The English Cemetery and St George’s Anglican Church is located near Malaga’s historic centre, and across the road from the bull ring.
When William Mark was appointed British Consul in 1824, consecrated ground was reserved for Catholics. Therefore, the only place to bury Protestants was at the beach, standing upright in the sand, leaving them at the mercy of waves and dogs. He therefore founded the English Cemetery in 1831.
Having passed through an impressive gate with stone lions on either side, we paid €4 each having received an over 60s discount. A laminated sheet had a sketch map of the cemetery highlighting 19 graves, with more information about the individuals on the reverse.
It wasn’t the easiest map to follow, and the walking wasn’t great because the cemetery is built into a hillside, resulting in several terraces. However, we managed despite the heat and flies, to find all the highlighted graves. This included Robert Boyd, the first person to be buried in the cemetery. He was a romantic hero from Derry, shot on San Andreas beach for helping a Spanish general overthrow the king.
There were authors, poets, physicians and politicians as well as expats living in Malaga at the time of their death.
The graves were all different: some with simple engraved slabs, tall columns, and others with ornate crosses and angels. Particularly poignant were thirty small rectangular children’s graves, encrusted with seashells as symbols of immortality.
Whilst it is called the English cemetery, there were all nationalities including Finnish and American. The cemetery was gradually expanded and by December 1900 could accommodate the mass burial of 62 officers and men of the Imperial German Navy’s training ship ‘Gneisenau’ which sank just outside Málaga harbour. We also found four graves of the type seen in the Commonwealth War Graves, with one inscription saying My darling husband The war united us The war parted us I’ll love your memory always.
Hans Christian Anderson apparently described the cemetery as “my favourite place” in Malaga. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily agree, it is well worth a visit.