Bybrook Cemetery, Cemetery Lane, Ashford TN24 9JX.
See the list of fees and regulations for guidance for this cemetery.
The woodland areas were established in 1995. At this time some native trees were planted to help create a woodland character as quickly as possible. The planting of memorial trees has almost completed the tree planting and these are growing well. Wild woodland flowers and birds are also important parts of the diversity of traditional woodlands and will help make our woodland burial area complete.
To find out more about woodland burials please visit the our cemeteries page.
Because of the rural setting of this cemetery, we do get rabbits visiting from the neighbouring fields. They seem to enjoy some of the flowers left as tributes on graves, and visitors may wish to consider artificial flowers, or using a tall vase. There are also a number of plants which are considered rabbit resistant.
This cemetery opened in 1928.
Nineteen Ashford civilians are commemorated on a memorial plaque located in Ashford (Bybrook) Cemetery, that was unveiled on 11 November 1999 by The Rt Hon Countess Mountbatten of Burma C.B.E. C.D. We have located at least another 75 Ashford civilian deaths attributable to the Second World War, unfortunately including several who are not named on the Ashford, Kent civic war memorial.
The famous Philosopher Simone Weil was laid to rest in this cemetery in 1943. Her writings ponder the question of religious faith in a seemingly irrational world. Acutely aware of the oppression and suffering around her, she came to see suffering itself as a means of achieving spiritual unity with God. Weil was born in Paris in 1909. A brilliant student, she received her baccalaureate with honours at 15 and studied philosophy at the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure from 1928 to 1931. She served with an anarchist brigade in the Spanish Civil War, and her involvement in other left-wing causes, as well as her apparent lack of interest in sex, earned her the nickname "The Red Virgin".
Although she was Jewish, Weil became profoundly interested in Roman Catholicism in the late 1930's after claiming to have experienced an epiphany. "Jesus just came down and took me", she said (she did not formally convert, however). In 1942 she escaped Nazi-occupied France and worked as a propagandist and translator for the Free French government in London.
The following year Weil was sent to a sanitarium in Ashford, Kent as she developed tuberculosis which was aggravated by her insistence on eating the same rations as were allowed to those in occupied France. It was here that she died of anorexia at age 34. Apart from a handful of essays, all her work was edited and published after her death. This includes the books "Waiting for God" (1951), "Gravity and Grace" (1952), "The Need for Roots" (1952), "Notebooks" (two volumes, 1956), and "Oppression and Liberty" (1958). Pope Paul VI regarded Weil as a major spiritual influence, and many Catholic scholars believe that only Weil's refusal to be baptised has prevented her from being made a saint by the church. Today she is considered one of the most important religious thinkers of the 20th Century.
Part of Ashford's history is its connection with this French author and philosopher. Her connection to Ashford was marked in 1983 when Simone Weil Avenue was named after her. During the official naming, her vintager's hat was presented to Ashford Borough Council by Monsieur Eugene Fleure, a member of the Association for the Study of the Thoughts of Simone Weil.
The hat is now on permanent display at the Civic Centre in Tannery Lane.