Norwich – Rosary Cemetery (John Burrows)

This grave at the Rosary Cemetery in Norwich caught my eye because of the use of Roman numerals, which require some thought (well, they do to me) to resolve…. It’s the grave of John Burrows who died on 16 January 1837 aged 78 years old. There are also two other names listed on the other side, also with Roman numerals used, which are Paul Thomas Edwards and Judith Edwards, but more of them anon.

The first burial in the Rosary Cemetery was in 1821, but as the established church didn’t really engage with this non-denominational site there weren’t that many more burials over the next decade. This means that John’s birth of 1758 is probably one of the earliest in the cemetery.

John was born on 30 November 1758 and was baptised on 3 December 1758 at St. James with Pockthorpe Church in Norwich, which is now better known as Norwich Puppet Theatre, and he was the son of John and Mary Burrows.

John was married on 22 October 1780 to Judith Yeomans of Trowse in the same church as he was baptised. They had their first child, again called John, who was born on 4 November 1785 and was baptised two days later, again at St. James with Pockthorpe Church. They had another child, Judith, who was born on 15 May 1791 and baptised seven days later, with no prizes for guessing at which church….

Judith, the wife of John, died at the age of just 42 on 24 June 1804 and was buried at St. James with Pockthorpe Church, yet another event for the family at this particular church.

John died on 16 January and was buried in the dissenters area of the cemetery on 22 January 1837. This is interesting, as something has happened that has made John not want to be buried at the church in which he was baptised, he was married, where his children were baptised and where his wife was buried. Instead, he’s deliberately been buried and listed as a dissenter.

I mentioned at the beginning that on the other side of the grave were the names Paul Thomas Edwards and Judith Edwards, and Judith was John’s daughter and Paul was his son-in-law. They married in January 1833, with John being listed as now living in Thorpe Hamlet and Thomas was working as a lime burner. And more about them in another post.

But, I can’t yet resolve what happened to John between the death of his wife in 1804 and his own burial in 1837, a period where his religious beliefs either changed or he felt able to freely express them. That meant that he ended up being buried along in the Rosary Cemetery until his daughter and son-in-law were buried with him a few decades later. I’m sure that there’s a fascinating story here, but I’m less sure that the documentary record exists to tell me what it is.