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

Friday 30 November 2012

Walker, Treffry and Higgs - Wesleyan Methodists

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.
Monument to Jemima Ann Walker, Robert Walker J.P, Ann Walker, Mary Ann Curtis Treffry, John Higgs Esq J.P and Jemima Griffin Higgs, Methodist Church, Hight Street, Maidenhead Berkshire.
"In memorium Jemima Ann, only daughter of Robert and Ann Walker died Jany 15 1860 aged 10 years.  Robert Walker, J.P. died August 1. 1886 aged 64 years.  Ann Walker died July 12 1896 aged 78 years."
"Mary Ann Curtis Treffry died Dec 16 1864 aged 74 years.  John Higgs Esq. J.P. died June 3 1867 aged 6? years.  Jemima Griffin Higgs died Nov 3 1886 aged 79 years."
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels - Rev 3."
Jemima Ann was born in 1850 to Robert Walker, a chemist and painter and later a barrister and Justice of The Peace, and his wife Ann Wright.  In 1851, one year old Jemima can be found living with her parents and her uncle John Higgs and aunt Jemima G Higgs.  Sadly young Jemima was to pass away from a short illness before the next census was taken.

Robert Walker was born in Worcestershire in 1822 to Robert Walker and his wife Mary Ann Curtis Cullern.  In 1841 Robert is an apprentice chemist and has moved to Maidenhead where he is living with his brother-in-law John Higgs, a chemist in Maidenhead's High Street.
In 1847 Robert marries Ann Wright daughter of Muriel Wright of Sunninghill Berkshire, in Maidenhead.
Robert was also a preacher for the Wesleyan Methodist churches in Maidenhead and Cookham Rise and in 1865 he wrote a book entitled, A Collection of Favourite Hymns used by the Wesleyan Methodist Sabbath & Day Schools, of which Robert was superintendent. 
1881 sees Robert's occupation listed as magistrate and local preacher.
On 22nd July 1886 Robert was forced to be absent from a a day trip with the Wesleyan Sunday and day Schools to Burnham Beeches due to severe illness.  10 days later Robert passed away on 1st August 1886.
In 1891 the widowed Ann has moved to Wargrave to live with her sister Elizabeth Wright, before her own death in 1898.  Both Robert and Ann were interred in a vault beneath the Methodist church in Maidenhead High Street along with their daughter Jemima


Mary Ann Curtis Treffry was born Mary Ann Curtis Cullern on 4th September 1789, the second daughter of Thomas Cullern, a well respected tradesman in Maidenhead and his wife Ann Curties.  On 17th January 1820 Mary Ann married Robert Walker Snr in Dudley Worcestershire.  Both Mary Ann, her husband Robert Snr, son Robert and her step daughter Jemima Griffin Walker were extremely active Wesleyan Methodists and can be credited with the building of a Methodist Church in Maidenhead.

On 14th June 1830, Robert Walker Snr died and Mary Ann became a widow.  It was this that prompted her to move back to Maidenhead from Dudley to be closer to her son Robert and step brother John Higgs.  On 28th June 1835 Mary Ann became the teacher of the Methodist Sunday School.  On 9th November 1838 Mary Ann married Rev Richard Treffry at Hoxton London, where she lived with her new husband until 1833 when upon his retirement due to illness they moved back to Maidenhead.  Rev Treffry suffered greatly with sickness from 1833 until his death on 18th September 1842.  Mary Ann continued to be active in the Wesleyan Methodist community and completed man works for charity until her death from illness on 16th December 1864.  Mary Ann Treffry was interred in the family vault beneath the Methodist church in Maidenhead High Street, next to the remains of her grand-daughter Jemima.

In 1866 her relative James A Macdonald complied Mary Ann's memoirs into a book entitled Heavenward:  Memorials of Mrs M. A. C. Treffry of Maidenhead.


John Higg was born in Maidenhead on 29th June 1800 to John Higgs and his wife Ann Cullern.  John marries Jemima Griffin Walker on 10th December 1827.  In 1841 John Higgs is a Chemist living and working in Maidenhead High Street.  at the time of the 1841 Census, his sisters second husband Rev Richard Treffry is living with John and Jemima.  1851 and John and Jemima have moved in with their nephew/step brother Robert Walker.  John's occupations is now listed as magistrate, chemist and postmaster.  in 1861, 6 years before John's death the family is now living at Castle Hill Villa on St Mark's Road, Maidenhead.  John is now listed as a Justice of the Peace and local wesleyan preacher.  John Higgs passed away on 3rd June 1867.  John Higg was interred in the family vault beneath the Methodist church in Maidenhead High Street.


Jemima Griffin Higgs was born Jemima Griffin Walker in Dudley Worcestershire in 1807 to Robert Walker and his 1st wife Elizabeth Griffin.  Jemima remained in Maidenhead after her husband's death.  She lived alone with only one general servant for company until her own death on 3rd November 1886

On 13th November 1886 the Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer reported:

"Death of Mrs J. G. Higgs - In the removal by death of Mrs Jemima Griffin Higgs, of 3 Orchard Villas, Castle Hill, widow of the late John Higg.s Esq., J.P., who died on 4th June 1867, the local wesleyan body have lost another great supporter of their cause.  Mrs. Higgs had been in ill-health for many years,  and at times could only get about with assistance, and this necessitated her being for the most part confined to her house.  On Wednesday, the 3rd Inst., the deceased lady appeared if anything a little better than usual, but shortly after going to rest she had a fit of coughing and ruptured a blood vessel.  Dr. Plume and Mr. Montgomery were at once summoned, but their aid was of no avail, and the sufferer passed away at around 9 o'clock, having attained the age of 79.

The funeral took place on Monday afternoon, at the Wesleyan chapel, in the presence of a large number of persons.  It was of the simplest possible description, which was in accordance of the oft-expressed wish of the deceased.  Not a single flower being placed on the coffin."

Jemima G Higgs joined the rest of her family in the vault beneath the Methodist church in Maidenhead High Street.

To read more about the history of Maidenhead's Methodist communityand it's church, please click here.

I hope you've enjoyed my delve into the history of this complicated but amazing family.  I know I have.

Don't forget to link up with Cemetery Sunday every Sunday.

For more Tombstone Tuesday posts, please click here.


  1. Fascinating, and not many Methodist graveyards in the south of England. Do you research the histories yourself?

    I have often wondered if graves/graveyards are public property? Do you need permission to take photos in a graveyard?

    1. Thank you. I do all the research myself, mainly via the internet. In regards to permission, it depends on the individual cemetery. Most local authority run cemeteries and churchyards are considered public places and no permission for photography is needed.

      However privately owned cemeteries such as Brookwood Necropolis request that you purchase a photographic licence from themselves and a further licence if you wish to post any photography on the internet.

      Some cemeteries and churches have asked to keep my research on their files should anyone contact them for information regarding individual graves.


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