Friday, 15 March 2013

The Fairmile Churchyard

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. Hello! I am so happy to find your blog and so interested in the information you have given here! I have a great-grand uncle, Frank Pusey, who was a patient at Fairmile for 18 years, 6 months and 25 days until his death in April 1917, the same month and year as Dr. Murdock! I found his burial record at St. Mary's and a note next to the entry reads "Private, No 19, 3rd Row". When I saw your photo of the numbered markers I wondered if there might be some way to identify where this grave might be. We visited the UK from the US last spring and took a trip to the Berkshire Records Office where I found some of the records for Frank. He was originally from Abingdon. I would love to hear from you! Kind regards, Paula

    1. My thinking i sthey started the graves near the path and worked towards the West wall. If Frank dies the same month as Dr Murdock then I would think he would be buried very near to him. Murdocks wishes that he could be buried with his charges so he could watch over them in death. He could even be buried right next to Dr Murdock. There are a few more markers around so number 19 could be with them.