On the 19 november 1965 the following article appeared in the Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald:
“Bulldozers and mechanical excavators have moved in to change the scene in Park Street, Hatfield, and the little settlement which has been the home of a couple of dozen Hatfield residents for several hundred years, is being turned into a heap of rubble and mud.
But this is all in the interests of progress, and soon there will be a street of modern three storey houses and a pleasant residential scene to take its place.
All except three of the residents have now moved out of Chapmans Yard, and the last, Miss Mary Stokes and her sister and sister-in-law will be moving into a far more modern home at 39 The Pastures.
But there are other ‘removals’ taking place in Chapmans yard; the tiny graveyard at the rear, which once belonged to Park Street chapel (no longer standing) is being dug up, and the graves and contents are to be moved on to a mass grave right at the rear, against the wall.
Some of them have been at rest for over a hundred years, and even this present move will not be their last, for they are to be put into boxes and carried off to the premises of Messrs. Burgess, the Hatfield undertakers, who will care for them until the ceremony of reinterment can be arranged in the near future.
The largest monument in the little graveyard is that which was erected by the congregation of the tiny Park Street chapel in loving memory of their pastor, Reverend John Cox Bird, who died at the age of 35 years, and was buried in June, 1879. In the same tomb lies his wife Jane who outlived him by a number of years.
On Wednesday morning a “times-Herald” reporter stood by as workmen dug up the first coffin, from the grave of a Mr William Church who died on 28 July 1893.
Altogether 127 people were buried in the graveyard, but only 14 of the graves are marked, so that some of the remains may never be found, although workmen and officials will be taking every care to see that as many as possible are removed to the larger grave.”
In the Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald of 17 December 1965 on page 27, the following article appeared:
A most unusual tale ended quietly on Friday morning, when the final ceremony of re-interment was held in the little Union Chapel graveyard, in Hatfield’s Park Street.
The Rev. D E Phipps-Jones conducted the service, as the row of coffins containing the remains of 34 Hatfield people were re-intered in a large communal grave at the rear end of the grave yard.
The story began when it was found that the tiny burial ground was in the way of a redevelopment scheme replacing the old cottages in Chapmans Yard.
It was announced that the graves, some of which had been there for 100 years, would have to be dug up to make way for foundations, drainage, etc.
Among those buried there were members of the church family, Hatfield residents for over 100 years and descendants of a prominent Hatfield coachman.
Three of the family were at the ceremony on Friday morning, and officiating as funeral director was Mr Burgess of Batterdale, who was re-intering eight members of his own family.”
In the Gerish colletion, Box 36, at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, there is a transcription of the monumental inscriptions of the headstones of the Park Street Chapel , Hatfield, which reads as follows:
“Bird, Revd John Cox late pastor of this chapel died 11 June 1879 aged 35year
Bird, Jane wife of John cox Bird died 11 June 1881 aged 41 years
Brewster, Emily sister of Ellen Elliott died October 15 1883 aged 25 years
Burgess, James son of William Burgess died July 5 1863 aged 18 years
Burgess, William died march 16 1890 aged 67 years
Burgess, Charlotte Widow of William Burgess died 10 November 1904 aged 80 years
Burgess, James died October 31 1878 aged 63 years
Burgess, John died March 6 1879 aged 1 year 8 months
Bennett, Henry died April 23 1880 aged 39 years
Bennett, Jane died April 9 1890 aged 48 years
Church, William born October 4 1843 died July 28 1893
Church, James (graveboard decayed)
Church, John died January 6 1882 aged 72 years
Cox, Stephen died April 20 1886 aged 50
Cox, Sarah widow of Stephen Cox died November 9 1862 aged 62 years
Cox, Stephen died July 1 1879 aged 75
Cox, Emma Elizabeth died January 5 1887 aged 42 Years
Ellis, Mary Ann died August 16 1871 aged 38 years
Ellis Georgeina daughter of Mary Ann Ellis died April 29 1885 aged 23 years (christian name as spelt)
Ellis Edith Harriet daughter of the present William and Mary Ann Ellis, died September 5 1882 aged 1 year 8 months
Elliott, Ellen daughter of Ezekiel and Mary Elliott died November 24 1878 aged 9 years
Elliott, Ezekiel died March 19 1907 aged 70 years
Gregory, Ernest J Born December 8 1872 died June 26 1879
Gregory, Edward T born May 3 1878 died June 26 1879
Gregory, Jessie D born November 13 1876 died June 26 1888
Holland, Rachel died 6 June 1873 aged 26 years
Holmes Sarah widow of James Holmes died June 4 1894 aged 83 years
King, Charles died September 2 1877 aged 62 years
King, Samuel Charles died February 1 1884 aged 37 years
King, Hannah died November 16 1885 aged 75 years
Notcutt, Eliza widow of George Notcutt and daughter of Captain Beecroft R N of this town, died March 19 1854 aged 38 Years
Parry, Edward died December 31 1875 aged 65 years
Payne, Ellen died August 28 1872 aged 78 years
Powell, Mark died May 27 1876 aged 69 years, many years postmaster of this town.
Powell, Mary his wife died February 7 1885 aged 96 years
Raban, Frederick Marshall son of Rev. S Raban and Mary his wife died 2 August 1847 aged 21 years
Saunders, Edward died January 22 1858 aged 13 years
Saunders, John died March 18 1858 aged 17 years
Valentine Martha widow of Frederick Valentine died October 19 1879 aged 58 years
Valentine Martha daughter of Frederick Valentine died February 19 1884 aged 19 years
Valentine, Eliza daughter of Frederick Valentine died June 4 1886 aged 34 years
Valentine husband of Martha Valentine died April 1 1891 aged 71 years
Walby, Esther died 19 November 1870 aged 78 years
Wicks, Caroline sister of Sarah Holmes died October 9 1847 aged 24 years.
The burial ground extends from the front to the back of the chapel and connected by a path, the front portion is kept very tidy but the back portion is in a neglected state.
The incription of Eliza Notcutt is painted on a large shield shaped board, and is supported above the ground by a stout wrought iron scroll on each side.
As you can see in 1909 when the monumental inscriptions were noted down there were 44 names listed, so by 1965 some of the gravestones or graveboards had probably decayed or disappeared as the newspaper article said that there were only 14 marked graves.
Chapmans Yard and the graveyard are now a residential area of Hatfield, the road is called Park Close and the gravestones are still against the wall at the bck of the estate, as you can see from the last few photos.