Bullock plot | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Bullock plot


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Memorial details

Family name Bullock
Burial date 01/01/1883
Burial capacity Not known
Burial depth Not known
From burial books?
Burial visible (2019)?
Burial visible (1991)?   

All trace of the Bullock family in the Cemetery has been lost, through the removal in 1991 of the surviving stonework to three graves in the Lower Cemetery bearing inscriptions to eight members of the family. The family had a major presence in the town; two incidents – the loss of two sons in a boating accident and a scandal involving one of the other sons – significantly increased their visibility.

Joseph Billingsley Bullock was born in Marylebone, and was a solicitor ‘of Berkhampstead and Lincoln’s Inn Fields’. He married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of the late Thomas Lawrence of Demerara in 1833 at St Pancras New Church. They had six sons and three daughters.

In this grave are buried Joseph, his wife, three of the sons and his daughter Julia.  His youngest daughter is buried nearby at Grave x165, alongside her brother Joseph Ernest, who lived to the age of 66, the exact same age as his father Joseph. The death of Eliza Mary, his eldest daughter, who died at the age of 43, is recorded at Marylebone.[1]

One of the other sons was Charles Bullock, who is also not buried in the cemetery. This is for a good reason – he followed in his father’s footsteps as a solicitor but would later take the firm of Bullock and Penny in Berkhamsted into bankruptcy and was imprisoned. For many years he was actually the Cemetery Account Treasurer. However, his baby son Hubert Evelyn, born on the 14th November 1882, baptised on Christmas Day but surviving only to the 29th December, is buried here (Plot x157)

All the sons, except the last, Joseph, were born in London. In 1851, the family were living in Clapham, but in 1855 they had moved to Berkhamsted and lived at The Elms on the High Street.[2] It is not clear why they moved to Berkhamsted but it is interesting that a dissolution of the partnership of George Lythall Crockett and Joseph Billingsley Bullock, attorneys and solicitors, Lincoln’s Inn Fields is advertised in Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette of October 8th 1859.    Joseph died in 1866, leaving effects under £1500. Elizabeth Bullock lived to be 77, and died at 87 Ladbroke Grove, London[3].

Herbert married Elizabeth (Bessie) Anderson Esq of Liverpool.[4] The youngest son Joseph was also a Doctor and married Ada Greathead at Westgate-on-Sea in 1888. He is buried with his sister Louisa Jane.

In the summer of 1872, two of the sons, James Lawrence and Frederick Bullock drowned in a boating accident on Lake Neufchatel in Switzerland, along with their friend Edward Golding of Brimpton, Berks. In 1874,  a stained-glass window was installed in St Peter’s Church in memory of the Rev. F. Bullock, designed by the renowned Victorian glassmaker Alexander Gibbs. (The glass, which depicted Christ blessing little children, was removed in 2000 due to decay and has been replaced with a newer window commemorating the Berkhamsted poet William Cowper.)

Just as devastating for the family was the impact of the loss of Julia, sister to the two drowned brothers. Only 15 days after they were lost in the lake, ‘On the 22nd inst. from the shock caused to the system on hearing the sad news’ of her two brothers’ accident, at the Elms Great Berkhampstead, Julia, sister of the above, aged 28 years. [9]


[1] Hertford Mercury and Reformer 19th January 1884. Curiously, she does not appear in the 1851 census with her parents, when she would have been 10 years old.

[2] Bucks Herald 20 July 1872.

[3] Bucks Herald 10th October 1891

[4] Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette 25 April 1882

[5] Newcastle Journal 16 July 1872

[6] Morning Advertiser 23rd July 1872

[7] York Herald 20th July 1872.

[8] Bucks Herald 28 March 1874

[9] Hampshire Telegraph 27 July 1872

Condition: missing

Headstone removed c.1991


Town connections

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In Memoriam

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Further reading