Rectory Lane Cemetery Hosts 5th Heritage Open Day Let It R.I.P. September 9th – 11.00 – 18.00 | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery Hosts 5th Heritage Open Day Let It R.I.P. September 9th – 11.00 – 18.00

NEWS RELEASE                                                                            23rd August 2018

Memorials are centre stage in this year’s event.  The first tranche of conservation work funded by the National Lottery includes 19 key memorials which have been beautifully repaired and restored. In celebration, this year’s programme looks in depth at ‘Memorialisation’ in its many forms and asks the question ‘How would we like to be remembered?”

Highlights include:


  • Acclaimed storyteller Eleanor Buchan will take audiences on an interactive journey into the mysterious, scandalous and downright surprising true tales hidden under the yew trees and gravestones of the Cemetery. A life-affirming celebration of Berkhamsted’s living and dead, told with humour, honour – and a dash of gothic glamour is promised. It is suitable for all ages.’ Directed by Elizabeth Crarer, ‘Memento Mori’ is a specially commissioned production by The Heroine Project Presents.


  • Exciting and innovative plans for the new Garden of Remembrance (which is planned for next year) will be on show and visitors will be able to comment and contribute in a rather creative way.


  • Tours will be hosted by two remarkable women associated with the Cemetery- the Countess of Bridgewater benefactress of the land it is built on and Sister Cottingham a WW1 matron.


  • Berkhamsted Youth Theatre will present “Who’s walking over my grave?” a playlet written by local writer Kate Perera which features former movers and shakers of the town George Loader, Rev Cobb and Walter Pitkin talking about the changes taking place in the Cemetery.


  • Chiltern Chamber Choir will sing Hymns reflecting some of the epitaphs recorded here and a celebrant will lead a tour of selected gravestones discussing the messages conveyed.


Visitors will also be able to see some of the changes being achieved by a National Lottery funded restoration project at the cemetery. Made possible by National Lottery players, £907,600 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund.

Located in ten stations throughout the site there are activities available for all ages:

Art activities inspired by the cultural references found on the memorials and people’s own memories will include making floral wreaths, sketching, clay tile making, stone carving and more.

Mr Ghost the gravedigger’s Maths quiz will demonstrate his use of clever computation and precision to make the Cemetery run efficiently, plus, for the more adventurous, there is a chance to test the strength of arches and vaults.

Geology and conservation experts will help visitors discover where all the memorials originated and the secrets of how damaged ones have been pieced back together.

Genealogy experts and self-guided trails are also part of the day’s fun.

Speaking of the day, Kate Campbell Community Engagement Officer said: “This Cemetery has so many stories to tell and it’s heartening to see how members of the local Community are donning costumes, composing playlets, devising quizzes and tours and singing hymns to help us to bring these human histories to life. Anyone who joins in the day will leave with a completely different view of the cemetery – not as a dead space, but much more as a living place!”

All performances are repeated throughout the day between 11.00 and 18.00 and a full programme will be on  or Facebook – Friends of St Peter’s Berkhamsted from September 1.

For further information:

Heritage Lottery Fund Press Office – Rebecca Harris

Big Lottery Fund Press Office – 020 7211 1888

Friends of St Peter’s – Elaine Mercer 07866 119749