Rectory Lane Cemetery | St Peter's Great Berkhamsted

The Church of St Peter Great Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery

Rectory Lane Cemetery lies on the other side of Berkhamsted High Street from St Peter’s, a tranquil haven hidden behind the Rex Cinema, abundant with wildlife, and Victorian monuments. Many local people have family graves here, several notable historic figures are buried here, and there are several Commonwealth War Graves.


Find a Grave

Access the Great Berkhamsted parish burial records online for free. Search for family names in over one thousand plots in Rectory Lane Cemetery to find a burial and discover the stories hidden under the gravestones.

 

History

Consecration of the Rectory Lane Cemetery extension in 1920. Rector, the Rev Chipchase Stainsby accompanies the Bishop of Bedford (or possibly Rt Rev Michael Bolton Furse, Bishop of St Albans)

Until the mid-19th Century, St Peter’s churchyard was used for town burials, but like many burial grounds in England at the time, it became overcrowded. In 1842, and a new burial ground was established at Rectory Lane on land donated to the parish by Charlotte Catherine Anne, Countess of Bridgewater (widow of John Egerton, 7th Earl of Bridgewater). This cemetery eventually became full, and a new civic cemetery opened at Kingshill Cemetery in the 1940s. Over the years, Rectory Lane Cemetery fell into neglect and became overgrown.

 

War graves

Commonwealth War Graves

Rectory Lane cemetery contains several war graves from the two World Wars. In all, there are 14 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 13 of the Second World War here. Among the notable burials is the grave of General Horace Smith-Dorrien, a veteran of the Second Boer War and World War I and a former Governor of Gibraltar.

 

Restoration Project

Landscaping work in the cemetery

The cemetery is not used for burials today, but it is valued as a local heritage site and a wildlife haven. It is now in the care of the Friends of St Peter’s Berkhamsted, a charitable trust dedicated to maintaining and enhancing St Peter’s Church and the churchyards.

The Friends are undertaking a major project to restore the cemetery as a  community green space, supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, heritage organisations and local volunteers.  If you would like to support this project by volunteering or making a donation, or if you would like to sponsor a family grave, visit the Friends website to find out more.

 

Contacts

 
photo of James Moir

James Moir

Convenor, Rectory Lane Cemetery Project (Friends of St Peter's)

Friends of St Peter’s

Support our heritage: St Peter’s Church is a cherished part of our national and local history. Support the Friends of St Peter’s and help to care for our historic buildings and cemeteries.

See also