Bid to trace families of those buried in Berkhamsted cemetery

Conservation work will be carried out at Rectory Lane cemetery - and it's hoped to find families of those buried
Conservation work will be carried out at Rectory Lane cemetery - and it's hoped to find families of those buried

The descendants of 17 families who are buried in a Berkhamsted cemetery have been urged to make contact with a group who will be giving the graveyard a facelift.

The Friends of St Peter’s group is keen to discover any further information on the nominated memorials or the individuals they refer to who are buried in the Rectory Lane cemetery.

The memorial for Ann Hewson is one of those being earmarked for conservation work

The memorial for Ann Hewson is one of those being earmarked for conservation work

Among the people they hope to hear from are relatives of Ann Hewson – an heiress who helped her nephew William Parkins to found one of the largest stationery suppliers in London, and who was later declared a lunatic.

Also, John Edward, Arthur and Mary Anne Lane are buried there – and were members of the famous Lanes Nursery family which operated from Berkhamsted between 1777 until the 1960s.

And Mary or Polly Page, as she was known, followed her father as innkeeper of the Kings Arms. She formed a friendship with Louis XVIII as he called in to rest his horses on the way to his court in exile at Hartwell House Aylesbury. Once restored to power he invited Polly to visit him at Versailles.

The appeal for information comes as the group begins work on improving the graveyard.

Planned conservation work includes re-assembly, replacement of missing stonework, repairs in lime mortars, re-carving inscriptions where appropriate, treatment with light steam cleaning or the application of a protective lime layer.

Project Manager James Moir explained: “Some descendants may have details or photographs that could add to the knowledge of future generations.

“As responsibility for maintaining individual memorials normally rests with the families concerned. They may also wish to help with the cost of the restoration or may have alternative plans and would prefer to commission the work themselves.”

This work will form the first part of the physical transformation of the cemetery, which is being financed by the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund and will begin this April.

There will be further work on memorials in the upper terraces and remedial works to parts of the boundary walls later this year.

Families and interested parties are asked to share their views about the planned work by March 30 by emailing jamesmgmoir@aol.com.

The full list of families can be found below.

Names on those monuments affected in alphabetical order

Barnes: Charles (died 1864)

Tyler: Mary Ann (died 1873)

Creedy: John (died 1857); son John (died 1872)

Groves: Martha Mary (died 1890); husband John (died 1908)

Leach: daughter Esther (died 1954)

Hewson: Ann (died 1852)

Holloway: Stephen (died 1866); Lucy (died 1878)

Hurst: John; daughter Sarah Ann (both died 1857)

Key: William (died 1890)

Lane: John Edward (died 1868); Arthur (died 1870); Mary Ann (died 1894)

Lane: Ann (died 1856); husband Henry (died 1865); son Hervey (died 1879)

Leaper: Hannah (died 1843); husband Thomas (died 1850); daughter Anne (died 1856)

Page: Mary (died 1865)

Parkins: John (died 1854); wife Mary (died 1872)

Rippon: Richard Oliver (died 1898); wife Mary Charlotte (died 1910); daughter Clara Jane (died 1895)

Rolph: John Frederick; Margaret Kerr; Sara Louisa Jane Eliza, wife of John; son Everard who died at 9 months

Smith-Dorrien: Sir Horace Lockwood (died 1930)

Tompkins: Thomas (died 1887); Emily (died 1912)

Unwin: Henry (died 1870); wife Ann Susanna (died 1886); daughter Ann (died 1873)