Flower Family Graves in Rectory Lane Cemetery
Plot 182 Cornelius Flower, Edward Hervey Flower
Plot 741 – Emily Lane Flower’s step-granddaughter Nina Henriette Meek
Situated by the Lane graves (as Emily Flower was daughter of Henry Lane)
Cornelius Flower was a railway master, born to a ship’s captain living at Little Heath Farm Potten End (then considered part of Northchurch parish). His son is also buried here and his first son is mentioned although buried in Northampton. His wife was Emily Lane, her step-granddaughter Ninette Meek by her second husband is also buried here (plot 741)
Cornelius Flower was Berkhamsted born, the son of Cornelius Flower the elder (pictured below)
Cornelius the elder was a prosperous ship-merchant, sailing between Wapping, London and Canada (New Brunswick) originally from Norfolk, he lived in old Gravel Lane, Wapping in 1798, and was a freemason there. He married three times, his most notable child was son Anthony Flower, a noted painter in Canada, apparently he shared rooms at the Royal Academy with J.M.W. Turner
Cornelius moved his family to Little Heath farm, Potten End – possibly due to the Freemasonry connection, as his son married a Lane who were prominent local Freemasons
Cornelius Flower the elder freemason record
He married his third wife Eliza Ann Dyball in 1825 after several children had been born:
- Anna b 1820
- Jane b 1823
- Cornelius b 1824
- Eliza b 1827
- Phoebe 1829
Cornelius the elder died in New Brunswick Canada, in 1828; his wife Eliza and young family lived in Bourne End until the 1850s when Eliza and Phoebe moved to Northampton to be with Cornelius
Cornelius Flower the younger 1824-1865
Born at Little Heath Farm, his father died when he was four years old and seems to have left much of his property to his first family.
In 1841 he lived at Bourne End with his mother and sisters.
He joined the railways in November 1847 as a clerk
In October 1848 he married Emily Lane (daughter of Henry Lane) in Berkhamsted
By 1851 aged 26 he was a railway clerk and they lived at Royal Terrace Northampton, with one servant. His mother and sister lived nearby.
His mother and sister
1851 He earned £100 a year, in the goods dept, Wellingborough
Their first son Cornelius Henry was born September 1852, died October 1852 and buried in Northampton, but mentioned on the grave in Rectory Lane Cemetery
In 1855 his son Edward Harvey Flower was born in Northampton
In the 1861 census they lived at No 1 Ford Villa, Blisworth – Cornelius (by then a railway station master), Emily, son Edward and 1 servant.
By April 1861 he was earning £140, due to go to Crewe
However later that month tragedy struck, his 6-year-old son Edward Hervey Flower died 22 April 1861 in Berkhamsted at the Kings Arms Inn, run by his Lane relatives
At the King’s Arms Inn, Great Berkhamstead, on Monday the 22nd ult., aged six years, Hervey. Ed. Flower, the only child of Cornelius and Emily Flower, and grandson of Henry Lane, of Great Berkhamstead
His epitaph Gone of God be still my heart what could a mother’s prayer in all the wildest ecstacy of hope ask for her darling like the bliss of heaven is from ‘The Lost Darling’ by Mrs Lydia Huntley Sigourney (September 1, 1791 – June 10, 1865), née Lydia Howard Huntley, an American poet during the early and mid 19th century. She was commonly known as the “Sweet Singer of Hartford“. Most of her works were published with just her married name Mrs. Sigourney.
The Lost Darling
She was my idol – Night and day to scan
The fine expansion of her form, and mark
The unfolding mind like vernal rose-bud start
To sudden beauty, was my chief delight.
T0 find her fairy footsteps following me –
Her hand upon m garments – or her lip
Long sealed to mine – and in the watch of night
The quiet breath of innocence to feel
Soft on my cheek – was such a full content
Of happiness, as none but mothers know.
Her voice was like some tiny harp that yields
To the slight-finger’d breeze – and as it held
Long converse with her doll, kindly or soothed
Her moaning kitten, or with patient care
Conn’d over the alphabet – but most of all
Its tender cadence in her evening prayer,
Thrill’d on the ear like some ethereal tone
Heard in sweet dreams.
But now I sit alone,
Musing of her – and dew with mournful tears
The little robes that once with woman’s pride
I wrought, as if there was a need to deck
What God has made so beautiful. I start –
Half fancying from her empty crib there comes
A restless sound, and breathe the accustom’d words,
“Hush, hush, Louisa, dearest – Then I weep,
As though it were a sin to speak to one
Whose home is with the angels –
Gone to God!
And yet I wish I had not seen the pang
That wrung her features, nor the ghastly white
Settling around her lips. I would that Heaven
Had taken its own like some transplanted flower,
Blooming in all its freshness.
Gone to God!
Be still my heart! – what could a mother’s prayer
In all its wildest ecstacy of hope,
Ask for its darling like the bliss of heaven?
Within months Cornelius’ health had broken, he died in Berkhamsted in May 1865 after three and a half years of severe suffering
On the 5th inst, at Great Berkhampstead, after 3 1/2 years of great suffering, Mr Cornelius Flower, in his 41st year, late of Blisworth and Northampton
He is buried in RLC along with his son Edward, facing towards his childhood home on Little Heath Farm. He left effects under £1500, Emily was one of his executors
His widow Emily Lane was not buried in Rectory Lane Cemetery. The 1860s were hard times for her. Her son Edward died in 1861. Her husband Cornelius had a severe illness later that year, died May 1865, followed by her father Henry Lane two months later
In 1877 she married Edwin Barfoot a bookseller who had led rather a colourful life,
1881 Lullingford Rd Penge, husband Edwin Barfoot bookseller
He died in 1883 and left his money to Emily
1891 – 44 Waldegrave Rd Penge with Edwin’s niece Ann Hart and one servant
1901 – Also living with her is step daughter Jane Regnier, born in Ireland (Edwin’s daughter). Emily died later this month
Edwin Barfoot’s daughter Jane married Edmond Victor Vital Regnier, a French adventurer that Edwin Barfoot had lodged with in the 1860s – he appeared to have several children with his housekeeper already.
Portrait of Victor Edmond Vital Regnier (1822-1886), adventurer and pseudo-emissary of the Empress Eugenie in 1870. He was involved in a curious episode in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 where he pretended to be an emissary of empress Eugenie, or was a go-between with Bismarck.
They had daughter Nina Henriette who married Arthur Cecil Meek and is buried in RLC plot 741
Nina 1881 in Ramsgate
In 1891 Victor had died, and Jane ran a French laundry
Jane obviously kept in contact with her step-mother Emily, as in 1897 Nina married Arthur Cecil Meek of Berkhamsted (Emily’s great-nephew) and in 1901 they lived at Potten End
By 1911 they had several children
She died 1929 and is buried in RLC. She left £5 to her husband
Her husband Arthur is also buried in the same plot, 741