God‘s Acre Flamstead
God’s Acre is the cemetery in Singlets Lane, Flamstead, a few hundred yards from St Leonard‘s church. The land was donated by Sir Edgar Sebright in 1903 when the churchyard became full.
You can get an idea how full it was by comparing the level of the ground outside the church with the base of the walls, which would have been the original level before any burials.
According to Eric Edwards, when the parish council celebrated its centenary in 1994, it was rediscovered that Sir Edgar’s gift was conditional on it being called “God’s Acre”. Needless to say, locally it had just been known as “the cemetery”.
Not surprisingly the site is one acre (0.4 ha) in area. It contains 630 burial plots. It is thought that over 1,000 village people are buried there (as some of the plots are doubles or even triples). At least 250 are unmarked. To qualify for a burial, you either have to be a current established resident of Flamstead or have been born in the village.
Revd. Cecil Russell, vicar at St Leonard’s from 1937 to 1957 is buried there, “facing his church and people as is the custom with priests”.
God’s Acre is also a Commonwealth War Graves site, with four burials there for local men who died in WW1 whilst serving in the military. There is also a private grave for Frederick Harvey who died from a munitions explosion in WW2. Although he was a non-combatant, his name appears on the Flamstead War Memorial alongside the other four. The five burials are:
- James Fensom, aged 35 in 1915
- Charles Peddar, aged 24 in 1916
- Joshua Dyer, aged 19 in 1916
- Alfred Flitton, aged 33 in 1918
- Frederick Harvey aged 16 in 1944
In total the War Memorial lists 32 names from World War 1 and 6 from World War 2.
This page uses information from Harry Birtley, Eric Edwards, and Simon Goodwin.