Friends of Heene Cemetery

Heene Cemetery – west Worthing’s hidden graveyard

Heene Cemetery is a one-acre town-centre cemetery in west Worthing that was open for burials between 1873 and 1977. It is now classed as a ‘closed cemetery’ and is cared for by a local volunteer group, the Friends of Heene Cemetery, who also maintain this website.

Nearly two thousand citizens are buried in this cemetery, and a small group of Friends is researching their family history and documenting their stories on this website. Many of the buried were famous in their lifetime, but all the stories shape our social history. We invite you to view their biographies here.

The cemetery is also a designated Sussex Local Wildlife Site, a status originally identified (as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance) in 1992 because “it contains fragments of a much threatened habitat – the ‘old meadow’ community”. The Friends volunteer throughout the year to care for this space and explicitly encourage biodiversity.

A citizen-science project supported by a network of specialists is also documenting this rich biodiversity. Over 500 species have so far been identified – and (nearly all) photographed. They can all be viewed here.

These records of history, both social and natural, are updated on an ongoing basis, so repeat visits to this website will be worth your while.

Uncover the stories of those buried here

Each burial in Heene Cemetery has a page on this website devoted to it. These can be searched by a range of criteria, enabling you to find any matching burial record(s).

Discover the wildlife that lives here

Each species found and identified in the cemetery has its own page on this website. Most of these species are shown displayed with photographs, all of which have been taken only in the cemetery. These records can be searched with a range of criteria.

Support us by contributing via PayPal

We could not conduct our research, maintain Heene Cemetery or maintain this website without the generous contributions made by the public. If what you see on this website inspires you, please consider making a donation through our PayPal page.

William Edmund Smith

Bringing the past to life

Near to the centre of Worthing, the cemetery is an often-overlooked window into the past.

Our team of heritage researchers has accumulated a wealth of detail about the nearly two thousand people who have Heene Cemetery as their final resting place. These details have been written up and made available on this website. They tell human stories that range from the humdrum to the vivid and extraordinary, sometimes blighted by epidemic or war, sometimes exemplifying valour, scientific brilliance or business acumen. Whether you are looking for an ancestor or browsing with an interest in social history, you will find all these stories to be worth exploring.

Featured stories

The Friends of Heene Cemetery carry out conservation and heritage work on this Sussex Local Wildlife Site. Please join us on Saturdays and/or Tuesdays 2pm-4pm.

The ecology of an ‘old meadow’ community

Surrounded today by the residential neighbourhood of West Worthing, this closed cemetery hides behind its Victorian brick and flint walls. This small but vital oasis for wildlife has been recognised as a Sussex Local Wildlife Site, and the Friends of Heene work to encourage its biodiversity, allowing wild flowers to proliferate. This is coupled with an ongoing citizen-science project to identify species and record them on this website. Detailed species records with their photographs can be explored.

Featured wildlife

Field Assessment Comments of the Green Flag Community Award, 2023

One of the best websites I have seen of any voluntary group which serves to co-ordinate and celebrate the many activities and interests that are supported by a small but unique town site.

Various blog posts that help explain Heene Cemetery

Separate from burials and species records, there are many posts that detail Heene Cemetery’s special appeal. Richly illustrated, these posts often say more than any single story. Here are some examples: