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Kent England Research   

Genealogical Research in Kent, England, specialising in South West Kent



Burials in Woodbury Park Cemetery, Tunbridge Wells (1849-1934)


In 1981-1982, aided by my wife Karin and by a friend, Neil Young, I compiled a card index of all the entries in the three registers of burials in this redundant Cemetery. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council kindly gave permission for this. The three registers are of the standard type and are available (normally on microfilm) at Tunbridge Wells Reference Library. The late Jean Mauldon, Reference Librarian there for many years, including at the time when this indexing project was undertaken, was as always happy to offer her help and support, for which I was most grateful.

In 1993, following careful checking, I typed a version of the index giving only surnames and references to entry numbers (forenames and other details not being included) on a manual typewriter and this very basic index was subsequently published on microfiche by the Kent Family History Society as publication number 1711. This is still available from the Kent Family History Society.

The index was checked against the index in Kent Family History Society publication number 17 (being the second volume of the transcriptions of Monumental Inscriptions in Woodbury Park Cemetery, edited by David Petley-Jones and printed by The Harrington Family Miscellany Publications, in two parts, KFHS publications numbers 15 and 17, 1983-1984). Those researching persons who may have been buried in the Cemetery may wish to refer to these publications in addition to the burial index, since there are a few extra surnames in the MIs and index, given there, which do not appear in the burial registers and have not been added to the index of these. There are also useful introductory notes in volume 15. Again, both these volumes are still available on microfiche from the Kent Family History Society.

In September 2007, I completed a revised and improved edition of the burial index (in the form of a Word document; but still giving only surnames and references to entry numbers). The digital images of the GRO indexes of deaths and births and the excellent "FreeBMD" indexes of these now available on www.ancestry.co.uk were used with some success to check a number of names which are unclear in the burial registers. However, it should be noted that only some of the more doubtful names were checked in this way; the index was not checked all through against the original registers again as it had been before, and so - although I naturally hope that it is accurate - I will always be pleased to be informed of any errors which may still be found in it. The revised index has been made available to KFHS for inclusion on a future CD, and copies have also been given to CKS, Maidstone, and to the Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery (however, see below - FWPC have now published their own improved index!)

In my own index, purely for convenience, the registers are referred to by letters "A", "B", and "C" respectively, preceding the entry numbers. The registers and their covering dates are:-

"A" Burials from 1849 Oct 12 to 1865 Dec 21 (2400 entries)
"B" Burials from 1865 Dec 21 to 1878 Jun 1 (2400 entries)
"C" Burials from 1878 Jun 1 to 1934 Oct 11 (1353 entries)

The Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery (FWPC) are working very actively to promote interest in the Cemetery. The FWPC website at www.fwpc.org.uk has photos and other features, for instance details of events such as Plant Sales and Moth Trapping Evenings and of FWPC publications for sale. They also offer to look up burials and Monumental Inscriptions in the Cemetery and ask to be sent any known details of the lives of those buried there to add to their records. As an alternative to contact through their website, the Secretary of FWPC may be emailed at jbman@btinternet.com if preferred.

An article on Woodbury Park Cemetery by R. M. Clegg of the FWPC appeared in the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society Journal (Number 40, Spring 2008, pages 13-20). Among many other points of interest, the article mentioned an index to the Cemetery’s burial registers, compiled by another researcher, which is available in Tunbridge Wells Reference Library. Members of FWPC have now produced a full database of all the burials in the Cemetery. Volunteers have carefully checked the details given in this existing index (which was already much more detailed than my index) and added the only information not to be included in it - the Officiating Minister's name given in each burial entry. This lengthy and painstaking process has eventually resulted in their publishing a CD detailing all the burials in the Cemetery, which is available through FWPC at a very reasonable price.

As already noted, the published form of my own index is now somewhat obsolete in the light of the publication of FWPC's own more detailed index. My own index as published does not give full details of the burials - only surnames, with references to the register and entry numbers for each. However, if required, full details (taken from microfilm copies of the original registers) of all the entries for any one of the surnames represented in my index, no matter how many there may be for a given surname and all its variants, may still be obtained from me for £5.00; or full details of all burials for two surnames and their variants for £7.50. Additionally, if required, a digital copy (Word document) of the complete index - of all surnames and reference numbers only, that is - can be emailed together with these full burial details, without further charge.

My own professional services, including any such burial searches, are completely independent of those offered on a voluntary basis by the FWPC.

Matthew Copus
307 Dale Street
Chatham
Kent ME4 6QR

Email: matthew-copus@blueyonder.co.uk