4 August 2016
Conserving, repairing and researching the 1,150 monuments and 7,000 burials in Berkhamsted’s historic Rectory Lane Cemetery is a major undertaking. The Friends of St Peter’s are continually working to preserve this vital piece of local heritage for the whole community to enjoy. So what’s been going on in the cemetery recently?
The inscriptions of all the headstones at the Cemetery have been recorded by the Hertfordshire Family History Society; the publication is now available on their website.
A full survey of all monuments has been carried out by Michael Sheppard of Cliveden Conservation. Looking at the condition and significance of each headstone and tomb, we will be able to prioritise which monuments can be repaired during the HLF Capital Phase. Alan Sheldon, Bereavement Officer at Dacorum Borough Council will also be carrying out safety testing on all the monuments.
We’re also busy collecting the stories of people interred in the Cemetery, some of which have already been published here on our website. We continue to receive enquiries and fascinating information from descendants. Adam Kaznowski contacted us from Poland and sent this early photo of his great grandparents grave (below left). This contrasts with the sad state of the grave today (below right) but Adam’s family is keen to see the headstone repaired (we’ve already repaired the Sutton and Blincow graves with help from the respective families). Reginald Hughes was instrumental in seeing All Saints Church come to fruition, and built the fine Edwardian House – No 4, Charles Street.
A Friends IT group has been set up to explore how to integrate all the data being collected, as a start to investigating innovative ways in which the site can be interpreted. We would love to hear from you if you have IT skills to share.
Floral Artists Paul Weatherley and Lucy Glasser of Myrtle and Bloom in Castle Street have contributed two inspirational plantings (pictured below) as part of the ‘Graves as Gardens’ project, which encourages descendants of relatives, or where they cannot be traced, volunteers to ‘adopt’ a grave or graves.
Do you have relatives or ancestors buried in Rectory Lane Cemetery? Do you care about conserving our local heritage for future generations? If you would like to consider adopting a grave, please get in touch – it only needs a minimum of an hour a month to come up and tend a grave or two.