Downpatrick | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted


Downpatrick, Co Down

Downpatrick is an attractive small town in County Down, Northern Ireland,  about 21 miles (34 km) south of Belfast. It has a rich and fascinating history and its ancient  Church of Ireland cathedral is said to be the burial place of Saint Patrick.

Located 277 miles (446km) from Berkhamsted, it seems unlikely that there should be a connection with Rectory Lane Cemetery, but among the graves here we find the last resting place of a daughter of Down, Sister Hannah Maude Cottingham. Maude was born in late 1886 in Downpatrick. Her father was Thomas Cottingham; her mother died while Hannah was still a child and she had an older brother. Maude was born half a century before the partition of Ireland and the creation of Northern Ireland, and Downpatrick was simply a town in Ireland. The family Cottingham moved around frequently, living in Portadown, County Antrim and other locations.

Maude trained to be a nurse, probably in Belfast. During World War I, she left Ireland and went to work in England, at the Brundall Auxillary Hospital in Norwich, and at British Base Hospitals in France. She served in 1915 at the No.8 British Red Cross Hospital which was located first in Calais, then Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, and then Boulogne (the “Baltic and Corn Exchange Hospital”).

At some point during the war, Maude came to Berkhamsted to take the post of Matron at The Beeches Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Hospital on Kings Road. The hospital had been set up to care for military personnel training at the Inns of Court OTC training camp at Kichener’s Fields near the Castle. This was at the start of the 1918 Flu Pandemic that swept the world and Maude was probably treating flu cases among the young trainee officers. Sadly, Sister Cottingham succumbed to the virus and died in service at the age of 31, hundreds of miles from home.

Sister Maud Cottingham was buried in Rectory Lane Cemetery. She was so loved and and respected by the young men of the Inns of Court Regiment here, that they paid for her memorial.


Cemetery connections

Discover the memorials in Rectory Lane Cemetery with historical links to Downpatrick

1 burial is found — click on a burial below to find out more:

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