The project to transcribe the burial records for Malvern Cemetery gives us the opportunity to do some analysis into how life has changed since 1861, the year that the cemetery opened. There are over 13600 records in the dataset, so it gives an insight to life (or death) in Malvern over the period.

Age at Death

One of the easy statistics to look at the the spread of the age of everyone at their death. The oldest person in the cemetery buried before the end of 2000 is 105 years old. At the other end of the spectrum there are still-borns and those that die very shortly after death.

Up to 10 people each year have no age recorded for them. Interestingly, this is not usually still-borns but people who were either in work or retired but no one knew how old they were.

The chart below shows the distribution of age at death over the 140 years of our data.

It shows what you might expect: if you survive birth then you have a much greater chance of surviving into old age in 2000 than you did in 1861. The death rates look to be broadly in line with national statistics, such as these for 2022


The information in the statistics is limited though by incompleteness. In 1861 everyone would have been buried. Some local churchyards were still open but the churchyard at Great Malvern Priory was full and the cemetery was the alternative. So, in Victorian times, the majority of Malvern inhabitants will probably have been buried there. These days not everyone elects to be buried or have their ashes scattered or interred at the cemetery. With many funerals taking place at Worcester Crematorium and scatterings happening in many places beloved of the individual, there will be a proportion of deaths missing from these statistics. We have to bear this in mind when drawing conclusions from the data.