When Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella swept into Malaga in 1487, they converted the city into a bastion of Roman Catholicism. However, about three and a half centuries later, the city looked rather different. It had become a major port and centre of industry and non-Catholics were playing a vital part in its life.
However, before the English Cemetery was created in 1831, no provision was made for the burial of non-Catholics in Spain. All cemeteries were consecrated according to the rites of the Catholic faith so until that time, non-Catholics in Malaga could only be buried at night, on the beach and in an upright position where they would be left at the mercy of the waves and prowling dogs.
When William Mark, who had been a witness to night-time burials on the beach, became British Consul in 1824, he became determined to find a site where Protestants could be given a decent burial. In 1829 the Malaga authorities finally granted him a plot of land outside the city, on the road to Almeria, and here he founded the first protestant cemetery in mainland Spain.
The cemetery is the final resting place of many notable figures who contributed to making Malaga what it is today, including Robert Boyd, who was shot in Malaga for his part in the failed liberal uprising led by General Torrijos in December 1831; Spanish poet Jorge Guillén; British Hispanist Gerald Brenan; the Finnish author Aarne Haapakoski; and the economist Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson.
By the end of the 20th century the cemetery had fallen into a state of neglect. However, in 2006 it became the property of the non-profit Fundación Cementerio Inglés de Málaga and nowadays it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city.
Visitors are attracted by the decorative gardens and the opportunity to discover more about the history of the city from the perspective of the foreign community.
The cemetery is also home to the St George’s Anglican Church. For more information about services in English, click here.
The English Cemetery is a five-minute minute walk from the Centre Pompidou gallery, or 15 minutes from the city’s main street Calle Larios.
For opening times and ticket prices, click here.
Daryl moved to Malaga permanently in 2014 having first fallen in love with the city on his Erasmus year. After working for many years at local expat newspaper SUR in English, Daryl gained expert knowledge in life from the perspective of foreign residents and decided to co-found Malaga Guru in 2016.