John BunnView full burial details
in the cemetery
JOHN BUNN; 1790-1847
John was born in Berkhamsted on 27th September 1790 and baptised in St Peter’s church on 15th November that year. His parents were Josiah and Frances Bunn.
John married Sarah Putnam, who was also born in Berkhamsted, on 14th March 1814. John and Sarah had eight children, the oldest being James who was born in 1815. In 1817 Sarah next gave birth to two boys, William and Joseph. Whilst we don’t have William’s exact date of birth, we do know from his memorial that Joseph was born on 13th June 1817 and it looks like the two boys must have been twins. William was baptised on 20th July 1817, a week before Joseph was baptised on 27th July. Sadly, William died shortly after and was buried on 3rd August 1817 in St Peter’s churchyard.
Following William’s death, Sarah gave birth to another son in 1819, who was also named William. Thomas followed in late 1826 and was baptised on 31st December that year. Like William he too died soon after he was born and was buried at St Peter’s on 20th January 1827. Elizabeth, the couple’s first daughter, was born in 1828, Eliza in 1830, Emma in 1832 and finally the youngest, Edith, was born in 1836.
We know from the 1841 census that the Bunn family was then living in Berkhamsted’s High Street. Joseph, then 24 years of age, was not present with the family when the census was taken.
John’s occupation is noted as that of “carrier”. Carriers, carmen, or carters as they were also known, carried goods and produce and also the cheaper class of passenger from place to place. John was not however a carrier of general goods; his wife Sarah died in 1874 and she is described on the certificate as the “widow of John Bunn a timber carrier.”
From its early days Berkhamsted made use of the good supplies of surrounding timber and the town saw an expansion of the wood working industry in the 19th century. There had been small scale wood workers in the town for centuries, but the industry expanded substantially after Job East moved from Chesham in the 1840 and took over a small shovel maker and wood turner’s business. With the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853, East won contracts to supply the army with lance poles, artillery rammers, shaving bowls, tent pegs and poles and the business grew from employing 10 men to nearly 100. William Key founded another timber yard, which subsequently became J Alsford Ltd. By 1880 these and other smaller businesses employed over 200 men and yet others worked as coach builders and boat builders. The timber that kept these businesses going needed to be transported from where it was felled to the yards in the town where it was trimmed and cut. John made his living transporting that timber.
Unfortunately, John Bunn did not live a long life. His death certificate reveals that he died on the 7th August 1847 at the age of 57 of chronic pneumonia. Unlike his son William, who had been buried in the old churchyard at St Peter’s, John was buried in Rectory Lane cemetery which had been opened in 1842, five years before his death.