May 26, 2012

Three Short Genealogies from Watford Cemetery

I don't think this is what they meant when they said "eyes in the back of your head" © Copyright Glaciations of the World

There has been a lot of sun in the last few days and so A and I decided to make the most of it. The original plan had been to head for Brompton Cemetery. I have a few ideas for the research I’m doing but I want to find some more inspiration, in whatever way it may present itself.

Typically, Transport for London failed us. A trackside fire at Willesden Green meant delays on the Overground line and neither of us felt like sitting in that. Instead, we decided to explore Watford Cemetery. I had little hope of finding anything terribly interesting, such is my hatred of the town but it turns out I was nicely surprised.

Watford Cemetery opened in 1858 and is situated on 14 acres of land. The cemetery is now closed, apart from common graves (graves without owners).

The first name of interest, is the gent, Eleazar Christmas. A quick search on Google took me to the London Gazette, May 29 and tells me he was a coach builder, who, in 1863, applied for a patent to invent “improvements in carriages for common roads”. Unfortunately for Eleazar, he seems to have been forced into bankruptcy by May 6, 1864. Less than 12 months after he applied for his patent.

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Digging a bit deeper I located the 1861 Census for Eleazar and his family. It shows, still living at home, his wife Hannah (40), Eleazar (Jnr 20), Thomas (14), Walter (12), Fanny (6), Emma (6), Elizabeth (5) and Clara (2). Clara is buried with her parents having predeceased them in March 1875, aged just 16.

Eleazar Jnr and his wife Maria are buried less than five meters away.

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As per normal, in any graveyard, there were quite a few interesting graves in between the Christmas family and the next “famous” grave.

For example;

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It's always sad when this is the only marker of a life - © Copyright Glaciations of the World

Clinging to hope - © Copyright Glaciations of the World

The next person of interest is a man named Dennis Henry Herbert, 1st Baron Hemingford. Herbert was born in 25 February 1869. He married Mary Graeme Bell the daughter of Valentine Graeme Bell in 1902. Valentine is interesting in his own right, but I will return to him.

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Herbert graduated from Oxford in 1892 with a Bachelor of Arts. In 1895 he was a solicitor with Beaumont & Sons and Clarke, Rawlins & Company in 1895. In 1901 he again graduated from Oxford, this time with a Master of Arts. Between 1918 and 1943 Herbert was a Member of Parliament, Unionist. He also held the office of Justice of the Peace for Hertfordshire. Further, he held the office of Deputy Lieutenant, Temporary Chairman of Committees, House of commons between 1924 and 1928. Was invested as Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire in 1929 and in 1933 he was invested as a Privy Counsellor. Herbert held the office of Deputy Speaker, House of Commons between September 1931 and 1943 before being created 1st Baron Hemingford of Watford in 1943.

Valentine Graeme Bell, buried again a few meters away from Herbert, was born in London in 1839. He was baptised at St Botolph Without, Aldgate and passed away, at the age of 68 at Fitzroy House, London. Bell was the resident engineer on the Cleveland Railway, Yorkshire between 1863 and 1865. He moved on as resident engineer on the Mont Cenis Railway between 1866 and 1868. In 1880 he was with the Colonial Office in Jamaica and was Director of Public Works between 1887 and 1908. He was invested as a Companion, Order of St Michael and St George in 1903.

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The third and final headstone I want to discuss is Lady Louisa Caroline Elizabeth Capel (nee Boyle) – second wife of Arthur Algernon Capell, 6th Earl of Essex and daughter of Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan and Lady Catherine St Lawrence. Capell was born in 1803, the son of the Hon. John Thomas Capel and Lady Caroline Paget. Capell’s first marriaged was Lady Caroline Janetta Beauclerk, herself the daughter of William Beauclerk, 8th Duke of St Albans and Maria Janetta Nelthorpe. Louisa Boyle was Capell’s second wife. She passed away on 5 May 1876.

Watford Cemetery
Dennis Henry Herbert
Valentine Graeme Bell
Lousia Caroline Elizabeth Boyle
Arthur Algernon Capell,

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