St. Mary's church, Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire.
The extensive graveyard lies beside the lodge at the gate of Hertingfordbury Park, though the church has long been the place of sepulchre for the owners of Panshanger park to the north west. The area before the church has unfortunately been cleared of memorials, many of which have been lined up along the churchyard wall. One Georgian gravestone has the rare feature of a relief carved portrait of the deceased upon it, a fashion more often seen in Scotland than here.
Close to the south porch stand three high backed stone seats, an inspection reveals them to be the battered remains of the C15th sedilia, thrown out of the church when it was rebuilt in the 1890s. A big neo-classical memorial to Rebecca Poor of 1829 towers over a multitude of Georgian and Victorian tombstones, with several later graves bearing Art Nouveau designs. Lady Sarah Cowper’s slick slate sarcophagus of 1719 lies to the east of the chancel, and the big angel turning its winged back on the church from the tree line is to Lady Katrina Cowper, who died in 1913 after overseeing the rebuilding of the church.
The graveyard has been extended far beyond these trees, and at the far corner a massive memorial to Standard Oil heiress Pauline Whitney Paget faces the boundary hedge. This Art Deco temple shelters a statue of a woman and two children, with “Pro patria” written above as if this was a war memorial. The forecourt has incised designs filled with leadwork, showing silhouetted soldiers smoking cigarettes, with the epitaphs written on low side walls, the whole more suited to a municipal cemetery than the corner of a country churchyard.