Families invited to comment as Conservation work begins on Memorials at Rectory Lane Cemetery | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Families invited to comment as Conservation work begins on Memorials at Rectory Lane Cemetery


February 14th, 2018

The Friends of St Peter’s is appealing for any of the descendants of 17 families buried in the lower part of the Cemetery (most Northern area closest to the High Street) to get in touch.

The group is keen to discover any further information on the nominated memorials or the individuals they contain. Project Manager James Moir explained “Some descendants may have details or photographs that could add to the knowledge of future generations. As responsibility for maintaining individual memorials normally rests with the families concerned they may also wish to help with the cost of the restoration or may have alternative plans and would prefer to commission the work themselves.”

Family members or interested parties are asked to contact with their views about the planned work by March 30th, 2017 via jamesmgmoir@aol.com, 07545 786 372 or to see the nominated monuments online together with photos and a map at www.stpetersberkhamstedfriends.org.uk

Explaining the rationale for this work Moir added: “These monuments represent a number of unusual tombs and structures. Some have been chosen because they mark the last resting place of historical figures in the town and otherwise they may be lost.  Obviously, we are looking at the Health and Safety aspects too.”

Planned conservation work includes re-assembly, replacement of missing stonework, repairs in lime mortars, re-carving inscriptions where appropriate, treatment with light steam cleaning or the application of a protective lime layer.

Among the Memorials chosen are:

  • Ann Hewson an heiress, who helped her nephew, William Parkins to found one of the largest stationery suppliers in London, and who was later declared a lunatic.
  • John Edward, Arthur and Mary Anne Lane were members of the famous Lanes Nursery family which operated from Berkhamsted between 1777 until the 1960s. During over fifty years at the head of the firm, their father had expanded the business and it became nationally renowned including marketing the ‘Lanes Prince Albert Apple’ to mark the Royal visit to the town in 1841. 
  • Mary or Polly Page as she was known, followed her father as innkeeper of the Kings Arms. She formed a friendship with Louis XVIII as he called in to rest his horses on the way to his court in exile at Hartwell House Aylesbury. Once restored to power he invited Polly to visit him at Versailles.

This work will form the first part of the physical transformation of the Cemetery financed by the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund and will begin this April. As the year progresses visitors will see further conservation work on memorials in the upper terraces and remedial works to various parts of the boundary walls.

 Names on those monuments affected in alphabetical order


Family name and first names

Year of death

Barnes: Charles

Tyler: Mary Ann



Greedy: John; son John

1857; 1872

Groves: Martha Mary; husband John

Leach: daughter Esther



Hewson: Ann


Holloway: Stephen; Lucy

1866; 1878

Hurst: John; daughter Sarah Ann

1857; 1857

Key: William


Lane: John Edward; Arthur; Mary Ann

1868; 1870; 1894

Lane: Ann; husband Henry; son Hervey

1856; 1865; 1879

Leaper: Hannah; husband Thomas; daughter Anne

1843; 1850; 1856

Page: Mary


Parkins: John; wife Mary

1854; 1872

Rippon: Richard Oliver; wife Mary Charlotte; daughter Clara Jane

1898; 1910; 1895

Rolph: John Frederick; Margaret Kerr; Sara Louisa Jane Eliza, wife of John; son Everard who died at 9 months

1862; 1869; 1873; 1874; 1873

Smith-Dorrien: Sir Horace Lockwood


Tompkins: Thomas; Emily

1887; 1912

Unwin: Henry; wife Ann Susanna; daughter Ann

1870; 1886; 1873



Note to editors

The Friends of St Peter’s, Great Berkhamsted, has secured a National Lottery grant of almost £1m to restore and transform Rectory Lane Cemetery in Berkhamsted. The funding has been awarded through the Parks for People programme, run by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund.

To date, more than £900million of money raised by National Lottery players has been invested in parks since 1996.

About ‘The Friends of St Peters’

Launched in 2013 it is a Registered Charity (Registered Charity Number 1160314). The Friends encourage a wider appreciation of the church and its churchyards as a rich store of local and architectural history. They organise social and fund-raising events and act as a focus and resource for all who are interested in the continuing history of our town. The Friends provide an opportunity for individuals, families, local institutions and businesses to become involved in the care and conservation of this irreplaceable heritage.

For further information:

Heritage Lottery Fund Press Office – Natasha Ley 020 7591 6143 Natashal@hlf.org.uk / Siobhan Palmer 020 7591 6056 SPalmer@hlf.org.uk

Big Lottery Fund Press Office – 020 7211 1888 pressoffice@biglotteryfund.org.uk

Friends of St Peter’s – Elaine Mercer 07866 119749