Tag Archives: cemetery

Are the Brookwood Cemetery records going online?

23 Feb

An email from Deceased Online announcing the release of approximately 32,000 burial records and 143,000 cremation records from Cambridge City Cemetery also hints at a forthcoming record release.

According to the email “…. the UK’s biggest cemetery (by burials) is coming to http://www.deceasedonline.com very soon.”

My immediate thought was Brookwood Cemetery, I checked the Brookwood website and they claim it is “the largest cemetery in Britain and is probably the largest in Western Europe.”

I could be jumping to conclusions here, but it sounds to me as if the Brookwood Cemetery Records are going to be available online later this year. The significance is that Brookwood was the main burial place for Londoners after 1854.

Brookwood Cemetery near Woking, Surrey was opened in 1854, and once boasted two railway stations receiving trains from it’s own railway terminus in London. According to their website there have been over 235,000 burials since 1854.

If my guess is correct the release of this database should elevate Deceased Online to the ‘A’ list British genealogy websites. Watch this space!

UPDATED 26/02/2010:  I spoke to a respresentative from Deceased Online today, and sadly it is not Brookwood they are talking about, not yet anyway.

Why I fell in love with Lewes Cemetery

16 Oct

I was down at Lewes, East Sussex again today. Apart from a brief visit to the East Sussex Record Office I also wanted to visit Lewes Cemetery. I knew there had to be relations buried there, and wanted to get a feel for what the place was like and what would be involved in trying to locate them.

I had taken a peek at an aerial view of the cemetery on Google Maps and knew it was big, but I hadn’t quite appreciated how big it was until I actually got there.

It was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to check every gravestone in the time I had, so I just wandered around the cemetery scanning as many headstones as I could trying to pick out any family names. Obviously this wasn’t going to be very successful, but I did come up with a few GEERING gravestones including that of William and Emily GEERING, my 2x great grandparents.

Two GEERING graves at Lewes Cemetery

Two GEERING graves at Lewes Cemetery

There were three things that really stood out for me about Lewes Cemetery, that made me fall in love with the place straight away. Firstly was the position, it is on a south facing slope (they should be growing grapes there) with fantastic views across to the South Downs to the east and west.

View of the South Downs from Lewes Cemetery

View of the South Downs from Lewes Cemetery

Secondly, there was the condition of the cemetery. It was immaculate, all credit to the Lewes District Council and their contractors, there was hardly a blade of grass out of place. I was expecting to find some areas overgrown and abandoned to nature, but no it was all well trimmed and very neat and tidy, so no scrambling through the undergrowth needed.

Thirdly, and this made me smile because it was totally unexpected. They have their own public toilets. In my limited experience of cemeteries I have never come across one with a toilet, admittedly most of my ancestors were buried in small rural cemeteries or churchyards so my experience of large town cemeteries is very limited. It was a shame I didn’t need to use the facilities at the time!

One of the memorials at Lewes Cemetery

One of the memorials at Lewes Cemetery

Sussex Day 2009: Part 8 – Hazeldene Terrace to Hurstpierpoint Cemetery (hang on in there, I’ve almost reached the end!)

24 Jun

This stage of my Sussex Day walk was another quite short section with the destination being more interesting than the actual walk.

From Hazeldene Terrace it was a case of retracing my steps up Western Road, taking a short-cut through Manor Road onto Cuckfield Road and following that to the High Street. The cemetery is a short way along the High Street at the end of South Avenue.

A couple of relations are buried here or have their ashes interred here, although I only knew the exact location of one, my great grandfather Henry John TROWER. His grave is marked by a small headstone and a holly tree.

It occurs to me as I write this that my great grandfather has unintentionally become a constant theme running through this walk. He was baptised at Henfield Church, married (twice) at Sayers Common Church, lived at Vicarage Cottage, worked at Cobbs Mill, lived in Hazeldene Terrace, his funeral was held at Hurstpierpoint Church and he was buried in Hurstpierpoint Cemetery.

I wandered around the cemetery in the hope of discovering another relation, it wasn’t a methodical search, just a random wandering checking out the names. To my surprise I did find someone. A simple plaque marked the location of the ashes of William BURT, my great grandfather’s second wife’s second husband (we knew him as Uncle Bill, which was a lot easier).

I like Hurstpierpoint Cemetery, it is well looked after (the north-west corner has been kept uncut to allow wild flowers to grow) and still in use, it is quite small and compact, with a nice brick chapel and all enclosed by a solid brick wall, to the south the view is across to the South Downs and Wolstonbury Hill.

Tombstone Tuesday: Henry and Jane TROWER

14 Apr

The Easter weekend weather finally did the decent thing and the sun finally came out on Monday afternoon, although it was a little late in the day, it was a welcome sight, after three damp and overcast days. I took the opportunity to go a for a short walk (about six miles) to Henfield, West Sussex.

I’ve been to Henfield many times, but I never miss an opportunity to go and visit the graves of my ancestors at the cemetery. One such grave is that of Henry TROWER and his wife Jane, my 3x great grandparents.


I have cheated a little here, because this photo is not from this visit, but from over a year ago, one morning when the sun was in the right position to capture the inscription. It is a little hard to read, but the inscription is:

In Loving Memory
Also of
"In death they are not divided"
"Blessed are the dead that are in the Lord"

Hurstpierpoint Cemetery postcard and a great postcard resource

11 Apr

Today I added another picture postcard to my collection, a lovely image of The Cemetery, Hurstpierpoint. Actually the picture is of the chapel at the cemetery and a few graves, but as you can see not many. The postcard was sent on the 2nd October 1912 to a Miss Ayling at 8 Powis Villas, Brighton.

The Cemetery, South Avenue, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex

The Cemetery, South Avenue, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex

My family connection with the cemetery is that my great grandfather Henry John TROWER was buried here on the 23rd May 1963. I suspect there are probably a few more ancestors and relations there waiting to be discovered.

Whilst buying this card I also noticed a new website about Sussex postcard publishers, sussexpostcards.info which includes loads of information about Sussex postcard publishers, the history of postcards and lots of images, it is well worth a look, even if your ancestor wasn’t a postcard publisher.

If you are ever in Sussex and want to find old postcards (not just of Sussex but from all over the world and all sorts of subjects) then visit Step Back In Time (at 125 Queens Road, Brighton).

For other sources of postcards and information on collecting postcards check out the Postcard Traders Association website.


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