Park Street Chapel graveyard

By Susan Hall

Park Street Chapel Graveyard, Hatfield
Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald 19 November 1965 page 52
One of the 14 family graves which will soon be dug up and resited after nearly 100years.
Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald, 19 November 1965 page 52
Miss Mary Stokes, one of the last to leave Chapmans Yard, Hatfield, where a redevelopment scheme is calling for the demolition of the entire street
Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald 19 November 1965 page 52
Officials and relatives look on as the Reverend D E Phipps-Jones conducts the re-interment ceremony
Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald 17 December 1965 page 27
The row of neat blue painted boxes which contain the remains of some ealier members of some well known Hatfield families
Welwyn Times and Hatfield herald 17 December 1965 page 27
Three of the gravestones which have been removed to a new corner of the little graveyard, to mark the resting place of those Hatfield people who have had to be re-intered.
Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald 17 December 1965, page 27
Officails and relatives look on
Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald, 17 December 1965, page 27
Reverend D E Phipps-Jones with family members and officials
Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald, 17 December 1965, page 27
Flowers for William Church, who was first laid to rest over 73 years ago
Welwyn Times and Hatfield Herald, 17 December 1965, page 27
1st edition OS Map dated 1878, ref. XXXV.7, 25 inches to 1 mile Park Street Chapel and Chapmans Yard are marked
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
1st edition OS Map dated 1878, ref. XXXV.7, 25 inches to 1 mile in more detail of Park Street Chapel and Chapmans Yard
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
OS Map TL 2308 dated 1962 25 iches to 1 mile, Graveyard and Chapmans Yard
Hertfordshire archives and Local Studies
OS Map TL 2308 dated 1962, 25 inches to 1 mile in more detail of Graveyard and Chapmans Yard
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Gravestones as they are today at the back of Park Close, Hatfield
Susan Hall 29 July 2013
Gravestones as they are now, at the back of Park Close, Hatfield
Susan Hall, 29 July 2013
close up of two of the gravestones in Park Close, Hatfield
Susan Hall, 29 July 2013
Gravestones as they are now at the back of Park Close, Hatfield
Susan Hall, 29 July 2013

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.

Tiny Graveyard

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.

Church Family

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.

S Mayers

Welwyn 1909″

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.







This page was added on 19/07/2013.

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  • Interesting reading. I’ve seen the gravestones when visiting Old Hatfield and wondered about their history. My great grandparents lived in Chapmans Yard during WW1.

    By Lesley (14/01/2024)
  • Was pleased to find this article, being curious about the gravestones as I recently moved into a house close by. I can now tell the story. Visiting tradesmen are often interested.

    By Barbara D (15/08/2021)
  • Hello Peter C,

    Our homes were yards apart but probably years in time. My family lived at number 6, 1940-1949.

    Click on “A School Boy’s Impression” which is my article for information on number 6.

    Electricity was installed after we left. Were there any other innovations?

    The toilet was outside, the coal was stored inside under the stairs. Was that altered?

    From Reg

    By Reg Coleman (05/04/2015)
  • The grave yard was at the back of Chapman’s Terrace. Chapman’s Yard separated the terrace from Park Street.

    By Reg Coleman (02/04/2015)
  • As 3x great grandaughter of Ezekiel Elliott I found this an interesting article.  I had previously found the gravestones myself. 

    Ezekiel was boot and shoemaker in Batterdale in 1861 and by 1871 had moved to Park Street where they remained for the next 30 years or so .  Prior to his death Ezekiel had retired and he and his wife, Mary, had moved to St Albans leaving the business in the hands of their only surviving son, George.  However, George died 6wks later and the business was handed to George’s son, George Henry Elliott.  The business survived well into the 20th century with premesis in London Road.  The Chapel register shows Ezekiel’s wife, Mary as the last burial in the the Park Street burial ground on 15 November 1918 although she does not appear on the above list.

    By Carolyn Palmer (02/11/2014)
  • I lived in the end house (next to wall),I think it was No 8 on above Map. I left with my parents in March 1962 aged 7yrs. We moved to Ireland, but I have vivid memories, lovely.

    By Peter Cullen (29/11/2013)
  • Hatfield & Its People Bk7. p.24 tells us that “In June 1873, Mr John Cox Bird “Through remarkable providence was led to this place – he was searching for a place called ‘Barkway’ and alighted at Hatfield”. After four months probationary service Mr Bird was ordained pastor on New Year’s Day 1874. Mr John Hawkins presented Mr Bird with a purse containing £20 and also a handsome timepiece. During Mr Bird’s ministry the chapel was reseated and renovated, and the Sunday School enlarged, at he cost of £600. He died early on the morning of Wednesday, June 11th 1879, after a sudden illness.”

    By Christine Martindale (05/08/2013)