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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Taphophile Tragics - The Angel Cookham Churchyard

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.


  1. A really interesting post Nicola, it seems many tapophiles are posting mysteries this week! Nice touch finding the Spencer painting, (he was from Cookham if I remember rightly?)it is an impressive angel.

  2. Ah that would be our Spencerian square-peg-in-round-hole from a previous post, then.

    Yes, I had a number of questions by the time I got to te end of your post, Nicola. Nowaday, one would assume a relationship, and I do not know enought to determine if thenadays the same may have applied.

    I wonder if 'of their own means' equates to 'between jobs'? Is there anyway lower to fall from being a 'ropemaker'. I am figuring that sisal would have all been imported product.

    But then again, they did have the wherewithall to attend boarding school. I love taphophilia for this very reason.

  3. I'd be interested to learn who arranged for this beautiful angel to memorialize these three.

  4. I have been trying to think of a good comment, but am flummoxed. This is a strange tale.

  5. i have to say, i agree with violetsky.. :)

    living with your twin brother for so long! what about marriage, or something like that!


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