Renovation of memorials

The memorials in our cemetery mark the final resting place of people and serve to connect us with previous generations and their history. Unfortunately, many of the memorials are also neglected, as those who previously looked after them are no longer able to do so for many reasons.

Our team of volunteers  have restored some of these neglected memorials to their former glory by restoring fallen over headstones, mending broken gravestones and statues, remarking the borders around graves, cleaning headstones and generally tidying up.

If you are interested in finding out more about joining the Friends of Bedford Cemetery and volunteering,  please visit our Volunteering Section

Monuments and memorials are always deserving of respect and care. The pictures below show some of our memorials before and after restoration.


Frances Mary Sim the first Head Mistress of the Kindergarten and the founder of the Teacher Training College, Bedford. Grave Ref G2-75 For more information click here

William and Annie Blake who lead the way in photography Grave Ref C-1 For more information click here

William and Mary Howard Lovell.  Mary was the great granddaughter of John Moore Howard who served as Governor of the County Goal in Bedford (1783-1814) and was dismissed for using prison labour for his own means. Her father was Sir Frederick Howard who in partnership with his brother built Britannia Iron Works, Bedford. Grave Ref F4-62

Fanny Peters Housekeeper to Sir Frederick Howard Grave Ref B-1104

John Charles Denton. In the 1870s he built the biggest and best store in Bedford, the Pantechnicon, later Longhurst and Skinner and now the Pilgrims Progress.    Grave ref C3-9

Henry Francis. Boot maker of Bedford Grave Ref B-1104

Mabel Barltrop ( 1866-1934).  Mabel was known to her followers as Octavia, Shiloh or Shiloh-Jerusalem and was founder of the Panacea Society, a secretive religious group based in Bedford, but which was known all over the world. She claimed to be a great prophet, the Daughter of God, have daily messages from God, and to have healing powers. Her neglected grave was restored by the Panacea Museum in 2016. For further information click on video link. Grave Ref. J-434

Emily Goodwin ( 1857-1943) was the second most important person in the Panacea Society, after Mabel Barltrop, and became the leader in 1934. She claimed to be the “Instrument of The Divine Mother” speaking the words of the female aspect of God. As with Mabel Barltrop, her grave doesn’t have her name, just her initials, and was restored in 2016. Grave Ref I.451.

The Stannard family were famed in Bedford as musicians and watercolourists. Henry Stannard (R.B.A) held art classes at his studio on the corner of Harper Street and Dame Alice Street. His eldest daughter Emily (R.A.M) was a pupil of her father. She was a highly talented artist as well as being a Mezzo Soprano. Her sister Ivy Horn was a violinist and artist. She was the proprietor of the Bedford Art Academy at 59 Bromham Road. Grave Ref. F-4126 For more information click here

Baby Eve –  A Heart-rending Memorial.  Many people over the years would not fail to notice as they walked past Baby Eve’s last resting place. Some of those may have paused for a while to look down on the touching memorial, and some have left flowers.  Baby Joan Christine Turing Eve was born in Bedford on May 3rd 1904, and died at Weymouth on August 15th 1905. Joan was the daughter of Sir Herbert Trustram, and Lady Fanny Jean Eve. Grave ref H3-165
Joan’s cousin was Alan Turing, who during WW2 worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park.  Alan sadly did not get the chance to know his cousin Joan as he was born eight years later. For more information click here

Daniel O’Connell Jr is buried, together with his wife Ellen, near the main gatehouse of our cemetery. Daniel O’Connell was born in 1816 and died aged 80 in 1897. He was the youngest and last surviving son of Daniel O’Connell Snr. known as ‘The Liberator’.  Latterly he and his family lived in Clapham Road, Bedford, opposite St. Martin’s church. Grave ref C2-193. Very nearby to Daniel Jr’s grave is a barely legible little monument where Daniel and Ellen’s  daughter Kitty is buried.

Richard Stennett. Bedford Borough Chief Constable (1852 to 1869) who died 24th May 1898 aged 91 years. Prior to being appointed the Borough Chief Constable he was the proprietor of the Cross Keys public house in the High Street Bedford.His wife and son are buried in the adjacent grave. Grave ref G9-66

In 1838, in the year of Queen Victoria’s Coronation, Thomas Rose set up a drapery store at 51-53 High Street. When he died his eldest son, Edward Paine Rose, ran the business. The store was later known as E. P. Rose & Son, which now houses Debenhams.
Thomas’s large and impressive memorial, in the form of an obelisk, shows the sign of his wealth and status. Edward seems to have had a close relationship with his father as he chose his memorial to stand by the side his father’s obelisk.
Inscribed on the obelisk are Thomas, who died on the 6th January 1863 and his 18-year-old daughter, Susie, who, died on the 9th February 1868. The last burial in the family plot was his wife, Mary; she died at the age of 86 years, on the 3rd March 1907.
Remembered on the obelisk are Thomas and Mary’s two other children. They were Florence Helen Rose, who died at the age of 16 months on the 6th May 1850, and John Holland Rose, who died in April 1854. They died before Foster Hill Road Cemetery opened in 1855, and were buried in Bunyan Cemetery, Mill Street, Bedford.  Grave Ref C8-132

Annie Carter Head Mistress Of The High School Preston Lancashire and Sometime Second Mistress of the Bedford High School.
She Entered Into Rest January 10th 1887 Aged 33 Years
“Blessed Are The Pure In Heart : For They Shall See God” Grave ref: E4-29.

Walter John Pragnell aged 5 years and 3 months. Died 24th December 1883 and was buried 28th December 1883.Son of Walter and Sarah Ann Pragnell. The ‘Foot Stone’ was unearthed whilst digging the hole to replace the headstone and has been placed behind the headstone as part of the memorial. Grave ref: G5-171

Elizabeth Lenton Roff died on the 24th November 1870 at the age of 58. She is buried in the same grave as William Roff senior, who died on the 25th November 1897 at the age of 86.  Grave ref D1-65.

Her son, William Roff JP , the ex-Mayor and High Street shop owner  died on the 23rd June 1920 at the age of 78. He is buried in grave D1-64 together with his wife Mary who died on the 21st February 1921 at the age of 75.

The first  photograph, which was kindly given to us by the family, shows the memorial in its splendid and pristine condition when it was first erected in 1870.

Augustus Hill Chief Fire Officer of Bedford who died 19th March 1912 and Edith May Hill who died 25th January 1941. Grave ref: C7-102.  Also Elizabeth Amelia Hill who died 31st July 1887. Grave ref: C7-112  (See Article)

The Working Party managed to straighten the memorial stone of Mary Ann Keep  Grave ref G5-165 which had been sloping at  a 45 degree angle. Mary Ann Keep  died on the 18th January 1902 aged 64 years and was buried next to her husband James Keep. Grave ref G5-155.  James Keep died on the 28th November 1896 in his 59th year.  The photographs also show the upright and cleaned memorials.

Ralph Theodore Champion, born 22nd May 1880, died 14th March 1881. He was the youngest of eight children of Annie and the Rev. E. Champion, who lived in Dame Alice Street, Bedford.
In 1878,  Ralph’s father, the Rev. Champion was the only missionary stationed at the Jabalpur Mission, India. The Jabalpur Mission was originally founded with a view to the evangelization of the Gonds. The Gonds are the tribal community mostly found in the Gond forests of central India.  Grave Ref G9-144

George Hart Ager and Ada Ager. George Hart Ager was educated at Bedford Modern School. He was apprenticed to the printing trade at the office of The Bedfordshire Times. He married Ada Emma Taylor in 1918 after moving to London to take up a position on a Kingston newspaper. On their return to Bedford George took up the post of reader for the Sidney Press Ltd., Sidney Road, Bedford and Ada became a prominent local preacher in Hassett Street Methodist Circuit. She was also asssociated with various women’s meetings at the churches both as speaker and a worker. Nearly every month for sixteen years she addressed meetings at Howard Church. Ada was also President of the Bedford Women’s Adult School.  There were no children of the marriage.  Grave Ref E8-52

Isaac Fenwick. Isaac Fenwick was born in 1833 at Sheffield, Yorkshire. On 24th November 1856 at the Parish Church, Sheffield, Isaac married Elizabeth Abbott. At the time of his marriage Isaac was a blade forger. In the 1861 Census for Holmfirth, Huddersfield, Isaac is a drill sergeant in the army.
In the 1871 Census for Durham, Isaac is a tobacconist. By 1873 Isaac had moved to Bedford. The Bedfordshire Times and Independent, 12th April 1873, reported that Isaac Fenwick, tobacconist, High Street, Bedford, was charged with being drunk, at Turvey, on the 19th March. The arresting police officer stated that the defendant and two others were riding in a trap, and when they stopped at a public house in Turvey for a few minutes he saw that they were drunk. Mr Fenwick said he had been ill, and after taking several glasses of drink the fresh air overcame him. He said he was not the driver. He was fined 10 shillings with  6 shillings costs. On 19th March 1879 Isaac died at High Street Bedford. His burial took place on 24th March. Grave ref C7-99

Mercy and Thomas Powell. Thomas Powell was born in Warwickshire in 1842. At the age of 19 he was living at home with his parents and his elder brother, William. His father was a shoemaker. In 1864 Thomas married Mercy Jolliffe at St. George, Hanover Square, London. Mercy was born in 1844 at Singleton, Sussex. She was the youngest of 3 siblings. Her sister, Emma was born in 1841 and  her brother, Noah was born in 1839.  Her father by trade was a castrator. In the 1871 Census for Bedford, Mercy and Thomas are living at 50 Pilcroft Street, Bedford, with their 3 children. The 1881 Census showed they went on to have 6 more children. Mercy and Emma are both interred  in grave ref F6-58.  Thomas  is in Grave ref F6-68. The graves are side by side but only one headstone has been provided.

The Daughters of the Holy Ghost  were a teaching order of nuns based in a convent at St Brieuc in Brittany. When, in the early 1900s, the French government introduced severe anti-clerical laws intended to prevent Catholic religious orders from teaching, nuns were sent to the UK to establish Catholic schools for girls, in Abergavenny, Bedford and Ingsdon (Devon). In Bedford, the nuns (who first settled in Lansdowne Road) took over (in 1914) the premises of the Crescent House Ladies’ College at 112-114 Bromham Road, which became the Convent of the Holy Ghost School, as well as the Bedford Convent. For further details click here.

Anne Phillip sadly  died on the 2nd August 1962 at the age of one year following a long period of ill-health. Anne’s grave, like so many baby graves at that time, was unmarked and in an area that was difficult to identify. Eventually the grave of Anne was identified, and its position verified by Bereavement Services, Norse Road and the family were informed. A temporary wooden cross was erected in order to identify the grave position – A-326.

The Phillip family visited the grave at Bedford Cemetery in August 2018, travelling from Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire, and were shown the location of the grave by the Friends of the Cemetery. A permanent headstone was erected in October 2019.

Frank Clarke was only 12 years of age when he died following an accident when a hand grenade went off at Woburn Road, Heath, Bedfordshire. 18th September 1942.
He was buried at Bedford Cemetery 22nd September 1942. Grave ref R-645.

Harriet Ann Grant was the the only daughter of Alexander and Sarah Grant. She died on the 10th March 1869, aged only 11 years.  Grave reference H11-114.

Also mentioned on the grave of Harriet Ann is the infant son of Christopher & Harriett Grant – Charles Grant.

Harriett Grant, wife of Christopher Grant and mother of Charles Grant (see above). Grave reference H11-123

Alexander Grant, Grave reference H11-98 and Sarah Grant, Grave reference H11.98.  Parents of Harriet Ann  and, we believe, Christopher Grant (see above)

Robert Charles Smith was only 12 years old when he drowned whilst bathing in the river.  Grave reference H4-10.  He was the second son of Robert and Esther Smith of St Cuthbert’s Street, Bedford.  The poem on his headstone reads:

“O When The First Wild Throb Is Past
Of Anguish and Despair
To Life the Eye of Faith to Heaven
And Think My Child Is There
This Best Can Dry the Gushing Tears
This Held the Heart Relief
Until The Christian’s Pious Hope
O Becomes A Mother’s Grief”

The Read Family.  Cecil Talbot Read, aged 18 years, drowned in the river on the 21st August 1882. Grave reference G5-312.  Mentioned on his headstone is his brother, William Wood Dewes Read, who died off Cape Finisterre homeward bound on the 17th May 1882, aged 18 years.  His mother and father, Caroline Read who died 15th March 1903 aged 83 years  and Constantine Hayward Read who died 12th February 1888, aged 62 years are also buried in the Cemetery.  Grave reference G5-122.

Frank and Annie Howe.  Frank Howe was tragically killed whilst cycling with his sons and two friends in Cambridge.  He died on the 6th April 1912 aged 45 years.  Sadly, Mrs Annie Howe was to suffer further tragedies in her life in that her two sons Cyril and Claude were both killed in World War 1.  She died 8th June 1940 and is buried in the same grave as her husband.  Grave ref B6-2

Sgt William George Gibbs, aged 25 years.  He was killed by the IRA during a raid at Mallow Barracks, County Cork, Ireland on the 28th September 1920.  He was buried in the Cemetery with full military honours on the 4th October 1920.            Grave ref K3-3

Thomas Jobson Jackson  came to Bedford about 1846, and established an architectural practice in Bedford. Among his more important works was the laying out of Bedford Cemetery, assisted by John Usher, and there can be no doubt that much of the beauty of our  Cemetery is due to the excellent judgement exercised by Thomas Jobson Jackson in the first stages of that work. He also designed the chapels and the red Gothic entrance lodge of the Cemetery.  His wife, Elizabeth Cox Jackson and daughter Adeline Mary Wing, are interred with him.  Grave ref. K4-14

Alice Lydia Phelps died on the 10th December 1975 , aged 71 years and was buried on the 16th December. She lived at Seaton Drive Bedford. Albert Edward Phelps was buried 14th January 1991. His address was recorded as The Mallards, Bedford.  There is a third burial in the grave, that of Ann Margaret Dowell, aged 4 months. Baby Ann was buried 19th August 1968. Grave ref  G8-182.

A baby grave – Clara Mabel Wroughton, died 28th March 1877 at the age of nine months. Mabel was buried on the 3rd April 1877.  The date on the headstone is 28th March 1878, however, this is incorrect because Clara Mabel was buried on the 3rd April 1877 as per the burial records. Grave ref B5-180.

Elizabeth Mobbs, who died 18th May 1889 and was buried at Bedford Cemetery Section G6-85 on the 23rd May 1889. She was 59 years of age.

Charlotte Emerson, aged 43 years.  She died 8th February 1858 and was buried at Bedford Cemetery on the 13th February 1858. Grave ref C5-247.  Her husband James Emerson, aged 75 years, buried  on the 7th April 1865, is mentioned on the headstone and is buried in the adjacent grave, G5-238. There is no headstone.

Thomas S. A. Edmonds who died 10th February 1968 at the age of 78 years and Ellen Edmonds who died 26th November 1977 at the age of 90 years.  Plaque reference: B 1 5.

Emily Barrett who died 3rd August 1976 at the age of 85 years.  Plaque reference: Q 1 2.

The first headstone to be erected in the Cemetery is that of  of Elizabeth Jane CLAYTON who died 8th July 1855 – buried 14th July 1855. Age 5 years & 9 months. Her father Isaac Clayton (died 1892) aged 81 years, and her Grandfather also Isaac Clayton (died 1861) at the age of 81 years are also buried in the same grave. Her mother Elizabeth who died 27th September 1876 at the age of 65 years is buried in an adjacent grave in Section G-3.

There are two other burials in the grave G3-35, both with an address in Cauldwell Street St Mary’s Bedford, making four adult burials in addition to Elizabeth who was the first in July 1855.

We have commissioned and funded the restoration of this memorial and it is now displayed in the Chapel. A replacement headstone now marks the original grave site.

Jane Sherwood FORD (nee COPSEY) who died 27th October 1887 at the age of 48 years. Her home address was Bromham Road, Parish of the Holy Trinity, Bedford. She was buried at Bedford Cemetery on the 26th October 1887. The Grave ref is: Section D2. Grave No 8.
The inscription on Jane’s grave reads:
In Affectionate Remembrance of

Two other family members are buried in the adjacent grave, Grave No D2-17.
George Walter COPSEY was buried on the 10th June 1871, he was 36 years of age. His address at the time of his death was Tavistock Street St Peter’s Bedford.

The second burial in grave D2-17 was Thomas James FORD, he was ten (10) months old. The address recorded at the time that Thomas died was 12 Priory Terrace, Parish of Holy Trinity, St Paul’s Bedford.

Jane married Thomas James FORD. They had five children:

Sherwood Diemer Ford born, 1870; Edith Mary Ford born:,1872; Walter Henry Ford born, 1873/4; Thomas James Ford born, July/Aug 1876 and who died 29th May 1877; Thomas
Hilda Beatrice Ford born: 1877.

Egbert Athelstan NEW  who died 3rd June 1926 aged 86  and Sarah Maria NEW  who died 22nd April 1936 aged 72. Gr ref: D5-18

Two of their three sons are also commemorated on the grave.

E G (Egbert Guy) NEW
Service Number: 412
Regiment – East African Mounted Rifles
Died (Wednesday) 19th January 1916. Age 21.
Buried or commemorated at KAJIADO CEMETERY II. A. 1. Kenya
Country of Service United Kingdom.

Lieutenant PAUL NEW
Regiment – Border Regiment 3rd Bn. attd. 1st Bn.
Died (Saturday) 19th May 1917. Age 20.
Commemorated at ARRAS MEMORIAL Bay 6. France
Country of Service United Kingdom

Dorothy Eileen ELLIS,  who died 31st December 1926, aged 4 years. Buried 4th January 1927.  Grave reference E-557.

Sometimes all is not as it appears.  Although there are several names on this memorial, the only family members buried here are Henrietta Billings who died 29th July 1913, aged 84 years and  Clement Henry Billings,  who was buried 28th December 1898, aged 40 years of age. At the time of his death his address was St Leonard’s on Sea, East Sussex.  He is not mentioned on the memorial.                    Grave ref: K4- 126.

Annie (Madge) SEAR who died 13th February 1922 and was buried 17th February 1922,  aged 30 years. Grave ref: L-29.

Also buried in the same grave is Sarah Ann WALKER (mother of Annie Sears),  who died 3rd April 1932 and buried 7th April 1932. Aged 73 years. Sadly, also buried in this grave is baby Ann Walker aged 5 months who was buried 13th September 1935. Not mentioned on the headstone inscription.

Timothy Nelson PEARSON died 24th March 1879 and buried 28th March 1879 – 58 years of age. Grave ref: F4. 9. and Emily Annie PEARSON died 1st May 1913 and buried 5th May 1913 – 77 years of age.  Grave ref: F4-8

Both are remembered on the headstone at the grave of Emily, F4-8. The grave of Timothy is at the foot of Emily’s grave. Two graves (husband and wife) with one headstone.


The HASSELL family. The grave stone has four family names all of which are buried in a line of three graves with just one headstone.

The main burial is that of William Hassell who died 23rd September 1905.  Buried in the same grave is his wife Harriett Hassell who died 12th December 1912.  Grave Ref: G4-36.

There are two adjacent graves: Winifred (Minnie) Hassell who died 18th March 1880. She was 15 years of age. Grave Ref: G4-44. The second daughter of William & Harriett was Annie (Anna) Clara Hassell who was buried 11th October 1877 – she was six months of age. Grave Ref : G4-53.

Jane Bidwell HOWARD, of Tavistock Street, Parish of the Holy Trinity, Bedford.  27 years of age died 9th July 1871.  Buried 13th July 1871.  Grave ref: E7-190.  The inscription reads: “Formerly of Hoxton Square London”. “I shall be satisfied when I’awake with thy likeness”. This stone was completely covered by the roots of the Ivy on the tree.

John EKINS who died 22nd June 1913 aged 86 years, buried 24th June 1913 and Emma EKINS who died 17th July 1916 aged 85 years, buried 19th July 1916. Grave reference H5-271

Kathleen May PRITCHETT the daughter of the Rev. & Mrs R. E. Pritchett. The family home was 30 Cutcliffe Grove, All Saints, St Paul’s Bedford. Kathleen died at Guy’s Hospital London where she was training as a Nurse. She underwent an operation to remove her tonsils which sadly went wrong and she died from complications. She was 20 years of age. She died 16th August 1930 and was buried at FHR 20th August 1930. Grave Ref: Section Q-786.

Albert Edward HAWKINS who died on the 11th of August 1924, aged 67 and Emily May HAWKINS who died on the 31st of October 1941, aged 81.  This is a triple plot with two of the graves used.  A double and a single.

There are four burials in grave M-5:  Andrew BLIGH, buried 5th November, aged 74 years; Margaretta Melton BLIGH, buried 6th October 1944, aged 86 years; Ada ‘Jenny’ BLIGH, aged 84 years, cremated 30th May and cremated remains buried 31st May and Neville Melton BLIGH, aged 76 years, cremated 27th November 1975 and cremated remains buried 2nd December 1975.

The people buried there are William and Fannie FULLER; their daughter, Eliza VOKES and her husband Charles (Charlie) VOKES;  another daughter, Louisa Jones TAYLOR and her husband, Frederick Jones TAYLOR. Also buried with Louisa and Frederick is their daughter, Frances Ann BURR. Frances’ husband, Harold Leslie Burr, is also buried there, but not named on the stone.

Also uncovered was a  little foot stone for Eliza Vokes.

Grave refs: F11 – 126, 116 and 106.

Florence VINTINER who died on the 17th June 1941 and Leonard VINTINER who died on the 6th April 1961.  Grave Ref M-438

The people buried here are Emma Meller, Walter Joseph Meller, Edith Meller, Gertrude Ethel Tainton, John Meller and Florence Elizabeth Meller.  There were only 3 names visible before excavations but we now know there all 6 are named on the kerbs.  Grave Refs M-71 and M-93