|Rectory Lane Cemetery|
Also known as: Berkhamsted, Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted,Three Close Lane Cemetery, Great Berkhamsted (St. Peter) Church Cemetery, Three Close Lane Cemetery
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Berkhamsted is a historic town in England which is situated in the west of Hertfordshire, between the towns of Tring and Hemel Hempstead. It is also a civil parish with a designated Town Council within the administrative district (and borough since 1984) of Dacorum. The town is most well known for its castle, now in ruins but once a popular country retreat of the Norman kings.
It was in Berkhamsted, where earlier there was a Saxon fort, that William was handed the crown in 1066. Here, his half-brother, Count Robert of Mortain, built a ‘motte and bailey' castle with two moats. Substantial ruins of the Castle still remain. This was the favourite home of the Black Prince, who honeymooned here with the Fair Maid of Kent. Geoffrey Chaucer was Clerk of the Works. The hymnist and poet, William Cowper, was born in the Rectory here, less than two hundred years before Graham Greene was born at St. John's, Chesham Road, a boarding house of Berkhamsted School. James Barrie often stayed here and the Llewellyn Davies children who lived in Egerton House were the inspiration for Peter Pan. A few doors down the High Street Clementine Hozier lived and attended the Girls' School, now part of Berkhamsted School. She became the wife of Sir Winston Churchill.The Grand Junction, now the Grand Union Canal, was opened through Berkhamsted in 1798. Up until the Second World War the canal was a principal artery of the industrial revolution linking London with the West Midlands. The ‘Father of Inland Navigation', the Duke of Bridgewater, who inspired the canal system in England, had his home ‘up on the hill' at Ashridge. Berkhamsted is also the home of the British Film Institute's BFI National Archive at King's Hill, one of the largest film and television archives in the world, which was generously endowed by the late John Paul Getty.The name of the town has been spelt in a variety of ways over the years, and the present spelling was adopted in 1937. Earlier spellings included Berkhampstead, Muche Barkhamstede, Berkhamsted Magna, Great Berkhamsted and Berkhamstead. The earliest recorded form of the name is the Old English Beorhoanstadde. Historian Percy Birtchnell identified over 50 different spellings and epithets since the Domesday Book. It is believed the original refers to homestead amongst the hills (Saxon – bergs). The town is known locally and affectionately as "Berko".This is also known as Three Close Lane Cemetery and St Peter's Church Cemetery standing in Rectory Lane, almost opposite the church, in the Borough of Dacorum. It is divided by a terrace into upper and lower parts. The rows are numbered from the upper end(or North West.)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. Carlotte Catherine Anne, Countess of Bridgewater (widow of John Egerton, 7th Earl of Bridgewater), gave a piece of land of approximately an acre to the parish between the old Rectory and the present Three Close Lane.It was opened in 1842 and consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln. Allowance was made for future expansion and in 1921 the south-west wall was demolished and the adjoining piece of ground was consecrated.
This cemetery, a church cemetery, contains Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war and of the 1939-1945 war. By the late 1940s much of this land had been used and a new civic cemetery was opened at Kingshill. Rectory Lane Cemetery is now no longer in use for burials. [Text added by Geoffrey Gillon]
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