The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Bullock family

Grave Number x158, x165, x167 (gravestones removed)



JULIA BULLOCK (1843-1872)




Plot x158 (Gravestone removed)



Plot x165 (Gravestone removed)



Plot x157 (Gravestone removed)


All trace of the Bullock family in the Cemetery has been lost, through the removal in 1991 of the surviving stonework to three graves in the Lower Cemetery bearing inscriptions to eight members of the family. The family had a major presence in the town; two incidents – the loss of two sons in a boating accident and a scandal involving one of the other sons – significantly increased their visibility.

Joseph Billingsley Bullock was born in Marylebone, and was a solicitor ‘of Berkhampstead and Lincoln’s Inn Fields’. He married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of the late Thomas Lawrence of Demerara in 1833 at St Pancras New Church. They had six sons and three daughters.

In this grave are buried Joseph, his wife, three of the sons and his daughter Julia.  His youngest daughter is buried nearby at Grave x165, alongside her brother Joseph Ernest, who lived to the age of 66, the exact same age as his father Joseph. The death of Eliza Mary, his eldest daughter, who died at the age of 43, is recorded at Marylebone.[1]

One of the other sons was Charles Bullock, who is also not buried in the cemetery. This is for a good reason – he followed in his father’s footsteps as a solicitor but would later take the firm of Bullock and Penny in Berkhamsted into bankruptcy and was imprisoned. For many years he was actually the Cemetery Account Treasurer. However, his baby son Hubert Evelyn, born on the 14th November 1882, baptised on Christmas Day but surviving only to the 29th December, is buried here (Plot x157)

All the sons, except the last, Joseph, were born in London. In 1851, the family were living in Clapham, but in 1855 they had moved to Berkhamsted and lived at The Elms on the High Street.[2] It is not clear why they moved to Berkhamsted but it is interesting that a dissolution of the partnership of George Lythall Crockett and Joseph Billingsley Bullock, attorneys and solicitors, Lincoln’s Inn Fields is advertised in Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette of October 8th 1859.    Joseph died in 1866, leaving effects under £1500. Elizabeth Bullock lived to be 77, and died at 87 Ladbroke Grove, London[3].

Herbert married Elizabeth (Bessie) Anderson Esq of Liverpool.[4] The youngest son Joseph was also a Doctor and married Ada Greathead at Westgate-on-Sea in 1888. He is buried with his sister Louisa Jane.

The following explains the loss of two of the sons in a boating accident in Switzerland:


A very distressing occurrence happened on Sunday week on the Lake of Neuchatel. Three young Englishmen, from 26 to 28 years of age, who were staying at the Hotel de Bellevue, where they had arrived only the day before by the train from Pontarlier, went out in a row boat about five o’clock in the evening. The lake was calm, and a light breeze was blowing, but about 6.30 p.m. a sudden squall arose. The boat was then out of sight. About 8.10 the squally recommenced more violently. It is supposed that the boat must have been capsized in this last squall, but no particulars are known. The accident happened a long distance from the shore, but they were all good swimmers, and might have gained land at a less distance. The boat was found on Sunday morning at 7 a.m, opposite Prefargier, about 15 minutes distant from the shore, two hours later a fisherman named Bouiguignon, found an overcoat about the same spot, which was recognised as belonging to one of the party. That part of the lake, which is very deep, has been ordered to be dredged, but up to the present time without success. One of the young men was named Edward Golding; the two others were brothers of the name of Bullock SwissTimes. The two brothers referred to in this narrative were the Rev. F. Bullock of Christ Church, St Leonard’s on Sea, aged 36, and Mr J.L Bullock, house surgeon of the East London Children’s Hospital, aged 22, sons of the late Mr. J.B. Bullock, of Great Berkhamstead[5]


Intelligence has just been received to the effect that the body of Mr. Edward Golding (who, with the Rev. F. Bullock and Mr. J.L. Bullock was drowned while boating on the lake at Neufchatel some days since) has been recovered and buried. The body was coatless, and the garment found floating upon the water shortly after the accident occurred no doubt belonged to him. The three unfortunate gentlemen could swim well, but near the spot where the coat was found is a vast bed of thick weeds, about a mile in length, which might have prevented them saving themselves. The rev. F. Bullock was curate of Christ Church, St Leonards and Mr Golding son of the late Rev. E. Golding, vicar of Brimpton, Berks. The jewellery found upon the body and sent to his relatives in Berkshire, leaves no doubt as to his identity.[6]

The English Chaplain at Neuchatel referred to the fact that all three men ‘have, without doubt, found an untimely grave’ and that the boat was found bottom up[7].   Were the bodies of Frederick and James ever found?.

In 1874, ‘a window has lately been put up in Great Berkhamspstead Church, to the memory of the Rev. F. Bullock, who was drowned in the lake of Neufchatel in the summer of 1872. It consists of two lights, the one representing Simon with the infant Christ in his arms, the other Christ blessing little children. These subjects were chosen to commemorate Mr Bullock’s remarkable affection for, and success with, little children. The window was put up by friends who bear the memory of the departed in affectionate regard. It is the work of Mr Gibbs, of 132 Gloucester-road, Regents-park, and is unusually successful both in colour and in taste and grouping. Mr Gibbs has only to be better known to achieve a repute second to none as an artist in stained glass.  [8]

Just as devastating for the family was the impact of the loss of Julia, sister to the two drowned brothers. Only 15 days after they were lost in the lake, ‘On the 22nd inst. from the shock caused to the system on hearing the sad news’ of her two brothers’ accident, at the Elms Great Berkhampstead, Julia, sister of the above, aged 28 years. [9]

[1] Hertford Mercury and Reformer 19th January 1884. Curiously, she does not appear in the 1851 census with her parents, when she would have been 10 years old.

[2] Bucks Herald 20 July 1872.

[3] Bucks Herald 10th October 1891

[4] Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette 25 April 1882

[5] Newcastle Journal 16 July 1872

[6] Morning Advertiser 23rd July 1872

[7] York Herald 20th July 1872.

[8] Bucks Herald 28 March 1874

[9] Hampshire Telegraph 27 July 1872

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