalbrookdale Ironworks.
In addition to the houses of the ironmasters, the Ironbridge Gorge also has some excellent examples of philanthropic workers’ housing; these provided decent accommodation, sanitation, brew houses and garden plots. Four such rows still remain in the Gorge - Tea Kettle Row dating from the 1740s, and Engine Row, Carpenter’s Row and Charity or Widow’s Row which date from the 1780s.
Contact & Further Information
For more information on the Ironbridge Quaker ironmasters and manufacturers, contact The Ironbridge Museums Trust:
Telephone  +44 (0)1952 435 900
Mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Getting There
The Ironbridge Gorge is in Shropshire, 5 miles (8km) south of Telford Town Centre and is well signposted from the M54 motorway, Junction 4. When you leave M54 follow the brown and white tourism signs for Ironbridge Gorge.
As you get closer follow the ‘Coalbrookdale Museums’ sign. This route will take the visitor to the top of the Gorge on the correct side of the River Severn. The Burial Ground is adjacent to the Darby Houses Museum.
Car Parking
There is car parking at Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron. Sat Nav for the car park is TF8 7DQ. One ticket, costing around £2.00, is required to park at most of the Museum car parks. It is quite a steep walk up the hill to Darby Roadd and the cemetery.
Google Map - Darby Road & Quaker Burial Ground

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