Norwich – Rosary Cemetery (Alfred Wilmot Spooner)

Since I’ve been grounded again by the Government, I thought I’d meander around the Rosary Cemetery located near to me in Norwich, in an attempt to see what stories lie there. It might not be the most fascinating blog content, but it’ll keep me quiet for a few weeks….

This is the grave of Alfred Wilmot Spooner, located in one of the oldest parts of the cemetery. He was baptised on 6 January 1813 at St. Andrew’s Church in Norwich and was the son of Edward Spooner and Sophia Spooner (nee Gunton) and they had married at St. Peter Mancroft church in April 1807.

Edward is listed on Alfred’s baptism record as being a straw manufacturer, although I’m not entirely sure what that entailed, with Sophia being a bonnet maker. I can’t be certain, as there are multiple names, but I suspect Edward had been baptised in the same church on 29 August 1784, himself the son of Edward Spooner and Eliza Springale. Edward (Alfred’s father) died at the age of just 49 and was buried at St. Peter Mancroft church on 3 June 1834.

Alfred died on 21 August 1840, at the age of 27 years old. Unfortunately, for the purposes of my writing this post, this means that he didn’t appear on the first national census which took place in 1841. At this point, his mother was still alive though (now aged 60), living on Day’s Yard in St. Peter Mancroft, which was also called Day’s Court. This yard has long since gone, it’s now pretty much under the treasury counters in Norwich City Hall. She lived with Hannah Bensley, aged 65, and Matilda Stratford, aged 14.

And, that’s as much as this story as I can find. I don’t know what happened to Alfred during his life. Sophia, Alfred’s mother, died in 1860, having moved to Lakenham to live with the Chittock family, with Hannah Chittock being Edward and Sophia’s daughter. Hannah (so Alfred’s sister) and Timothy married in St. Peter Mancroft church on 8 March 1837.

So, using my imagination a bit here. The burial of Alfred took place at Rosary Cemetery, at that time still relatively empty, and was likely attended by his mother Sophia, his sister Hannah and his brother-in-law Timothy, amongst others. It might have been a communal effort to pay for the gravestone, as it’s a nice one which has lasted well. The family had gone through the sadness of Alfred’s father dying in 1834, the excitement of Alfred’s sister’s wedding in 1837 and then this sadness in 1840. Quite why Alfred died at such a young age, I sadly don’t know….