The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

John Parkins (d.1854) and Mary Parkins (d.1872)

Grave Number 190

John Parkins died 20th September 1854 aged 67.

Mary, his wife, died 16th August 1872, aged 83.

John Parkins was born in 1789 in Sundon, Bedfordshire. He married Mary (born in Little Gaddesden) in 1812. He died in 1854 at age of 65, and was the first Sexton at the Cemetery.

In 1839 John occupied one of four, what must have been very small cottages on Grub Lane – now more prosaically called Chesham Road. In 1841 there were 4 adults and 3 children living in the household. The Cottages were owned by John Siret, who ran the Goat, and also owned 5 other cottages and various parcels of land, including a meadow enclosure in Doctors Common.

John was employed as parish sexton – he may thus have had an important input into the planning and siting of the Cemetery. (The Cottages stood where the Scout Hut is located, strategically well placed to connect across through the Rectory to the Cemetery).

The Cemetery generated new business and John’s annual salary increased from £7.00 to £12.00 in 1844, with an additional £2.00 paid in that year. The following year, the parish paid for a new Sexton’s coat and sundries, costing £4.12 shillings.

In 1851 the Parkins had moved to the High Street aged 62, and John and Mary were looking after two of their grandchildren.

John resigned as sexton in 1853 a year before he died, receiving the ‘cordial thanks’ of the parish for his services.

John’s son, William, would rise to be the owner of Parkins and Gotto (see Anne Hewson’s tomb 169)

The fine Classical memorial, presumably paid for by William, was in a sad state – the urn was lying on the ground.  This was one of the 19 memorials restored in 2018.

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