The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

No Room in the Churchyard

by Tony Storey

This article was originally published in the August 2003 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society

In London, in the last years of the eighteenth century, the growing population and the high mortality rate, particularly amongst children, resulted in the old parish burial grounds becoming grossly overcrowded.

In 1793 the churchyard of St Giles-in-the-Fields was said to contain “a great square pit with many coffins piled one upon the other, all exposed to sight and smell…. So many foetid corpses, tacked between some slight boards, dispensing their dangerous effluvia over the capital.”

London was late in the provision of proper cemeteries, so some inner London parishes resorted to purchasing land outside their boundaries. St Giles-in-the-Fields eventually acquired a few acres next to the burial ground of St Pancras church in Pancras Road.

The parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields bought land in Pratt Street, St Pancras, and between 1806 and 1856, buried its dead in what became the Camden Town Cemetery. At first, many of the burials were from the workhouse, but in later years they came from many different parishes in London, Middlesex and Surrey. More than 18,000 burials are recorded at the Pratt Street site, of which the following are of greatest interest to us.

Ann Sewel
Aged 62
13 January 1808
John Seywell
Aged 53
11 January 1812
Elizabeth Sewell
Aged 68
20 September 1814
Robert Sewell
Aged 58
9 January 1816
Sophia Sewell
Aged 10 months
28 May 1818
Mary Sewell
Aged 68
14 April 1820
Joseph Sewell
Aged 63
18 June 1834
Ann Sewell
Aged 65˝
22 December 1841
Frederick Sewell
Aged 3 weeks
16 July 1846
Thomas Sewell
Aged 7 months
26 August 1852
Alfred Sewell
Aged 10 weeks
2 March 1854

 

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