The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Thomas Tompkins (d.1887) and Emily Tompkins (d. 1912)

Grave Number 6

Thomas Tompkins died 13th August 1887 aged 52 years also Emily Tompkins widow of the above, died 1st May 1912 aged 78 years

 Thomas, was born in 1834, and followed in the footseps of a line of Tomkins butchers. ‘For continuity of service from one generation to another, the record was held, until a few years ago, by the Tompkins family. I do not know when the first butcher of this name started a business in Berkhamsted, but Francis had a flourishing shop here in 1792. For long periods there were two and sometimes three separate butcher’s shops in the town bearing this family name.’ Beorcham Aug 1968

In the 1881 Census, Thomas is described as a butcher, employing 1 man. His shop, with a slaughterhouse at the rear, was on the High Street. He was aged 46 and married to Emily, aged 47, (b. Sussex) aged 47. They had 6 children living at home aged between 3 and 13 and Job Sills, a young butcher aged 21, and Elizabeth Pitkin as Domestic servant.

His shop was decorated every Christmas:

“Mr. Thomas Tompkins makes a good show of beef this year, the chief being fed by Mr. G. Knowles, Broadway farm, and other beasts were purchased at the Watford show, and Leighton and the Berkhamsted fat stock sales. (Hertford Mercury and Reformer, Dec 1884).

He died aged 52, ‘after a lengthened illness. Mr Tompkins was well-known and universally respected as a man of business for his genuine good-hearted qualities. His cheery good-natured face had been missed for some time, in the neighbouring market towns as well as in Berkhamsted. It was his misfortune to be very stout and this hastened his death. The funeral took place on Tuesday, respect being shown for the deceased by almost all the tradespeople putting up shutters and others drawing their blinds; also by a large following at the funeral. The body was conveyed in a hearse, and was left therein during the service in church. The Rector and the Rev. W.G. Elmer (Elnor) took part in the service. Messrs Young and Horne were the undertakers, and the arrangements, by desire of the deceased, were in the hands of Mr C.E. Harris.  The service in church was choral. Mr Tompkins took little interest in parish affairs, but was a trustee of Atkin’s Charity and a director and the treasurer of the Gas Company. 

In the Museum Store in Berkhamsted is his highly decorated waistcoat (‘for a man of ample girth’) probably inherited it from his father Francis Tompkins (1795-1851).

 The stability of this memorial, together with 7 & 8, was affected when the wall behind collapsed onto it in 2012.  This is one of the 19 memorials that was restored in 2018.


 Back to Biographies page