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Monumental inscriptions

Anyone researching their family will know that tracing burials can be difficult but you may be lucky enough to find a monumental inscription. Gravestone inscriptions frequently supply useful background information for family historians. For example, they may supply links between one family and another when nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers and grandchildren share the same memorial. They may give a whole life story including places of birth, who married whom, the names of children, and finally the place of death and burial. If you are really lucky they may even tell you the cause of death.

In 1907 Arthur Weight Matthews of Luton began to record gravestone inscriptions and by 1916, when he left the County, he had filled 17 notebooks with transcripts.

Several gravestones tell sad but intriguing stories: the young lady who died "after a few hours of illness on her wedding morn"; the gentleman "killed by a stick of timber falling out of his own carriage"; not to mention the skilled painter, James Pickard of Leicestershire, who was killed when he fell from the dome of Lord Bute's House at Luton Park in 1787. However, drowningis the most common cause of death recorded in the Weight Matthews volumes. For example, William Prior of Bedford St Mary "left this life when bathing on Sunday the 14th August 1791. Is it just my imagination, or does the unusual mention of the day suggest a reproach about William's Sabbath day activities? If so, this makes the fate which befell brother and sister Thomas and Harriett Inskip and their friend Mrs Anderson seem even more unfortunate – they drowned in the river Ouse at Oakley in 1843 when returning from Stevington Church.

Specific diseases are rarely mentioned, but influenza, cholera, smallpox and typhoid all appear, and the weather was responsible for two deaths, one from lightning, the other from sunstroke. Several soldiers are reported as dying in South Africa at the time of the Boer war and , from an earlier generation, James Inkersole of Marston Moretaine lost an arm at Waterloo which caused his death on 17th August 1827! Railway and carriage accidents and, slightly more surprising in land-locked Bedfordshire, shipwrecks are mentioned. Cases of death in childbirth are as you would expect, comparatively common. The gravestone of Patience Johnson in St Paul's Churchyard, Bedford, stated: "Here lies interred the body of Patience ye wife of Shadrach Johnson, by her he had 12 sons and 12 daughters, She died in Childbed ye 6th Day of June Anno 1717 Aged 38 years". After his wife's death, Shadrach, innkeeper of the WHeatsheaf Inn, fathered eightmore children by his maidservant, Sarah Boston, whom he finally married in Goldington in 1724. She died on 25 May 1736, Shadrach was buried 12 Nov 1741.
Monumental Inscriptions can be a very useful source for the genealogist, often including details of ages, family members and other biographical details. Several different groups have noted the inscriptions on gravestones in churchyards throughout the county and these are available in our searchroom, or we can copy or transcribe entries for you for our usual research fee if you cannot visit the office, see Our Enquiry and Research Service|

AWM Arthur Weight Matthews, produced 1907-1916, indexed (photocopies of the volumes held by the Society of Genealogists), available in the searchroom at ref: CRT 120/15/15/1-17.

LHC LH Chambers, produced 1917 - 1923, indexed, available in the searchroom at ref: CRT 120/15/1-14.

FHS Family History Society; most are indexed, available in the searchroom pamphlet boxes under ref: 130/---.

Pl Women's Institute and County Planning; arranged alphabetically by surname and then in approximate date order, they are held as bound copies on the searchroom selves ref: 130/---.

BMS Bedford Modern School; alphabetical lists by surname contain the relevant information but are not full transcripts.

OC Other contributors; styles vary see notes below.

 
Parish
Reference Number
Notes
AMPTHILL Churchyard

CRT 120/15/15/11 (AWM)
Book 130 AMP (OC)
(see also Pamph 130 AMP A tombstone trail)
1970 A-Z list
AMPTHILLQuaker graveyard, Dunstable St Book 130 AMP p37  
AMPTHILL Wesleyan burial ground, Woburn St Book 130 AMP p38  
ARLESEY CRT 120/15/15/8 (AWM)  
ARLESEY PC Arlesey 12/1 Gives a list of the memorials to be removed from the churchyard
ASPLEY GUISE Old churchyard CRT 120/15/15/5 pp 48-70 (AWM)  
ASPLEY GUISE New churchyard CRT 120/15/15/5 pp 71-82 (AWM)  
ASTWICK Pamph 130/AST (FHS)  
BARFORD, GREAT CRT 120/15/15/13 (AWM)  
BARFORD, LITTLE CRT 120/15/15/14 (AWM)  
BARTON CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM)  
BATTLESDEN CRT 120/15/15/5 (AWM)  
BEDFORD Holy Trinity CRT 120/15/8 (LHC)
P133/2/9c
 
BEDFORD St.Cuthbert CRT 120/15/8 (LHC)
CRT 120/15/15/16 (AWM)
 
BEDFORD St.John CRT 120/15/5 (LHC)
CRT 120/15/15/16 (AWM)
 
BEDFORD St. Leonard Pamph 130 Bed (FHS)  
BEDFORD St.Mary CRT 120/15/1 (LHC)
CRT 120/15/15/16 (AWM)
X69/52
inside church
BEDFORD St.Paul CRT 120/15/7 (LHC)
CRT 120/15/15/16 (AWM)
oversized volume
BEDFORD St.Peter CRT 120/15/2 (LHC)  
BEDFORD Bunyan Meeting CRT 120/15/7 (LHC) oversized volume
BEDFORD Moravian Church CRT 120/15/7 (LHC) oversized volume
BEDFORD Howard Chapel CRT 120/15/15/16 (AWM)
CRT 120/15/10 (LHC)
 
BEDFORD Baptist Chapel Mill Street CRT 120/15/10 (LHC)
BIDDENHAM Pamph 130 BID (FHS)
BIGGLESWADE Churchyard CRT 120/15/15/14 (AWM)
P14/2/4/3-6
Pamph 130 BIG (FHS)
incomplete
BIGGLESWADE Baptist Burial Ground CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)
BILLINGTON Pamph 130 Bil (FHS)
BLETSOE None
BLUNHAM Book 130 BLU (Pl)
CRT 120/15/15/9
Master copy Pl/AC 1/4
BOLNHURST None
BROMHAM CRT 120/15/15/17 (AWM)
CADDINGTON CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM)
CAMPTON CRT 120/15/15/7 (AWM)
CARDINGTON Churchyard CRT 120/15/15/10 (AWM)
Book 130 CAR (Pl)
CARDINGTON Cemetery Pamph 130 CAR (FHS)
CARLTON Pamph 130 CAR (FHS)
CHALGRAVE CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
CHELLINGTON CRT 120/15/12 (LHC)
CHICKSANDS No churchyard
CLAPHAM Pamph 130 CLA (FHS)
CLIFTON CRT 120/15/15/7 (AWM)
CLOPHILL CRT 120/15/15/6 (AWM)
Book 130 CLO (Pl)
Master copy Pl/AC 1/2
COLMWORTH CRT 120/15/15/13 (AWM)
COPLE CRT 120/15/15/10 (AWM)
CRANFIELD Churchyard Pamph 130 CRA (FHS) Temporary A - Z list
CRANFIELD Independent Baptist Pamph 130 CRA (FHS)
CRANFIELD Merchants Lane Burial Ground Pamph 130 CRA (FHS)
DEAN United Reformed Church Pamph 130 DEA (FHS)
DUNSTABLE CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
DUNSTABLE CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
DUNSTABLE CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
DUNSTABLE CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
DUNTON CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)
EASTCOTTS No churchyard
EATON BRAY CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
P63/2/9/9
EATON SOCON Pamph 130 EAT 16 (OC)
CRT 130 EAT SOC (OC)
P5/2/3/1
EDWORTH Pamph 130 EDW
EGGINGTON Pamph 130 EGG (FHS)
ELSTOW CRT 120/15/15/117 (AWM)
Pamph 130 ELS (OC)
church interior only
EVERSHOLT CRT 120/15/15/3 (AWM)
Book 130 EVE (OC)
P42/2/3/5 copy
1996 survey
EVERTON CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)
Micf 138 (Hunts FHS)
updated version
EYEWORTH CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)
FARNDISH CRT 120/15/9 (LHC)
X69/43
inside church only
FELMERSHAM Churchyard CRT 120/15/3 (LHC)
Pamph 130 FEL (OC)
Copy of P98/28/11 updates LHC and provides plan
FELMERSHAMRadwell Methodist Chapel CRT 120/15/3 (LHC)
FLITTON CRT 120/15/15/6 (AWM)
FLITWICK Pamph 130 FLI (OC) not indexed
GOLDINGTON None
GRAVENHURST, UPPER CRT 120/15/15/6 (AWM)
GRAVENHURST, LOWER CRT 120/15/15/6 (AWM)
HARLINGTON CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
HARROLD None
HATLEY, COCKAYNE CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)
HAYNES CRT 120/15/15/6 (AWM)
HEATH & REACH Pamph 130 HEA (FHS)
HENLOW CRT 120/15/15/8 (AWM)
HIGHAM GOBION CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM)
HOCKLIFFE CRT 120/15/15/5 (AWM)
P103/28/6
HOLWELL CRT 120/15/15/8 (AWM)
HOUGHTON CONQUEST CRT 120/15/15/115 (AWM)
HOUGHTON REGIS CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
CRT 130Hou Regis 6 (BMS)
copies also at P101/2/3/6-7 & X291/183
HULCOTE Pamph 130 HUL (FHS)
HUSBORNE CRAWLEY CRT 120/15/15/3 (AWM)
HYDE, EAST None
KEMPSTON CRT 130 KEM 11(BMS)
KENSWORTH P34/2/3/1 (OC)
CRT 130 KEN 4 (OC)
Pamph 130 KEN
British Mission Index Partial transcript
KEYSOE Churchyard CRT 120/15/6 (LHC)
KEYSOE Brook End Baptist burial ground Pamph 130 KEY (FHS)
KNOTTING CRT 120/15/12 (LHC)
LANGFORD CRT 130 LAN 10 Removal of memorials 1988, plan & inscriptions
LEAGRAVE No churchyard
LEIGHTON BUZZARD CRT 120/15/15/4 (AWM)
P91/2/1
Z532/4
inside church extracts
LIDLINGTON CRT 120/15/4 (LHC)  
LINSLADE None  
LIMBURY None  
LUTON CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM) transcript of AWM at Pamph 130 LUT (FHS)
LUTON CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM)
LUTON CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM)
MARSTON MORETAYNE Pamph 130 MAR (FHS)  
MAULDEN CRT 120/15/15/12 (AWM)  
MELCHBOURNE Pamph 130 MEL (FHS)  
MEPPERSHALL Pamph 130 MEP (FHS)  
MILLBROOK CRT 120/15/5 (LHC)  
MILTON BRYAN CRT 120/15/15/5 (AWM)  
MILTON ERNEST None  
MOGGERHANGER None  
NORTHILL CRT 120/15/15/9 (AWM)  
OAKLEY Pamph 130 OAK (FHS)  
ODELL Pamph 130 ODE (FHS)  
PAVENHAM CRT 120/15/11 (LHC)  
PERTENHALL Moravian Burial Ground CRT 170/7/5  
PODINGTON CRT 120/15/9 (LHC)
CRT 120/15/14 (LHC)
Churchyard
Inside church
POTSGROVE CRT 120/15/15/5 (AWM)  
POTTON Churchyard CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)
Pamph 130 POT (OC)
CRT 130 POT 31 (OC)
AWM with additions
Comparison of AWM, pamph 130 and parish registers to produce a 'best fit'
POTTON Baptist Burial Ground CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)  
PULLOXHILL CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM)  
RADWELL see Felmersham  
RAVENSDEN Pamph 130 RAV (FHS)  
RENHOLD Book 130 REN (Pl)  
RIDGMONT Pamph 130 RID Segenhoe Church
RIDGMONT Independent Baptist burial ground Pamph 130 RID  
RISELEY None  
ROXTON CRT 120/15/15/13 (AWM)  
SALFORD Pamph 130 SAL (FHS)  
SANDY Churchyard CRT 120/15/15/14 (AWM)  
SANDY Burial Ground CRT 120/15/15/14 (AWM)  
SHARNBROOK None  
SHEFFORD See Campton  
SHEFFORD Methodist & Baptist Burial Grounds Pamph 130 SHE (FHS)  
SHEFFORD HARDWICK None  
SHELTON Pamph 130 SHE (FHS)  
SHILLINGTON CRT 120/15/15/16 (AWM)  
SILSOE None  
SOULDROP Pamph 130 SOU (FHS)  
SOUTHILL CRT 120/15/15/9 (AWM)  
STAGSDEN CRT 120/15/15/17 (AWM)  
STANBRIDGE Book 130 STA (Pl) Master copy Pl/AC1/1
STAPLOE see Eaton Socon  
STAUGHTON, LITTLE Pamph 130 STA (FHS)  
STEPPINGLEY Pamph 130 STE (FHS)  
STEVINGTON Churchyard CRT 120/15/15/17 (AWM) copy at
CRT 130 STE 16
STEVINGTON West End Baptists CRT 120/15/15/17 (AWM)  
STONDON, UPPER None  
STOPSLEY None  
STOTFOLD Churchyard CRT 120/15/15/8 (AWM)  
STOTFOLD Wesleyan Chapel CRT 120/15/15/8 (AWM)  
STREATLEY CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM)
CRT120/15/13 (LHC)
 
STUDHAM CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
Pamph 130 STU (OC)
 
SUNDON CRT 120/15/15/1 (AWM)  
SUTTON CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)
Book 130 SUT (Pl)
Master copy Pl/AC1/3
SWINESHEAD Pamph 130 SWI (FHS)  
TEMPSFORD CRT 120/15/15/14 (AWM)  
THURLEIGH None  
TILBROOK None  
TILSWORTH CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
Z532/3
extracts
TINGRITH CRT 120/15/15/5 (AWM)  
TODDINGTON CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
Z532/3
extracts
TOTTERNHOE CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)  
TURVEY Churchyard CRT 120/15/15/17 (AWM)  
TURVEY Independent Church Pamph 130 TUR (FHS)  
WARDEN, OLD CRT 120/15/15/10 (AWM)  
WESTONING CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)
Pamph 130 WES (OC)
updates AWM
WHIPSNADE CRT 120/15/15/2 (AWM)  
WILDEN CRT 120/15/15/13 (AWM) Copy at
CRT 130 WIL 8
WILSHAMSTEAD [WILSTEAD] CRT 120/15/15/115 (AWM)
Pamph 130 WIL (OS)
A - Z list
WILLINGTON CRT 120/15/15/10 (AWM)  
WOBURN CRT 120/15/15/3 (AWM)  
WOBURN SANDS Churchyard FAC 134/1-2
CRT 130 WOB 34
extracts of
FAC 134/1-2
WOBURN SANDS Quaker Burial Ground Pamph 130 WOB (FHS)  
WOOTTON Pamph 130 WOO (OC)
A - Z list
Based on WI survey
WRESTLINGWORTH CRT 120/15/15/15 (AWM)  
WYMINGTON CRT 120/15/13 (LHC)  
YIELDEN CRT 120/15/12 (LHC)