The Nicholl family graves in St Mary's Churchyard, Usk, Monmouthshire, by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt. The large grave in the middle has two polished reddish granite slabs side by side on a stone plinth, with "hipped tops and a Byzantine cross to the interstice" (listing text). The inscriptions tell us that these are the lat resting-places of Eleanor Nicholl and her daughter, who both died in 1850, and other members of the Nicholl family. The ironwork around the family plot is very elaborate — a cast-iron railing "with barley-sugar twist uprights bearing paterae and fluted finials. Openwork scrolls with Romanesque-style foliage finials and cresting to horizontal panels and rails" (listing text). What is most remarkable is that the pattern is similar to that employed by Wyatt much later in the ironwork of Paddington Station.

The smaller grave plot to the left is that of William Henry Nicholl, who died in 1874, and was joined there in 1913 by his wife Elizabeth. This too is thought to have been designed by Wyatt. The slab is of grey granite this time, but also on a stone plinth, and also protected by decoratively patterned ironwork, with "openwork, cusped panels with finials to centre of quatrefoils; polygonal uprights to angles with ball-finials" (listing text).

To the right is Wyatt's own grave, designed by his brother, T. H. Wyatt Damage to the iron railings, noted years ago in the listing text, is still not repaired and must indeed be worse now. The Usk Civic Society is hoping to restore the graves, their surrounding ironwork, and the path which has become overgrown but which would give better access to them.

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, with thanks to Philip and Shan Henshall for making the visit here possible. These images may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


Newman, John. Gwent/Monmouthsire. Buildings of Wales series. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000.

"Wyatt and Nichol Family Graves in St Mary's churchyard." British Listed Buildings. Web. 29 July 2019.

Robinson, John Martin. The Wyatts: An Architectural Dynasty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Created 28 July 2019