Portrait of George Borrow

Borrow’s Grave

The Grave of George and Mary Borrow

George Borrow’s grave from the side

Visiting the Grave

For those who wish to find Borrow’s grave in Brompton Cemetery (which is next to West Brompton tube station in London): the cemetery is very large (over 200,000 graves and 39 acres) and you won’t be able to just look around and stumble upon the grave.  Instead, you have two main options:

1.  If you have a GPS device the co-ordinates are approximately 51.48723 -0.19208 [Bing maps, OpenStreetMap]

2.  If you don’t have GPS then:

a.  Enter the cemetery from the Lillie Road/Old Brompton (north) entrance, which is next to West Brompton station;

b.  Walk a little way down the main path until you reach the paths branching left and right (by the big tombs): take the left hand one;

c.  Walk down the path past the two narrow paths on the right until you come to the last path on your right and go down it.  If you come to the steps up to the wall you’ve walked past it;

d.  Walking down the last path (usually called the eastern path) Borrow’s grave is set back from the edge of the path (about two metres) on the right just over half way down the first plot: if you come to the paths going left and right you’ve walked past it;

e.  The grave is a low “saddleback” kind, but is very white and stands out (see above).

On 24 October 2015 members of the George Borrow Society laid flowers on the grave: the pine tree in the background is also a good marker of the location of the grave.

George Borrow’s grave from the path, 24 October 2015,
George Borrow Society laying flowers

A Few Odds and Ends about the Grave

The grave you see now was ordered by Henrietta, Borrow’s step-daughter, and was made in Lowestoft by local stone merchants.  See Ivan Bunn’s book on Oulton for lots more on this.

Mary Borrow had died first, at 22 Hereford Square, on 30th January 1869, and was buried where the grave now is by the Rev. Nathanial Liberty, who would have known the Borrows as he lived for a while in Hereford Square, and was also curate of St. Mary the Boltons church, the church the Borrows are most likely to have attended 1860–66.  It was usual in Victorian times for only men to attend a burial service (which would have been in the cemetery chapel), so Henrietta would probably not have taken part.

When George Borrow died at Oulton on 26th July 1881, his body was taken to London on the 4th August 1881 (by train) and he was buried (by Rev. Nathanial Liberty again) in the same grave as Mary.

Henrietta was then left as the only surviving direct relative and it was she who ordered the gravestone.  There’s some debate about whether what you see now was the first grave stone as William Ireland Knapp, George Borrow’s biographer, published a drawing of it at the end of his biography, and it doesn’t look the current grave.

William Knapp’s drawing of George Borrow’s grave,

A bit about the Cemetery

The West of London and Westminster Cemetery Company was established in 1836, to develop the plans for what became Brompton Cemetery, and in 1838 they purchased the lands from Lord Kensington.  The land was originally fields and brickyards with the Kensington Canal  running on the western side (where the railway now is).  The Cemetery was bounded by Fulham Road to the south, Brompton Lane (now Old Brompton Road / Lillie Road) to the north and on the eastern side were fields with the land owned (or eventually owned) by the Gunters, who would later build the Redcliffe estate on it.

Whilst the cemetery opened in 1840 it wasn’t the runaway success the company had hoped for and new funds were soon required.  For example, the following appeared in the Morning Post on the 8 April 1840 (page 1):

The West of London and Westminster Cemetery, Old Brompton.  Incorporated by 1st Victoria, cap. 130.—LOAN of 20,000l.—It having been resolved at a Special General Meeting of the Proprietors, held at the British Coffee-house, Cockspur-street, on the 15th February, 1840, that the additional capital, authorized by the Act, should be raised by way of Loan, and not by the creation of new Shares, notice is hereby given, that the Directors are ready to receive TENDERS for the LOAN of 20,000l., in sums of not less than 500l., for which Debentures, bearing half-yearly interest, will be given, payable in three or five years, at the option of the lender.  Tenders sealed, endorsed “Loan,” must be left with the Secretary before Three o’Clock on WEDNESDAY, the 27th May, when they will be opened, and the lowest rate of interest accepted.  The loans may be advanced in five equal payments at intervals of two months.  AUGUST POCOCK, Secretary.  456, West Strand, April 7, 1840.

There was even speculative trading in the shares, for example the following from The Times 8 April 1840 (page 3):

West of London Cemetery, Brompton.—Any proprietor washing to PART with a few SHARES in this Company may hear of a PURCHASER, at a moderate premium.  Letters, stating the lowest price, and the number of shares for sale, to be addressed to G. H., care of Mr. Barnes, 15 Prospect-place, Old Brompton.

The Survey of London says Brompton Cemetery was consecrated by Bishop on London in 1840 but I’ve been able to find an account in the newspapers of the time etc.  Being run as a commercial enterprise the cemetery regularly advertised for “customers”.  For example the Morning Post, 8 August 1840 (page 1):

West of London and Westminster Cemetery, Old Brompton, (Consecrated by the Lord Bishop of London):—Persons desirous of securing ground in any favorite situation for the erection of monuments should make early application at the Office, 62, Charing-cross, where a list of prices and other particulars may be obtained, from ten till five.  The cemetery is daily open for the inspection of the Public, from eight o’clock till dusk.

The public, however, seemed more interested in the value of the shares.  This from Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 30 January 1841

SHARES IN PUBLIC COMPANIES ... WEST of LONDON CEMETERY, Old Brompton, two miles only from Hyde Park-corner.  Twenty Shares of 25l. each.  The proximity of this Cemetery to the Metropolis, and its being surrounded by so many populous parishes, must render it a far more profitable investment than that of Kensall-green, the shares in which have long been selling at a premium of 100 per cent. The Cemetery is consecrated; and, being incorporated by Act of Parliament, no shareholder can possibly incur any risk or responsibility beyond the amount of his shares.  Premium 7l. per share....

Despite the share dealing the company never particularly prospered, and it’s charges were not appreciated either.  E.g. from Daily News 31 October 1849:

Intramural Interments in St. Luke’s... A GENTLEMAN said that many of the cemeteries were saddled with a charge for clergymen’s fees,—the highest being Brompton Cemetery, where the Bishop of London, residing in the neighbourhood, contrived to get the fees allowed, 7s., more than at other places.  (Hear, hear.)

The Metropolitan Burial Act of 1850 prohibited any more burials within London (on sanitary grounds as well as the graveyards being full), and provided for the Government to be able to nationalise a cemetery, with Brompton Cemetery being specifically listed.  There had already been negotiations going on, as can be seen from the Daily News, 20 October 1851:

On Saturday the award of the referee or umpire, Mr. Barnes Peacock, Queen’s counsel, ... was officially announced.  ... The award of the umpire, Mr. Barnes Peacock, now officially noticed, was, for the two: As compensation for the Brompton Cemetery, for which 168,762l. 1s. 8d. was claimed by the company, and 43,836l. offered on behalf of the public ... £74,921 14.

The conveyance of the Brompton Cemetery from the West London and Westminster Cemetery Company to the Commissioners of the Works and Public Buildings (as provided by the Act) was made on 5 November 1852.  It’s the only example of a nationalised cemetery in the country.

Today it’s run by the Royal Parks.  The Friends of Brompton Cemetery have more on the history and lots of pictures.  The Friends organise regular talks and walks in the cemetery and the George Borrow Society is a member of the Friends.  If you enjoy a visit to the cemetery (which is a wonderful place), you might consider joining the Friends, or perhaps making a donation to them.

Buried near the Borrows

This is a bit of an experimental section and you should treat all of the information with extreme caution: it’s more brief notes than properly researched information.  However, below are a list of graves in the cemetery which have a connection with Borrow or the local area of his time, or are interesting for other reasons.  The Friends’ leaflet on the cemetery lists over 30 important graves (including that of George Borrow), and if you’re plenty of time you might want to look at those too.  They are in no particular order (or even near each other).  GPS co-ordinates are given as some are very hard to spot.

It’s likely that when time allows this whole section will be re-researched and revised.

John Mallett

Location: 51º 29′ 16.0″ N 0º 11′ 37.0″ W OpenStreetMap

You cannot miss this large tomb as it’s just on the left as you enter the cemetery from the north side.  A lot of people are buried in it, but I’ve selected John Mallett (died 5 October 1887 aged 46) as the main one.  Thinking he’d be important I expect to find him in Dictionary of National Biography or Boase’s Modern English Biography (have not yet checked!).

The inscription is:

In Loving Remembrance of
Nephew of Mary Ann Thomas,
Who died on the 5th Day of October 1887, Aged 46 Years.

The whole mausoleum was for Richard Henry and Mary Ann Sheldrick of Dalston.

Grave of John Mallet in Brompton Cemetery

John Snow

Location: 51º 29′ 17.1″ N 0º 11′ 34.7″ W OpenStreetMap

John Snow was a very great man, being the one who first realised the link between cholera and the water supply.  His discovery saved the lives of tens of thousands of people.  The BBC have a page about him.

Grave of John Snow in Brompton Cemetery

Mary Ann Barneveld

Location: 51º 29′ 16.3″ N 0º 11′ 34.9″ W OpenStreetMap

Mary Ann Barneveld was born in London Apr-Jun 1856: there’s no exact match in the 1881 census but a very close one (Mary Ann Barnebeld, 87 Kennington Road, Lambeth, barmaid).  She died 6 April 1884 aged 28.

Apologies that my photograph is rather out of focus, but you can at least make out the rather attractive cross on the grave.

Grave of Mary Ann Barneveld in Brompton Cemetery

Isabella Leitia Church

Location: 51º 29′ 15.9″ N 0º 11′ 34.4″ W OpenStreetMap

Isabella Leitia Church was born in Westminster around 1841: she died 27 December 1901 aged 68.  Her husband, Robert William Church, was born in London and the 1901 census, when he and Isabella 57 Hendon street, St. George’s, London, his occupation was florist.  Two of their children (Joseph 26 and Florence 25) were living with them.  In the 1911 census Robert was living at 58 Wilton Road, Pimlico, and he died 30 October 1911, aged 66.  Robert left £421 to Matilda, his youngest daughter.

Grave of Isabella Leitia Church in Brompton Cemetery

John Paxton Hall

Location: 51º 29′ 15.4″ N 0º 11′ 33.6″ W OpenStreetMap

John Paxton Hall, was born 6 March 1811 in Southwick.  He was principal of Oxford House School, Chelsea and first lived at 5 Oakley square, Chelsea, (the Russell’s, No. 6 in this list, lived at number 4 at one stage) and then 21 Edith villas, North end.  He was principal of Oxford House School, 185 King’s Road, Chelsea and died 8 March 1861 aged 50.  He left effects under £3,000 and his will was proved by Thomas Hall, 39 Mildmay Park, Stoke Newington, teacher and his brother.

Grave of John Paxton Hall in Brompton Cemetery

John Peake Knight

Location: 51º 29′ 9″ N 0º 11′ 25″ W (2 metres east of William and Sarah Russell). OpenStreetMap,

A Nottinghamshire lad, who worked his way from the parcel’s room at Derby station to becoming (for 17 years) general manager of the London Brighton & South Coast Railway.  According to Wikipedia he’s credited with inventing road traffic lights.  When he died 23 July 1886 aged 58, he was living at 33 Wickham Road, Brockley (previously 2 Stafford villas, Lewisham Road, New Cross), both in Kent.  He left an estate of £122,368 to his widow, Elizabeth.

Grave of John Peake Knight in Brompton Cemetery

William Russell etc.

Location: 51º 29′ 17.1″ N 0º 11′ 34.7″ W (2 metres west of John Peake Knight). OpenStreetMap

William Russell was born in Oxtead, Surrey, around 1800.  In the 1851 census he and Harriet are living at 9 Markham Square, Chelsea, when he’s listed as Gentlemen.  Their son Thomas, (born London around 1831) is also a gentlemen.  The 1861 census has William and Harriet living at 4 Oakley Square (presumably the ‘Bedford House’ of the gravestone), and William’s still “gentleman.”  (John Paxton Hall, also on this page, lived at No. 5 at one period).  I cannot find a probate for William’s death on 9 December 1868 aged 68.

Harriet, beloved wife, who died 16 December 1868 aged 73 [no probate].

Other sons were John James (died Boulogne 18 February 1838 aged 17) and Henry Charles (died 30 November 1854 aged 25).

Selena Sarah Russell, wife of William Russell junior of Pembroke Lodge, Boltons, died 12 June 1864 aged 41.  Note that if the Borrows went to St. Mary’s church, they would almost certainly have known William and Selena.

William Russell [junior] was born at Rochester in Kent around 1822.  In the 1891 census he was living on his own means at 15 The Boltons (the Pembroke Lodge of the gravestone).  His step-son, Thomas Reave Russell, 45, a commission agent, born Chelsea, was living with him.  He died 20 October 1899 aged 36 at 36 Addison road, Kensington, leaving £45,279 to Jane Mary Southern and Elizabeth Ann Southern, spinsters.

When Jane Mary Russell died, 27 February 1911 aged 53, she was living at 7 St. Johns road, Putney Hill, Surrey (a spinster) and she left £2307 to her sister Elizabeth Ann Southern.

Grave of William and Sarah Russell in Brompton Cemetery

George Augustus and Amelia Hearn

Location: 51º 29′ 15.4″ N 0º 11′ 33.5″ W OpenStreetMap

George Augustus Hearn appears on the electoral lists (1875–83) for 43 Conduit street, St. George’s Hanover Square.

From tombstone he was born 22 December 1832 (at London) and died 21 December 1882.  His wife, Mary, was born 7 June 1828 ( at Newick, Suffolk) and died 16 November 1884.  In the 1871 census George and Mary are lodging house keepers at 43 Conduit Street.  The 1881 census has them at 43 Conduit Street with George being a Commercial Clark Tailors, and Mary a lodging house keeper.

Grave of George Augustus Hearn in Brompton Cemetery

Fanny Grieves

Location: 51º 29′ 15.7″ N 0º 11′ 32.7″ W OpenStreetMap

Fanny Grieves died 29 January 1872 aged 70.  She lived in Elizabeth street, Pimlico and was a widow.  She left £20,000 to her sister Phebe Smith.  The grave is rather imposing, but then she was a rich woman.

Strangely I don’t find in the 1860 and 1870 census (under Fanny or Frances).

Grave of Fanny Grieves in Brompton Cemetery

Dianna Porteos

Location: 51º 29′ 14.8″ N 0º 11′ 32.0″ W OpenStreetMap

Dianna wife of Richard Wright Porteos, band master at the Royal Military Asylum, was born around 1801 in Horsham, Sussex.  In the 1851 census she and Richard were living at 6 & 7 Glaster Place, Chelsea.  She died 6 January 1861 aged 60.

Richard was born around 1802 in Woolwich, Kent and the 1861 census saw him a lodger at 202 King’s Road (aged 58 and still with Royal Asylum).  Richard died 3 January 1881, leaving under £800.

The Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea, was founded by the Duke of York in 1801 for the children of the military.  The original rules are available at Project Gutenberg.

Grave of Dianna Porteos in Brompton Cemetery

Right Hon. William Beresford

Location: 51º 29′ 14.6″ N 0º 11′ 31.6″ W OpenStreetMap

William Marcus Joseph Beresford was born in Ireland on 17 April 1797, his father being an M.P.   He was educated at Eton and Oxford and took his B.A. in 1819.  From 1822 to 1831 he was in the Royal Dragoons, retiring with a rank of Major.  He then lived on his Irish estate and became M.P. for Harwich in 1841, after which (on and off) he was M.P. until 1865.  He advocated Protestantism and Protectionism, and was chair of the Northern Counties Union Railway etc.  He married Catherine in 1833, and they lived at 40 Eccleston Square, London.  He died 6 October 1883 and Catherine died 16 June 1895 aged 88.   Source: Grave and Dictionary of National Biography.

Grave of Rt. Hon. William Beresford in Brompton Cemetery

Jane and Bernard Spaull

Location: 51º 29′ 14.2″ N 0º 11′ 30.9″ W OpenStreetMap

Jane Spaull wife of Bernard died 26 October 1880 aged 75.  Bernard Spaull, F.R.C.S. of Essex House, 29 Hammersmith road, Hammersmith, died 6 January 1883 aged 79.  Bernard was a Surgeon’s assistant.  The 1867 Allen and Morton’s Directory lists “Barnard Spaull”, a surgeon, as living at 5 Vale Place, off the Hammersmith Road—it lists at 3 Vale Place, Barnard E. Spaull, surgeon: their son?  They were married for 53 years when Jane died.  Bernard left £3,365 to their son Francis and one other.

Grave of Jane and Bernard Spaull in Brompton Cemetery

Claude Barwell Douglas

Location: 51º 29′ 14.4″ N 0º 11′ 30.9″ W OpenStreetMap

Claude Barwell Douglas was a collector in Her Majesty’s India Customers and lived at 18 Osnaburgh street, Regent’s Park.   He married Ellen (Callow) 15 September 1861 at Paddington.  He left under £100 to Ellen (who was buried in 1925).

The grave is also in memory of their only child, William Melville Douglas, buried in Korosko 1882 AE. T. 22 Lieut. XIX reg.

Also listed are Archibald Alexander Douglas, died 1884, Charles Martin Callow died 28 September 1918 and Rosa Mary Callow died 1905.

Grave of Claude Barwell Douglas in Brompton Cemetery

Henry Wilkinson

Location: 51º 29′ 14.4″ N 0º 11′ 31.0″ OpenStreetMap

Henry Wilkinson would have been born around 1786.  At his death, 22 February 1863 aged 77, he was living at 2 Earl’s Terrace, Kensington, and left effects under £16,000.  Katherine (his wife?) possibly died before him as there’s no mention of her in the will which was proved by Henry’s brother William, 1 Jasmine villas, Northumberland Park, Tottenham and Richard Clementson of 12 Colman street.

Cannot find either in 1851/1861 census.

Grave of Henry Wilkinson in Brompton Cemetery

Jane Barton Seamark

Location: By the path edge about 5 metres north east of Borrow’s grave. OpenStreetMap

Jane Barton Seamark died 29 November 1859 aged 44; John Busley Seamark died 15 March 1865 aged 59; Henry Seamark died 12 April 1890 aged 44; Susanna Seamark died 21 April 1936 aged 80.

John Busley Seamark left effects under £2,000 and he was a Victualler of the “New” Inn, 67 Berners street, Oxford Street, London.  He died 15 March 1865.  In the 1861 census he was running the Victory pub, Holborn.

Henry, born around 1846, was presumably their son (although it’s Harry in the census).  He died at Uxbridge but doesn’t appear to have left a will.

Grave of Jane Barton Seamark in Brompton Cemetery

Sophia and Amelia Gilman

Location: 51º 29′ 16.0″ N 0º 11′ 33.0″ W OpenStreetMap

Sophia (and her daughter Amelia) are buried on the opposite side from her husband the Rev. James Gilman.  The Gilman’s lived at 1 Hereford Square for some of the time Borrow lived there and so they would have known each other.  See our Hereford Square timeline for details.

Grave of Sophia and Amelia Gilman in Brompton Cemetery

Rev. James Gilman

Location: 51º 29′ 16.1″ N 0º 11′ 32.8″ W OpenStreetMap

Rev. James Gilman is buried on the opposite side of the path from his wife, Sophia, and daughter, Amelia.  The Gilman’s lived at 1 Hereford Square for some of the time Borrow lived there and so they would have known each other.  See our Hereford Square timeline for details.

Grave of Rev. James Gilman in Brompton Cemetery

Emily Morgan Tate-Warren

Location: 51º 29′ 16.9″ N 0º 11′ 35.4″ W OpenStreetMap

Emily Morgan Tate was born 8 October 1839 at Worcester.  On the gravestone (noted only because it’s damaged) she’s the wife of someone...  In the 1911 census she was living at 2 Blackwater Street, East Dulwich.  In the 1901 census she was at 4 Sutherland Street, Westminster (but this person was born at Hunsdon, Hertfordshire—diff person?): there that Emily is married to John and has three children (Joseph, Agnes and Herbert).  At Emily’s death on 6 September 1916 she’d been living at 2 Park street, Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire (a widow) and she left effects of £1,100 to Ellen Elizabeth Evans and Elsie Mary Evans, spinsters, and John Deen commercial Clerk.

All this seems very mixed up and I’ve probably connected different people.

Grave of Emily Morgan Tate in Brompton Cemetery

William and Elizabeth Sarah Gibbins

Location: 51º 29′ 16.7″ N 0º 11′ 33.6″ W OpenStreetMap

William Gibbins would have been born in 1811 and was a coachman etc.  His wife, Elizabeth Sarah, would have been born around 1814 and they would have been married around 1833.  They lived at Prince’s Gate, South Kensington, perhaps with the family William was coachman for?  Elizabeth Sarah Gibbins died 10 December 1883 aged 69.  and William died 2 October 1889 aged 78.

The upper cases that were filling the area in Borrow’s time had coaches, hence you also get coachmen etc.  Look at a modern street map of the area and note the number of “mews” (places where the horses and grooms were kept).

Grave of William and Elizabeth Sarah Gibbins in Brompton

Samuel Smiles

Location: 51º 29′ 14.2″ N 0º 11′ 32.2″ W OpenStreetMap

Samuel Smiles, 1812–1904, was a famous Victorian writer advocating personal endeavour.  His Lives of the Engineers was a classic, and showed how people like the Stephensons had triumphed against great odds.  He’s best known for writing Self-Help, a book full of stories of people who triumphed over hardships.  Charles Dickens distained Smiles’ philosophy and wrote Hard Times in response.

Grave of Samuel Smiles in Brompton Cemetery

Edward Smith

Location: 51º 29′ 12.8″ N 0º 11′ 30.4″ W OpenStreetMap

Edward Smith would have been born around 1834.  He died 30 October 1862 aged 28 at St. Luke’s Parochial School, King’s street, Chelsea, where he was head master.  Effects of under £200 were granted to Anges Smith, of the Infant School, Markham street, Chelsea, his widow.  Cannot find them in the 1861 census nor can I find the marriage.

Grave of Edward Smith in Brompton Cemetery

Charles and Amelia Burrows

Location: Same as George Borrow, less than 1 metre to the north. OpenStreetMap

The probate for Charles says he died 16 March 1871 at King Edward School, Southwark, leaving effects of under £200 to Amelia.  He was formerly of Bridewell Hospital New Bridge street, Blackfriars.  The only marriage I can see is to Amelia Debenham on 5 October 1832 at Bury St. Edmunds, but that doesn’t look like the right one.  I cannot find him in the census!  The Amelia Burrows of Bury appears in the 1851 census at 10b Dorset St., St. Bride’s, Middlesex, born c1805, wife, with daughters Mary Ann born c1836 Bury, Sarah Ann born c1849 Ludgate, London - but no husband is listed even though there must have been one.  The probate for Amelia says she died 21 January 1876 at 97 St. George’s road and effects of under £100 went to Sarah Ann.  It also says she was late of King Edward’s school.

Grave of Charles and Amelia Burrows in Brompton Cemetery

Sam Cunard

Location: 51º 29′ 8.0″ N 0º 11′ 23.6″ W OpenStreetMap

Samuel Cunard was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 21 November 1787.  Initially a merchent in Halifax, he established (with others) the British and North American Royal mail steam packet company in 1838 and on 4 May 1839 got the Government contract for mails from Liverpool to Halifax, Boston and Quebec for the next 7 years at £60,000 per annum.  He was created a Baronet on 9 April 1859 and died at 26 Prince’s Gardens, Kensington on the 28 April 1865, leaving under £350,000.  I.e. he was the founder of Cunard’s Shipping Line.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

The eastern wall of the cemetery appears to have been a rather select location as many of the tombs there are substantial.  As noted in the above this would not have backed onto the Finborough/Ilfield Road area but fields in the 1860’s.

Grave of Sam Cunard in Brompton Cemetery

Henry Cole

Location: 51º 29′ 13.6″ N 0º 11′ 29.0″ W OpenStreetMap

Henry Cole was a very accomplished Victoria: knowing Thomas Love Peacock, writing under the pseudonym of Felix Summerley, he became secretary of the anti-corn law league, sent the first commercial Christmas card, was the prime mover of the 1854 International Exhibition, etc.  The Friends of Brompton Cemetery have a comprehensive article on him in their newsletter including a funny story of how they had much trouble in finding his grave.

Grave of Henry Cole in Brompton Cemetery

Alfred Sharpe

Location: 51º 29′ 28.3″ N 0º 10′ 53.6″ W OpenStreetMap [cannot be right, not even in cemetery!]

Alfred would have been born around 1825.  He died 12 December 1856 aged 31.  Cannot find probate.  I’d come across an Alfred Sharpe during my Brompton researches and this is a place holder until I can tie him to something.

Grave of Alfred Sharpe in Brompton Cemetery

Charles Dillon

Location: Buried in the same plot as George Borrow but location unknown.

Charles Dillon was born at Diss, Norfolk on 24 May 1819.  He wrote magazine articles and melodramas 1836–38 and then acted in London 1840, was stage manager, leading actor, author at Marylebone Theatre in 1842; travelled most of Great Briton, Ireland, United States etc. acting.  He last appeared as Othello at Hawick town hall on 23 June 1881: when he dropped dead in the High Street between acts.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

Jean Ingelow

Location: 51º 29′ 13.5″ N 0º 11′ 31.0″ W OpenStreetMap

Jean Ingelow was born at Boston on the 17 March 1820, living in Lincolnshire, then Ipswich, then London.  She published a number of books of poetry.  She died at 6 Holland villas road, Kensington on 20 July 1897.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

Grave of Jean Ingelow in Brompton Cemetery

John Harvey Lewis

Location: Buried in the same plot as George Borrow but location unknown.

John Harvey Lewis, son of William Lewis of Harlech house, county Dublin, was born 1812 and educated at Trinity College Dublin, where he gained a B.A. and an M.A. in 1838; he was called to the Irish Bar in 1838 and retired in 1850.  He contested Bodmin on 28 March 1857 and Hull on the 30 April and 26 January 1874.  He was a M.P. for Marylebone 1861–74 and died at the Hotel Windsor, Monte Carlo, 23 October 1888.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

W. G. Wills

Location: Buried in the same plot as George Borrow but location unknown.

William Gorman Wills, son of James Wills, poet, 1790–1868, was born in Blackwell lodge, Kilmurry, county Clare on 28 January 1828.  He was educated at Waterford grammar school and then Trinity College Dublin where he won the Vice Chncellor’s medal for his poem on Poland.  He settled in London in 1862 and was a portrait painter (he painted Queen Victoria’s grandchildren) and exhibited at the Royal academy.  He was the author of numerous books, poems and plays and in 1871 became dramtist to the Lyceum at £300 a year.  He died at Guy’s hospital, London, on 13 December 1891.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

Arthur Matthison

Location: Buried in the same plot as George Borrow but location unknown.

Arthur Matthison was born in Birmingham in May or June 1826.  He was a journalist in New York, vocalist and lecturer in Hamilton’s Diorama, and acted in numerous places in London.  He wrote a number of books, poems and songs.  He died at Store street, Bedford Square, London, 21 May 1883.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

Charles Allston Collins

Location: Buried in the same plot as George Borrow but location unknown.

Charles Allston Collins, younger son of William Collins the painter (1788–1847), was born at Hampstead on 25 January 1828.  He practised as a painter 1848–58, contributed to Dickens’ Household Words, was author of A new sentimental Journey in 1859, A cruise upon wheels 1862 etc.  He married “Kate” Macready, daughter of Charles Dickens, on 17 July 1860: they had no children.  He died at Thurloe place, Brompton, about midnight on the 9–10 April 1873.   Source: Modern English Biography by Boase and Dictionary of National Biography.

According to the Dictionary of National Biography his grave is a flat granite slab without text or an inscription.

South Part of the Cemetery.

Eliza Beth and John Bright

Location: 51º 29′ 0.03031″ N 0º 11′ 12.50842″ W OpenStreetMap

Eliza’s husband John (not in grave) was born at Writtle, Essex around 1798.  In the 1851 census is shown as being a messenger in the Poor Law Office, living with Eliza at 5 Cottage Place, Brompton.  The 1861 census has them at 4 Cottage Place, Brompton (late message of late poor law board), and their grand daughter, Elizabeth C. Bright, aged 9, was staying with them.

Eliza Beth Bright was born around 1790 in Callington, Cornwall.  In the 1851 census she was living with John at 5 Cottage Place, Brompton, and she died 15 December 1863 aged 72 (presumably still at 5 Cottage Place).

John Bright (their son) died 3 October 1850 aged 25.

Elizabeth Hannah Bright would have been born around 1835 at Brompton.  In the 1851 census she’s living with her parents at 5 Cottage Place, Brompton.  She died 21 November 1857 aged 23.  Presumably the Elizabeth C. Bright of the 1861 census was her daughter.

Grave of John and Eliza Bright in Brompton Cemetery

Rev. Thomas Alexander

Location: 51º 29′ 3.9″ N 0º 11′ 19.5″ W OpenStreetMap

Born 20 May 1817, ordained 2 August 1850, ministered to the poor in Edinburgh, pastor of the Presbyterian church Chelsea and Belgravia.  At his death on 6 February 1872 he was living in 18 St. Leonard’s Terrace, Chelsea, a bachelor.  Administration of his effects (under £4,000) was left to Helen Alexander of Coupar, Scotland, spinster, his sister.

Grave of Rev. Thomas Alexander in Brompton Cemetery

Sir Francis Pettit Smith

Location: 51º 28′ 59.2″ N 0º 11′ 8.0″ W OpenStreetMap [cannot be right, not even in cemetery!]

Francis Pettit Smith was born in Hythe, Kent, on 9t February 1808, the son of a postmaster.  Educated at a private school in Ashford and then became grazing farmer on Romney Marsh, moved to Hendon, Middlesex where he farmed for the next 37 years.  He patented the screw propeller in 1836 following experiments at Hendon.  He became curator of South Kensington Patent Museum in 1860 and was knighted in 1871.  He died at 15 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, 12 February 1874.  He appears in Samuel Smiles’ Men of InventionSource: Modern English Biography by Boase.

Grave of Sir Francis Pettit Smith in Brompton Cemetery

William Taylor

Location: 51º 29′ 2.0″ N 0º 11′ 18.4″ W OpenStreetMap

William would have been born around 1767.

The grave reads “In memory of William Taylor builder of Kensington, who died January 29, 1842 aged 75 years.  Also his son George Cecil Taylor, who died June 8 18?? aged 4 years.”

The only 1840’s burial in Brompton for a William Taylor which might match is buried 12 February 1842.  Cannot find any trace of George Cecil Taylor for Kensington and the name doesn’t appear to be in the Brompton burials, so it might be a memorial rather than grave.

Grave of William Taylor, builder of Kensington, in Brompton

Sarah Crosby

Location: 51º 29′ 3.1″ N 0º 11′ 18.9″ W OpenStreetMap

Sarah Crosby would have been born around 1762.

John Crosby would have been born around 1763.  Cannot see John or Sarah in 1851 census.

Sarah Crosby of Brompton Row, died 26 July 1850 aged 88.  John Crosby, 50 years in His Majesty’s Portsmouth Dockyard, died 11 March 1854 aged 91.

Need to get some background.

Grave of John and Sarah Crosby in Brompton Cemetery

William, Sarah and Ellen Ann Day

Location: 51º 29′ 5.2″ N 0º 11′ 21.4″ W OpenStreetMap

William Day would have been born around 1786.  He married Sarah (then Sarah Clarke) on 19 January 1826 at St. Pancras.  In the 1841 census he and Sarah were living in St. Martin in the Fields, near Charring Cross.  They had a daughter Mary Day, born around 1826 living with them, although they seem to have shared the accommodation with the Long family.  At his death March ?? 1851 (and on the tombstone) he’s listed as a professor of Music.

Sarah Day would have been born around 1806 as Sarah Clarke in the St. Pancras district of London.  After her marriage to William on 19 January 1826 she gave birth to Ellen Ann Day on 3 March 1828 (baptised 22 July 1828 at Trinity, Marylebone).  In the 1851 census Sarah with daughter Ellen (then 23) and son John (then 21) was living in the Hanover Square area.  Although she’s listed as wife, there’s no husband.  At her death on 15 March 1895 aged 89, she was still living in the Hanover Square area with Ellen Ann Day, her unmarried daughter, then 63.  Ellen Ann was probably living at 145 Cambridge Street, Pimlico, when she died on 12 April 1916.  She left £2,337 to Alfred Mapleson of no occupation and Amy Pratt, widow.

Grave of William Day etc. in Brompton Cemetery


Location: 51º 29′ 5.3″ N 0º 11′ 23.1″ W OpenStreetMap

Violet Eleanor Pankhurst 4 November 1880 to 31 December 1880.

Dilnot Henry Pankhurst was born 14 July 1879 in the St. Giles district, London, with parents Dilnot D. Pankhurst (same grave) and Ada Caroline Waters.  Aged 27, he sailed on the ship Carthaginian from Liverpool (with his father) and arrived at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada on 5th November 1905.  He died 12 December 1905 at Boston Massachusetts.  He left £1665 to Dorothy Lilian Pankhurst.

Dilnot Dibley Pankhurst (father of above) would have been born around 1856 in London.  Apart from the voyage with his son to Canada (above) by the 1911 census he and Ada were living at 29 Bedford Square London, and his occupation was a fruit broker.  At his death, 2 August 1924, he was living at 17 Grove End-road, St. John’s Wood, Middlesex and left £55162 to Ada and Arthur Percy Warr, bank manager.

[Ada] Caroline Pankhurst (maiden name Waters) was born around 1856 in the St. George’s district, Hanover square.  She died at 4 Grove End Road, St. John’s Wood, Middlesex on 5 July 1926 and left £88,337 to Alberto Sebastiano Gio-Batta Narizzano merchant, Alfred White, merchant and Jesse Allan Nickinson, solicitor.

Grave of the Pankhursts in Brompton Cemetery

Robert Gunter

Location: 51º 29′ 7.1″ N 0º 11′ 23.3″ W OpenStreetMap

Sir Robert Gunter, 1st Baronet (2 November 1831 to 17 September 1905) British army officer, property developer, Conservative Party politician.  Son of Robert Gunter of Earl’s Court.  Educated at Rugby School then joined 4th Dragoon Guards, served in Crimea and became Captain.  After father’s death in 1852 he and his brother James developed the Redcliffe Estates area (to the east of the Cemetery).  He settled in Wetherby Grange in Collingham near Knaresborough and was J.P. for the West Riding.  Elected M.P. for Knaresborough in 1884 he served (with a short gap) until his death on 17 September 1905.  Wetherby Gardens, next to Hereford Square is was named by him after Wetherby (near Leeds).

Robert’s father (also Robert) ran a confectionary business in Berkeley Square, London 1819–44.  He (the father) died at Earl’s court, Old Brompton, on the 16 October 1852, aged 69.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

Grave of Robert Gunter in Brompton Cemetery

John Philip Edwin Crookes

Location: 51º 29′ 8.4″ N 0º 11′ 25.4″ W OpenStreetMap

John Philip Edwin Crookes was born 29 August 1846 near Regents Park, the son of Joseph and Mary Crookes.  In the 1851 census (then aged 4) he was certainly the youngster: his next oldest sibling was William, aged 18.   The family were then living in Hammersmith.  He died of yellow fever on 22 September 1867, aged 21, laying electric cable between Cuba and Florida.

The first transatlantic cable message was sent on 16 August 1858, followed by a telegram from Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan.  The second cable was laid July 1866.  In both cases messages were sent in Morse Code.  Borrow lived in a much more technological world than we tend to imagine.

Grave of John Philip Edwin Crookes in Brompton Cemetery

Mary Ann and William Banting

Location: 51º 29′ 11.6″ N 0º 11′ 30.2″ W OpenStreetMap

William Banting was a prominent member of Kensington Society and served on the Vestry where his comments were frequently reported in the local newspapers.  Additionally he carried out letter writing campaigns in the local newspapers and seldom a month went by without his missives appearing.  He is probably best known for writing a Letter on Corpulence which was the first to recommend weight loss by reducing sugars and fats.  The “letter” (actually a pamphlet) was widely popular and the money Banting derived from it he gave to local hospitals etc., with the accounts published in the local papers.

The inscription reads:

Mary Ann Banting of Kensington who died October 21 1853 aged 69 years.  Also Amelia Banting (daughter) died 31 May 1864 also of William Banting (husband and father) who died March 16th 1872, 1878 aged 82.

Grave of William Banting in Brompton Cemetery


Location (grave of Susanna etc.): 51º 29′ 5.2″ N 0º 11′ 25.7″ W OpenStreetMap Grave of William Nutkins in Brompton Cemetery

Location (grave of William etc.): 51º 29′ 5.2″ N 0º 11′ 23.7″ W OpenStreetMap

According to local Brompton rumour the names of Beatrix Potter’s characters come from tombstones in Brompton Cemetery, Beatrix living just a few minutes up the Old Brompton Road.  The rumour was given some substance in 2001 when James Mackay of The Friends of Brompton Cemetery found graves for a Peter Rabbett, Jeremiah Fisher and the Nutkins (i.e. Squirrel Nutkins).

However, in 1864 there was a Susanna Nutkins who was a butcher at 2 Gloucester Road, South Kensington, who might have been the Potter’s supplier.

Susannah Nutkins died 31 August 1906 (cannot read age)

Tom William Nutkin (grandson of Susannah) died 26 June 1906 aged 14.

George Nutkins died 24 December 1915 aged 62.  In 24 March 1866 a George Nutkins applied for a beer license for a place adjoining Holy Trinity Brompton [see Brompton in 1866]—but perhaps that was a different person.

Helen Nutkins 16 February 1877 to 12 February 1959.

In the other Nutkins’ grave there is Mary Nutkins, died 13 February 1860 aged 59; Mary’s eldest son, William, died 18 February 1861, aged 38 (and who the inscription says was “late of Gloucester Road”); Eva daughter of Thomas and Emma Anne Nutkins, born 25 October [1883], died 30 November 1883; Emma Anne Nutkins (wife of Thomas), died 11 January 1883, aged 39; and Thomas Nutkins [cannot read it]).

Grave of the Susanna Nutkins in Brompton Cemetery

William Pitts

Location: 51º 29′ 3.2″ N 0º 11′ 19.2″ W OpenStreetMap

Died 3 June 1903 aged 74: over 50 years organist at the Oratory.

William was born around 1828 at Tansar, Northampton.  The 1871 census listed him (as organist) with wife Elizabeth, 47, born Bushden, Northampton, living at 4 South Street.  Living with them were two daughters in law: Louisa Thomas, 15, born London, and Amelia Thomas, 12, born London.

Note there’s a problem here: the land for Brompton Oratory was purchased in 1853 (formerly Blemell House School, opened 1819, was there) but the present building wasn’t started until 1880, so to be organist for 50 years (as per the tombstone) there must have been something in 1853.

When William died on 3 June 1903, aged 73, he was living at 4 South street, South Kensington, and he left £1,761 to his widow, Elizabeth Pitts.

Grave of William Pitts in Brompton Cemetery

John Wisden

Location 51º 29′ 12.0″ N 0º 11′ 30.3″ W OpenStreetMap

John Wisden was born at Brighton on 5 September 1826.  He was a professional cricketer at Harrow 1852–55, part owner of a cricket  ground in Leamington, best single wicket player in England 1850, ran a cricketing article shop in London, then cricket outfitter until his death.  He’s best known for founding Wisden’s Almanac.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

Grave of John Wisden in Brompton Cemetery

Richard Young

Location: ??? - I think it was on one of the small walks from the east avenue to the wall - possibly on the north side.  The walk above of the one with the Lion? (or perhaps below it)?

Richard Young was born at Dalkeith, Scotland, on 19 June 1812.  From the tombstone he was an “Ironfounder of Chelsea”.  In the 1861 census he was living 10 Markham Street [?], Chelsea, where his occupation was given as foreman of Stone Moulders.  His wife, Susannah, 45, was born in Carlisle; his children Margaret, 22, was born in Shipton, and son Henry, 19 (an iron moulder).   By the 1871 census he and Susannah were living at 95 Manor Street, Chelsea (they had a border but the children weren’t there).  Richard’s occupation was given as iron founder (foundry), which perhaps was to distinguish his exact profession.

When he died on 22 August 1879 he was living at 9 Grove cottages, Manor street, Chelsea, although he died at St. George’s Hospital, Hyde Parker Corner.  He left an estate of under £800 to Henry Young, 27 Trafalgar square, Chelsea, also an Ironfounder, his son.

Grave of Richard Young in Brompton Cemetery

John Birnie Philip

Location: Should be in plot D (opposite Borrow’s plot)

John Birnie Philip, son of William Philip, was born in London on 23 November 1824.  He was a pupil of John Rogers Herbert, R.A. and exhibited 22 sculptors at the Royal Academy 1858–75.  He executed the reredos of Ely Cathedral, St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, made statues for the royal gallery in the houses of parliament, worked on the Albert Memorial and Blackfriars Bridge etc.  He died at Merton villa, 280a King’s road, Chelsea, 2 March 1875.  He was also Whistler’s father in law.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

A photograph of the grave would be nice...

William Terriss (William Charles James Lewin)

William Terriss (real name William Charles James Lewin) was born 20 February 1847 in St. John’s Wood, London.  His father dying when he was 10, he family found various careers for him (merchant navy for 2 weeks, tea planting in Assam etc.) but he eventually took to the theatre and became a “matinee idol”.  Terriss was stabbed at the stage door of the Adelphie by an out-of-work actor, Richard Archer Prince, and died on 16 December 1897.  Very unusually his wife, Jessie Millward, attended the funeral service at Brompton Cemetery: women didn’t do that in those days.

A photograph of the grave would be nice...

Sir William Palliser

Location: On the same side as Rev. Gilman, past path to left.

William Palliser, was born in Dublin on 18 June 1830 and educated at Rugby, Trinity College Dublin, and Trinity Hall Cambridge and Sandhurst.  Starting as a second lieutenant in the Riffle Brigade he worked his way Major.  He  patented many ordnance related inventions.  He was the developer of Baron’s Court and became MP for Taunton in 1880 (until his death at 21 Earl’s court square, London on the 4 February 1882).  His brother John was a geographer and explorer.  Source: Modern English Biography by Boase.

A photograph of the grave would be nice...

Lt. General Sydney Cotton

Location: 51º 29′ 14.5″ N 0º 11′ 33.4″ W (in the cicle) OpenStreetMap

According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography Sydney Cotton was born in 1792.  Cotton was first promoted to lieutenant in 1812 and in 1822 married Marianne Hackett, daughter of Captain Hackett, the couple having two children.  After a spell in Australia (acting engineer, architect of Hobart Town and convict duties etc.) he went to India (1825), then Burma (1828) and then back to New South Wales (1835).  He embarked with his regiment in 1842 for India and in 1866 was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Chelsea Hospital.  He published a few military pamphlets and an account of his time in India.  He died on 19 February 1874.

Grave of Lt. General Sydney Cotton in Brompton Cemetery

Dawson Turner

Dawson Turner, the Yarmouth banker, botanist and antiquarian, born 18 October 1775, was a friend of Borrow’s who in the June 1853 moved to Lee Cottage, in the Old Brompton Road (no longer there, but just round the corner from Hereford Square) and died there on 1858 and was buried in Brompton Cemetery.  However, there is considerable uncertainty about where: he’s the only person in a list of 400 Brompton Burials (Buried in Brompton) where there’s no indication of the area of the grave.

In the Friends of Brompton Cemetery Summer 2008 newsletter Terence Palgrave Bendixson wrote an article on him, which starts with:

Dawson Turner—Yarmouth banker, polymath and provincial genius—lies under a modest slab next to one of Brompton’s eastern side aisles.  His name is no longer visible.

According to the article his son, Dawson William Turner (1815–85) is buried next to him.

Thomas Crofton Croker

The grave of Thomas Crofton Croker as illustrated in the book Thomas Crofton Croker was born 15 January 1798 in Cock, Ireland.  His career was in the Admiralty but his interest was antiquarian and he published many articles and books.  He moved to Rosamond’s Bower, Fulham (London) in 1837 and lived there until 1848.  He wrote A Walk from London to Fulham which deals with the area as Borrow would have known it (the book was published posthumously in 1860, by his son who lived at 19 Pelham Place).  Croker died on 8 August 1854 at 3 Gloucester Road, Brompton, just round the corner from Hereford Square.  source Dictionary of National Biography and Walk from London to Fulham.

A photograph from around the same point as the illustration