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Tales of the Cemetery

Inscription Surveys


The British Cemetery, Lisbon

by John Pead


Part 1: The 1824 Survey


            There have been three surveys covering grave inscriptions in The British Cemetery. These are the 1824, 1943 and present survey being conducted by myself. Each has been varied in its scope and depth, and in three articles over the next few months, I will explore each in turn finishing with my own, partially completed, survey. Each has been extremely important in that all cemetery inscriptions are subject to weathering and damage over the centuries. Therefore any snapshot of what was extant at a certain date can help to restore now lost inscriptions, even identifying graves where records cannot be used to identify the occupant(s).


            We begin with the survey taken in 1824. This was a significant year as it marked the centenary of the first dated headstone in the Cemetery. It also has a story which is interesting in itself.


            In a letter dated 18th November 1825, from Charles Kendall to Sir George Nayler, Garter King of Arms in London, Charles wrote the following:



            Sir George Nayler

            Garter King of Arms





            Till now I have not had a favourable opportunity to transmit to you the Register of Monumental Inscriptions in the British Protestant Burying ground at Lisbon but T. Shiffner Esqr. being so good to charge himself with them to deliver to you. I avail myself of his kindness, and send with them three drawings taken on the spot under my own eyes, of the British Chapel, Deposit House, & part of the Burying ground which I trust you will consider a necessary accompnyment to the Works -

            If you are pleased to consider it requisite to continue the Register, I will very readily send you (say annually ) the Inscriptions that may hereafter be put upon Monuments erected in the ground during the time I may hold my present situation.


                                                I am


                                                         your obedient servt.

                                                                        Charles Kendall


            Samuel Joseph Chambers Kendall was Clerk of the British Episcopal Chapel, and Steward of the British Factory Hospital in Lisbon. He was born on 23rd January 1772. One genealogy I found online says he was born in Huntingdon, England, the son of William Kendall & Frances Chambers but I cannot access the original parish records of Huntingdon to confirm this. However, on 26th December 1802, Samuel married Barbara Rosina Windhurst in Lisbon. The record taken from our registers is as follows:


Samuel Joseph Chambers Kendall, Bachelor & Barbara Rosina Windhurst Spinster were married on the twenty sixth day of December one thousand eight hundred & two by me

                                                                                                            Herbt Hill M.A.


This marriage was solemnized between us Samuel Joseph Chambers Kendal, Bachelor - Barbara Rosina Windhorst Spinster - In the presence of us - Peter Fredk. Windhorst, Mary Windhorst, George Windhorst.


            Samuel & Barbara had 4 children baptised at Lisbon :


13.07.1804      Frances Mary Kendall               Bn: 01.07.1804

12.09.1805      Barbara Matilda Kendall

30.07.1807      William Chambers Kendall       Bn: 12.07.1807

22.04.1812      Charles Treadgold Kendall


            A further son, it is speculated by the same genealogy mentioned above, was born in London, England. This was Samuel Joseph Kendall born on 20th May 1810. This may well be so but I can find no independent record for this birth in London. There is, however, a gap in the Lisbon Baptismal Registers between 1808 and 1811. It is wholly possible that, as baptisms were recorded in Lisbon for this family both in 1807 and 1812, the 1810 birth was also in Lisbon but the record no longer exists. It is also possible that the family left Portugal during the French occupation and did not return until just before 1812.


            The Burial Registers record the following for the family:


16.08.1836      Barbara Rosina Kendall, Aged 52 years

                        [ present survey records death as 15.08.1836 ]


03.08.1843      Charles Treadgold Kendall, aged 31 years, Lisbon

                        [ present survey records death as 02.08.1843 ]


17.11.1846      Chambers Kendall aged 75 years, Lisbon

                        [ present survey records death as 15.11.1846 ]


22.04.1855      Samuel Joseph Kendall, aged 45 years, Lisbon

                        [ present survey records death as 21.04.1855


            This gives a brief review of records we hold for the Kendall family. Now returning to the survey, Samuel sent the work to the Garter King of Arms, Sir George Nayler, in London. The College of Arms is the chief repository of all things heraldic in the United Kingdom. There are three 'Kings of Arms' and the Garter King of Arms is the most senior. George Nayler was originally a painter of miniatures. In 1821 he was made Garter King of Arms. He died in 1831.


            The Survey book has the bookplate of Sir George Nayler in the frontispages:


There are also two labels affixed inside the front cover describing the volume and attributing three large sepia drawings included ( this may have been an auction label ) as being by T. Swallow. These drawings were of the first Chapel, the Deposit House, and part of the cemetery. All of these drawings were framed and are retained in the Parish Rooms. I will address these later in this article.


            The history of the 1824 Survey is interesting in itself. Printed notes, written by the Chaplain and author of the 1943 Inscriptions Survey, Rev. H. Fulford Williams, are placed within the front cover of the 1824 Survey book. I will use these to trace the various journeys of the survey from 1824 to the present day.


            As previously shown, its journey began on 18th November 1825 when Kendall wrote his letter to Sir George Nayler and placed the book and drawings in the care of Mr. T. Shiffner to convey them to the Garter King of Arms in London. It is conjectured that the compilation of this work was personally requested by Sir George Nayler when he visited Lisbon in 1823 to invest the then King of Portugal, Dom João VI with the Order of the Garter. In return Sir George was invested with the Order of the Torre e Espada.

auction labels.jpg

            It seems likely that the survey and drawings therefore went into Sir George Nayler's personal collection as evidenced by his personal bookplate within the cover and there it stayed, Kendall, seemingly, not being asked to submit any further updates to the work.


            After the death of Sir George Nayler on 28th October 1831, the Survey and drawings must have passed into the Cheltenham collection of the english antiquarian, and book collector, Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1st Baronet. This is because the bookplate also bears a Phillipps Manuscript collection number 9764. Phillipps own catalogue of his collection, printed in 1837, has the following entry:


The following are Sir G. Nayler's MSS. from Thorpe.


9764    Monumental Inscriptions in the British Factory Burying Ground at Lisbon, with an autograph Letter of Chambers Kendal, the Collector, & 3 drawings of the Chapel and Cemetery, by S. Swallow. f. ch. s.XiX. 139 pages. [T.22]


In 1938 much of the collection was sold to cover death duties. The following articles from the Cheltenham Chronicle, dated 10th September 1938 and 22nd October 1938, covers the story:



Priceless Manuscripts


Thirlestaine House, a magnificent mansion in Cheltenham, containing one of the most famous and most important private collections of manuscripts, books, prints and pictures in the world, changes hands by the death there on Thursday week of its owner, Mr. Thomas FitzRoy Phillipps Fenwick.

            Through his mother, Mr. Fenwick inherited the almost priceless collection of ancient manuscripts and books that had been assembled at a fabulous cost by his grandfather, the late Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bt., one of the most famous antiquaries of his time, who came of a family long settled at Broadway, Worcestershire.


....... The famous collection came to Cheltenham when Sir Thomas Phillipps, who then lived at Middle Hill, Broadway, bought the property from Lord Northwick. His collection of literary and art treasures was growing, and one of his principal objects in acquiring the great Cheltenham mansion [Thirlestaine House] was in order to house it properly.

            When he died in 1872 he left by his will his famous library and accumulation of art treasures to his daughter, Mr. Fenwick's mother, the wife of the late Rev. John Edward Addison Fenwick, formerly vicar of Needwood, Staffordshire.

            One of the conditions of his will, however, was that no Roman Catholic should ever be permitted to enter the house.


......... Sir Thomas bequeathed Thirlestaine House, the whole library, numbering over 60,000 volumes and manuscripts, his pictures, prints, coins etc., to Mrs. Fenwick, his third daughter, and mother of Mr. Thomas Fenwick.

            Since his death a portion of the manuscripts has been sold periodically for large sums, either by private treaty or by auction. But only the fringe of the vast collection has been touched in this manner, and the most valuable manuscripts remain at Thirlestaine House.

            The great collector's grandson, Mr. Thomas Phillipps Fenwick, who yesterday passed away at the age of 82, had been constant in his care of the treasures in the huge libraries and picture galleries of Thirlestaine House.


.......... In December 1937, Mr. Fenwick presented Cheltenham Public Library with a handsome privately printed catalogue of drawings in the collection at Thirlestaine House.


Mr. T. F. P. Fenwick's Will


Famous Collector

Leaves £53,996


            Mr. Thomas Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick, of Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham, owner of one of the most famous private collections of MSS, books, prints and pictures in the world, who died on Sept. 1 last, aged 82 years, son of the Rev. John Edward Addison Fenwick, formerly vicar of Needwood, Staffs., left unsettle gross estate of the value of £53,996 19s. 9d., with net personalty £50,008 17s.

            Capt. Gilbert Edward Fenwick, of 9 Weymouth street, Portland place, London, nephew, Brig.-Gen. Charles Samuel Owen, of Croesonan, Llangibby, Mon., and Miss Catherine Ella St. Clare Feilden, of Brinkburn, Sidmouth, Devon, niece, are the executors.


            After this date the manuscripts began to be sold off. A Mr. Gilbert, of Lisbon, had given a commission to his bookseller in Paris to look out for any books about Portugal. The sale of the Survey came to this bookseller's notice and Mr. Gilbert informed. Mr. Sellers, the great grandson of Kendall was told and he subsequently successfully purchased the volume plus drawings. Attesting to the sale are two printed descriptions, affixed to the inside cover of the Survey Book which appear to be from a sales or auction catalogue:



            There is a further letter from the librarian of The British Historical Society of Portugal, which succeeded the Historical Association, states that the three drawings were not with the Survey Book when the archives of the Association were passed to the society in 1974. I can now confirm that these must have been retained for display at St. George's Church, within the British Burial Ground as they are still there now, on the walls of the Parish Rooms. At some point it must have been thought correct that the original Survey Book also be returned to the Chaplain.


            This Survey is an invaluable aid to all interested in the extant monumental inscriptions in 1824. Fulford Williams made reference to it in his survey in 1943, and I am indebted to it for my own survey being carried out now. Kendall recorded the full inscription on each monument or headstone and so provides the only full transcript where lettering has worn so badly it can no longer be read or where damage has totally destroyed the inscription. His beautiful handwriting is easy to read and a joy to behold. I will give an example where it has helped me greatly.


            In 1823, Andrew Syme was laid to rest in Section A3 of the cemetery ( my ref: A3.019 ). His headstone is one of the longest inscriptions in the cemetery. Unfortunately, as can be seen from the photograph below, the whole central part of the inscription has come away owing to the material chosen for the stone.

A3.019 i.jpeg

            Before I could only record the words still remaining as Fulford Williams did not usually record complete inscriptions where poetic wording was used. I suspect it may have been damaged even in 1943. However now the whole inscription can be revealed. In the transcript below, the words in blue are still extant, but those in black have been completed by using the 1824 Survey transcript. This page is included also below.




To the Memory of


Born at Putney, in the County of

Surrey, England. October 10th 1773

Died at Lisbon ( where he resided

37 years ) June 4th 1823.


Pause Reader. Pause. and banish from thy mind,

Each wish unhallowed, and each thought unkind:

Nor think we bid thee stay to claim thy tear,

For him whose loved remains lie buried here;

No.-him who here rests awhile in deaths calm sleep,

Did never wish that any eye should weep;

His was a feeling heart, a generous mind,

O'er flowing with good will to all mankind:

Though oft, by suffering keen that heart was tried.

As gold by fire from dross is purified,

Five Children a wife beloved & prospects gay,

By adverse fate in turn were swept away;

Health fail'd him next, then droopt his gentle mind

Like pliant willow, bowed by boistrous wind;

Kind Heaven, in mercy, we, the mourners rest,

And called his Spirit thence to make it blest.

      Reader tis not for him we bid the pause.   

Tis for thyself; tis in Religious cause.

For thy part errors heave the contrite sigh.

And Rightious live if thou wouldst Happy die:             

That when thou'st numbered with the mouldring dead.       

Of Thee as well as Him, it may be said,       

It is our consolation, and our pride,

He lv'd belov'd by all by all; by all regretted, died.


Here is the page covering the inscription from the 1824 Survey:

Syme inscription.jpg

The Survey is thus an invaluable document in the history of the British Cemetery in Lisbon and will be preserved for the appreciation of researchers and congregation alike in future ages.


            In the next article I will examine the great work of Rev. H. Fulford Williams in compiling a new survey of inscriptions in 1943.

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