This small but rather neat pocket park is exceptionally well hidden squeezed between buildings on a quiet back street in the City of London.
The burial ground is associated with the church of the same name, which still exists fronting with its grand clock and tower onto Fleet Street. The burial ground is just within the boundaries of the old parish, being right up against the northern border of the parish.
The church was first mentioned in c.1185 as plain St Dunstan’s, but was later known as St Dunstan in the West to distinguish it from St Dunstan in the East. Although it had a small burial ground at the back, it needed more space, and in 1625 acquired a plot of land to the north of the parish for burials – suspected to be plague deaths, but unproven.
What was once at street level slowly piled up over the centuries as burials kept being added, so entry is now up a short flight of steps. You are walking up through centuries of death.
The burial site was once much larger, about three times the size of what remains. A school took over one-third of the site — later replaced in 1961 with the current office block, designed by Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall as their own headquarters, and served as a flagship for the practice’s increasing specialisation in office work.
More modern offices to the east occupy another third.
What’s left is the middle section of the old burial ground, and if you around the edges by the railings a few headstones still remain to remind us of its former use.
Relandscaped in 2009, the lawns are well maintained, as are the side borders. The benches look new.