Renovation of memorials

The memorials in our cemetery mark the final resting place of people and serve to connect us with previous generations and their history. Unfortunately, many of the memorials are also neglected, as those who previously looked after them are no longer able to do so for many reasons.

Our team of volunteers  have restored some of these neglected memorials to their former glory by restoring fallen over headstones, mending broken gravestones and statues, remarking the borders around graves, cleaning headstones and generally tidying up.

If you are interested in finding out more about joining the Friends of Bedford Cemetery and volunteering,  please visit our Volunteering Section

The pictures below show some of our memorials before and after restoration.


Frances Mary Sim the first Head Mistress of the Kindergarten and the founder of the Teacher Training College, Bedford. Grave Section 75. 62

William and Annie Blake who lead the way in photography

William and Mary Howard Lovell.  Mary was the great granddaughter of John Moore Howard who served as Governor of the County Goal in Bedford (1783-1814) and was dismissed for using prison labour for his own means. Her father was Sir Frederick Howard who in partnership with his brother built Britannia Iron Works, Bedford.

Fanny Peters Housekeeper to Sir Frederick Howard Grave Section B 1104

John Charles Denton. In the 1870s he built the biggest and best store in Bedford, the Pantechnicon, later Longhurst and Skinner and now the Pilgrims Progress.

Henry Francis. Boot maker of Bedford Grave Section B 1104

Mabel Barltrop ( 1866-1934).  Mabel was known to her followers as Octavia, Shiloh or Shiloh-Jerusalem and was founder of the Panacea Society, a secretive religious group based in Bedford, but which was known all over the world. She claimed to be a great prophet, the Daughter of God, have daily messages from God, and to have healing powers. Her neglected grave was restored by the Panacea Museum in 2016. For further information click on video link.

Emily Goodwin ( 1857-1943) was the second most important person in the Panacea Society, after Mabel Barltrop, and became the leader in 1934. She claimed to be the “Instrument of The Divine Mother” speaking the words of the female aspect of God. As with Mabel Barltrop, her grave doesn’t have her name, just her initials, and was restored in 2016.

The Stannard family were famed in Bedford as musicians and watercolourists. Henry Stannard (R.B.A) held art classes at his studio on the corner of Harper Street and Dame Alice Street. His eldest daughter Emily (R.A.M) was a pupil of her father. She was a highly talented artist as well as being a Mezzo Soprano. Her sister Ivy Horn was a violinist and artist. She was the proprietor of the Bedford Art Academy at 59 Bromham Road.

Baby Eve –  A Heart-rending Memorial.  Many people over the years would not fail to notice as they walked past Baby Eve’s last resting place. Some of those may have paused for a while to look down on the touching memorial, and some have left flowers.  Baby Joan Christine Turing Eve was born in Bedford on May 3rd 1904, and died at Weymouth on August 15th 1905. Joan was the daughter of Sir Herbert Trustram, and Lady Fanny Jean Eve.
Joan’s cousin was Alan Turing, who during WW2 worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park.  Alan sadly did not get the chance to know his cousin Joan as he was born eight years later.

Daniel O’Connell Jr is buried, together with his wife Ellen, near the main gatehouse of our cemetery. Daniel O’Connell was born in 1816 and died aged 80 in 1897. He was the youngest and last surviving son of Daniel O’Connell Snr known as ‘The Liberator’.  Latterly he and his family lived in Clapham Road, Bedford, opposite St. Martin’s church.

Very nearby to Daniel Jr’s grave is a barely legible little monument where Daniel and Ellen’s  daughter Kitty is buried.