Tuesday, January 04, 2011

South London Dissenters in Bunhill Fields

I visited Bunhill Fields cemetery this week, the burial ground for protestant dissenters on City Road (near Old Street station). The most famous grave with a South London connection is that of William Blake and his wife Catherine, who of course lived in Lambeth for some of their lives.

A grave with a New Cross connection is that of Joseph Hardcastle (1752-1819). His stone reads 'He was a founder of the British and Foreign Bible Society and First Treasurer of the London Missionary Society and was associated with William Wilberforce in the campaign to abolish slavery'. Hardcastle lived at Hatcham House in what is now New Cross Gate.

The grave of Thomas Rosewell (1630-1692) tells us that he was 'a Most Distinguished Divine' and that in 1662 he was 'appointed pastor of the church at Rotherhithe near London in the County of Surrey'. Rosewell was sentenced to death for treason in 1684, but was subsequently pardoned.
The Rev. Joseph Swain 'of Walworth' - who's stone is next to the Blakes'- died on April 14 1796 at the age of 35. He was the pastor of the Baptist church in East Street, and published a collection of 192 'Walworth Hymns' in 1794 - I will have to track these down for the South London Songs project.
There's also a William Bousefield who died in 1802 'late of the Parish of St Olaves, Southwark', buried with other members of his family.

No comments: