Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Tuesday 3 July 2012

The Angel of Cookham

The Angel Cookham Churchyard
(c) Nicola Carpenter 2012

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

Angel monument to George Pendrill, Arthur Reed Louch and William Louch, Holy Trinity Churchyard, Cookham Berkshire.

"To The Memory Of - George Pendrill who died at Sutton Courtney, Berks July 8th 1890 aged 34 years.  Also of Arthur Reed Louch third son of the late Henry Louch Esq of Poplar London.  Who died at Sutton Courntey, Berks.  November 1st 1897 aged 58 years.  Also of William Louch twin brother of Arthur Reed Louch who died at Sutton Courtney, Berks June 8th 1901"

Arthur Reed and William Louch were born in 1839 in Poplar London to Henry, a ropemaker and Ann Louch nee Masterman.  On the 1841 Census they're shown living with their parents and sisters Ellen Masterman and Ada Reed at Manor Cottage, Poplar London.  Henry Louch was to die in 1848 and the family rope making business dissolved by his son Henry Louch in 1859.

"NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned. Anna Louch, Henry Louch, and John Thompson, under the firm of Reed, Louch Brothers, and Thompson, at Love-lane, Shadwell, in the county of Middlesex, Rope Makers, has been dissolved by mutual consent, so far as regards the undersigned
John Thompson.—Dated the 27th day of December,
1859.  Anna Louch.  Henry Louch.  John Thompson."

In 1851 both Arthur and William were attending a boarding school in George Lane Woodford Essex.  Arthur and William split briefly in 1861 when Arthur was serving on a vessel in Pembrokeshire as an engineer and William, now a civil engineer was boarding with a Samuel Grey in Swindon GWR railway village, built by Brunel to help house the many railway workers and their families.  However in 1862 they can be found both serving in the Wiltshire Rifle Volunteer Corps 11th Company, Arthur as a Lieutenant and William as an Ensign.

In 1871 they were back living with their mother Anna and sister Louisa at The Elms in Hackney.  Both Arthur and William are listed as being ropemakers.  In 1881 Arthur and William have moved to Great Marlow and are living at Quarry Chalk Pits along with George Pendrill.  Arthur and William are again listed as engineers and George is an Engine driver.  1891 find the brothers living together aged 49 at The Green, Sutton Courtney in Abingdon, then Berkshire (now Oxon).  They're now listed as 'living on their own means'.

Sadly the twin brothers were to be separated by death with Arthur dying in 1897 and William in 1901.  His brother's passing must has come as a shock to poor William, who had to get used to living without his twin for a further four years.

George James Pendrill was born on 1st June 1856 in Rotherhithe Surrey to James a barge builder and Caroline Rachel Pendrill nee Gorsuch.

This monument and the research behind it has thrown up more questions than answers.

What event or reason that caused Arthur and William to leave the Wiltshire Rifle Volunteers to return to the family business of rope making?  Why was George Pendrill living with Arthur and William in Great Marlow and why did he move with them to Sutton Courtney? 

And most confusing of all...

Why was George Pendrill buried along with Arthur and William and not in his own plot or that of his family?

The Angel in the churchyard of Holy Trinity in Cookham was to inspire Sir Stanley Spencer.  He painted a picture of The Angel with the church tower in the background in 1953

The Angel, Cookham Churchyeard 1953

Sir Stanley Spencer looking at The Angel
in Cookham Churchyard

For more Taphophile Tragic posts, please click here.

** Update, I have since e-mailed Holy Trinity Church in Cookham asking for more information about the angel monument.  Unfortunately they had no further information to give.  However they did manage to find an identical angel monument in a Tiverton churchyard.  I am currently trying to find out if there is a connection between the two angels.


  1. i like the angel statue. although somehow i always think they should be female...

    1. I too always seem to think of angels as female, but most cemetery angels are in fact men. I think they're supposed to represent the angels Gabriel and Michael

  2. Very interesting. The Elms is demolished - I think it may have been subdivided [I don't have the census in front of me] What is interesting is that the translators of Hans Christian Andersen lived there in the 1840s and one imagines that the author may have visited. Certainly the German poet Freiligrath stayed very close by during his exile
    See here:

    Anna Louch died in 1874 when perhaps the house was sold. You can see an online facsimile of the London Gazette 3 years later asking for interested parties to submit claims against her estate.

    A curious triumverate of dedicatees on the monument.


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