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History of the family who lived at the Cemetery Lodge, Cemetery Road, Bishop’s Stortford (Part 1)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bishop’s Stortford has so many interesting old buildings and houses. Whenever I walk to the town I try to go through the “old” cemetery near Apton Road as I find the old gravestones and the old buildings fascinating. I know from various books and articles about Bishop’s Stortford that in 1855 what was then called the New Cemetery was founded on the outskirts of the town. The Grade II listed Lodge and two chapels by the main entrance were designed by local architect GE Pritchett (who also designed the old school and church in High Wych and several other buildings in Hertfordshire and surrounding counties). I love the flint facing design that he used on the Cemetery Lodge and many of his buildings in this area.

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I’m currently researching my own family history using a well-known family history resource website to find and view Census returns, birth marriage and death records, etc. and thought I’d try to find out who may have lived in the Cemetery Lodge.


Even though the cemetery was founded in 1855, it’s not until the 1871 Census that Cemetery Lodge, Apton Road is recorded as an actual address. Once I’d found the name of the family living there I was able to trace them in the 1861 Census and so the story starts from that date.

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In the 1861 Census, William Henry TUCKER (aged 30 born Bishop’s Stortford, whose occupation was Cemetery Keeper and Gardener), is living at what is then called Apton Fields, Bishop’s Stortford with his wife and young family. Wife Eliza aged 37, born Bishop’s Stortford, daughter Elizabeth Mary Ann aged 4, son Henry James aged 2, an unnamed son who is 3 days old and a Mary NEWMAN aged 58 who is recorded as a Monthly Nurse (definition found in list of Victorian occupations as a woman who attended/lived with mother and child for a month after childbirth). I can’t imagine living in a cemetery, let alone bringing up a young family there!


In the next Census of 1871 William Henry TUCKER (now aged 40, occupation Lodge Keeper), is a widower. He is living with a Mary A PARKER aged 15 (noted as daughter-in-law) who is recorded as a scholar but this just means she is at school, his daughter Elizabeth Ann aged 14 (scholar), and his sons Henry James aged 12 (pageboy) and Walter William aged 1.


I then realised there was a mystery! In the 1871 Census when William is described as a widower, there’s a baby Walter William aged 1, recorded as born 1869/1870. First I wondered if it was a transcription error on the Census Return and that he might actually be aged 11 and was the unnamed son who was 3 days old in the 1861 Census, so I did some more investigation on Walter William but could only find one record of a Walter William Tucker born about 1869/1870 in Bishop’s Stortford. His baptism record states father William Henry Tucker but the mother was Sophia which is a bit of a puzzle. I wondered if Eliza had died and on searching for a death registration found one for Eliza Tucker registered in Apr-Jun 1864 Bishop’s Stortford. I then searched for all marriage records for a William Henry Tucker and found one for a marriage to a Sophia Parker (widow) dated 21 Jan 1866 in Deptford. All the information recorded on the marriage record looked to be correct. So I searched the records for a Sophia Tucker living in Bishop’s Stortford and found a probate record in 17 April 1879 for a Sophia Tucker late of Bishop’s Stortford who died 4 October 1870 and left her personal effects to husband William Henry Tucker of Bishop’s Stortford. However, the next part of the puzzle was when I looked at the next Census of 1881 in which William Henry’s wife is named Rosina. After more searching I found a marriage record for 1874 when William Henry Tucker marries his third wife Rosina Constantia SIMPSON of St George Hanover Square, London.

The 1881 Census return records those living at the Cemetery Lodge, Apton Road, Bishop’s Stortford to be William Henry TUCKER (now aged 50, occupation: Cemetery Lodge Keeper and Sexton), wife Rosina aged 50, born in Paddington, Middlesex, and William’s two sons Henry James aged 22 (Gardener) and Walter William aged 11 (Scholar).


So it looks like William Henry’s first wife Eliza may have died around 1864, he married his second wife Sophia in 1866, Walter William was born around 1869/70 but his second wife Sophia dies soon after. He then marries for the third time to Rosina.


William Henry TUCKER died on the 20 April 1888 (aged 57) in Bishop’s Stortford and in his

Probate of 12 May 1888 he leaves his Personal Estate of £141 11s to Rosina Constantia Tucker of the Cemetery.


I hope you’ve found this blog as interesting as I have in researching this family. In Part 2 I’ll tell you the continuing story of the family who lived in the Cemetery Lodge.

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