Countess of Bridgewater Commemoration Stone | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Countess of Bridgewater Commemoration Stone

 

Who does this commemorate?


Memorial only (not buried here)


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Date erected 1842

This large stone monument records the generous gift of land by the Countess of Bridgewater in 1842 to St Peter’s Church to establish a new Cemetery .  This marks an important connection between the Cemetery and the nearby stately home of Ashridge.

The memorial lists the voluntary donations made by local supporters, with several large sums from wealthy benefactors (among them the Rector of St Peter’s, Rev. John Crofts) along with smaller anonymous contributions. When we understand the value of the donations shown here in modern money, we can appreciate their generosity: a £5 donation would be worth over £300 in today’s money, £25 would be around £1500, and £50 would be worth over £3000. Their gifts remind us today that this Cemetery was a true community project, founded with charity.

The Foundation Stone also records donations to the project by the London and Birmingham Railway Company (£40) and the Grand Junction Canal Company (a rather meagre £6 and 10 shillings). Railway engineer Robert Stephenson had recently completed the railway line through Berkhamsted, putting it in direct competition with the canal. Here is a public record of their contributions to a worthy community project, which is perhaps an early example of corporate sponsorship.

At the time, the Parish of Great Berkhamsted was part of the Diocese of Lincoln, an enormous territory that stretched from the Humber down to the edge of London, and so the new Cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt. Rev. John Kaye, on Tuesday 11th October 1842.

IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD
1842
THIS LAND WAS PRESENTED FOR A BURIAL GROUND
TO THE
PARISH OF BERKHAMSTEAD ST PETER’S
BY
CHARLOTTE CATHERINE ANNE
COUNTESS OF BRIDGEWATER
————

THE WALLS ENCLOSING THE SAME
WERE ERECTED WITHOUT THE AID OF A RATE
BY THE FOLLOWING VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS

L S
The Rev. John Crofts 50 0
The Rt Hon. Mark Ld. Somerville  25 0
The Hon. W Booth Grey  25 0
The Hon. Harriot Grimston  50 0
Sir Charles Deacon KCB  5 0
James Smith Esq  25 0
London and Birmingham Railway Company  40 0
Grand Junction Canal Company  6 10
In smaller sums  30 0

————
CONSECRATED
BY
JOHN LORD BISHOP OF LINCOLN
ON THE 11TH DAY OF OCTOBER IN THE SAME YEAR
————
JOHN CROFTS RECTOR
AUGUSTUS SMITH CHURCHWARDEN
HENRY LANE CHURCHWARDEN

Condition: good

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