Saturday, 2 January 2016

The Fairmile Cemetery.

Go into the new graveyard at Cholsey Church and over on the far left hand side you will see this plaque commemorating the those who were buried there.
 "This Plaque is to commemorate all those who have been laid to rest in this churchyard and cemetery from Fairmile Hospital 1870 - 2003

"The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms"    
             Deuteronomy 33v27 

Underneath are two other plaques placed there in memory of who I assume were patients there. My parents would have known if they had been alive.
The original  cemetery was over on the south west side.

A few headstones can be seen in the area though there is one which watches over them.

The grave belonged to Dr James William Murdock who was the superintendent at the Hospital  His last wish was that he was buried with his patients so he could watch over them

The inscription reads
"Write me as one (who laboured for) Loved his fellow men the Angel wrote"
He died on 28th April 1917 His wife Celia who is buried with him passed away on 9th October 1962 aged 92 years.
The statue used to have a trumpet but that disappeared many years ago.
There are a few headstones left in that part of the churchyard though I think it would have been full of cast iron grave markers 

Like these in the photo's above, when I was young I used to cut the grass in the churchyard and was always coming across them.
When the churchyard ran out of room an extension was built next door  and the Fairmile cemetery went next door as well.

The is the second Fairmile cemetery with a few headstones  showing, no doubt provided by their estate and relatives. Most of them have no marker to remember them. I'm also not sure if the area was used for paupers graves as I seem to remember an open grave with planks on which I was told was for this purpose.

One of the headstones you see above is to Ronald Leslie Walker or Les as his friends knew him. He used to work with my Father  for many years

 Another person or persons who worked at Fairmile were Moses Nicholls and Avery Nicholls the latter who I think was the son of Moses. Both worked as Stewards of Fairmile.  Moses is buired with his Wife  Maria and Avery with his Sister Blanche who I knew as Miss Nicholls and remember her riding a bicycle round the village and visiting a lady who lived next door to  me

William or Bill Southby who is buried with is parents was another member of staff who worked at Fairmile and was a keen sportsman. He now has a close named after him New housing at Fairmile. His grave like the last is in the old Churchyard

The O'Brians were family friends and used to live in the Star Terrace before moving to the new housing built in 1960 along Papist way I went to school with the oldest son and was Friends with him for years till we lost touch. Last I heard was that he had moved to Ireland. His younger brother Paul young like his Mother.

 The name Ethel Mary Fetherstone is a name I recognise but I could not tell you any more at the moment. The cemetery here is still provided for by the NHS in maintenance costs though there are few headstones there to remind you of what the place was used for. When you walk round the cemetery you can recognise many of the staff who worked there including my parents. A few I have shown and will add more in future.
The plaque on the wall is the reminder of those who lay buried here RIP.


  1. Such an interesting post. It is a shame that so many graves are left unmarked.

    Thank you for linking up with Cemtery Sunday.

    Beneath Thy Feet

  2. I feel sadder at seeing a cemetery with few headstones than one that is full to overflowing.
    It seems almost as if interest was lost somewhere.

  3. The problem is that most of them probably had no relatives or any that cared enough to erect a headstone. I remember going to the Hospital when my parents worked there and many of the patients were old and had no relatives.

  4. Really interesting -- thanks for sharing! It's too bad that the hospital didn't have some money set aside for markers, considering many of the people didn't have any family left.

  5. those cast iron grave markers are pretty tall. the ones we have are barely 1', I think.

  6. A wonderful old cemetery, thanks for sharing.
    Happy New Year

  7. I agree with Hamilton about few headstones. When I was doing my Family Tree I came across a lot of old cemeteries where there were very few headstones. I always find browsing through cemeteries quite interesting. My youngest stepson Aaron used to join me & he liked it too whereas my wife & the other 2 kids thought Aaron & myself were just weird

  8. The crosses for Moses Nicholls and Avery Nicholls are of a style that I would not see here. Very nice.

  9. gorgeous headstone. Happy New Year! have a great weekend. ( :

  10. Fascinating post, Bill. When I was duty driver at my Army unit in RAF Benson [1972-75], I sometimes had to drive a married soldier home to Cholsey where he had a hiring - a house hired by the Army as there were not enough married quarters at Benson. I remember seeing the sign for Fairmile and that people used to say in conversation 'you must be mad. Careful or you will be sent to Fairmile. Strangely enough, I lived in Crowthorne 1952-76 and was educated at Broadmoor Primary School which was within the estate of the then Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum for the Criminally Insane. A lady at the end of my road, adopted two twin girls from a relative. One grew up to be scholarly, the other was a lot of bother as a schoolgirl, chopping up everyone's clothes in the wardrobes when the family was out. This post has triggered the memory that 'she' was sent to Fairmile. Thank you for posting!

    1. My mum might have looked after her then. Funny you used to hear quite a few odd sayings like that outside the village not much with in though. So did you ever go to the Argosy club, Seem to remember going there a few times in the early 70's

  11. Hello, Bill!
    Sepulchral sculptures are beautifully immortalized in your photos.
    Best wishes for the New Year in 2016.

  12. What a fascinating history.

  13. Very beautiful old cemetery.
    Magnificent and picturesque scenery.
    Greetings from Poland.

  14. A poignant tale Bill. Must feel a little strange for you seeing the familiar names there. I was wondering if the cast iron grave markers might have been taken and the metal re-used but looks like you found many just lying around. Hard to believe that the first week of the new year is almost over :) Hope you had an excellent Christmas, all the very best for 2016.