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I'm attempting to find the burial location of clergyman Edward Brewer Brooks who I know to have died in my house in 1901 (in the UK).

I can trace his entire career through Crockford's Clerical Directory, and I know his last "assignment" was in Hoby with Rotherby, in Leicestershire (UK), but I'm struggling to find where he is now. I've gone so far as to wander around all the local graveyards, thinking he might be in some prominant location, but to no avail. (I've also contacted the local council for his last parish, but they were unable to provide much help.)

I've a couple of questions:

  • When a clergyman dies, are there any conventions as to where he would be buried? Would he always be buried in his most recent parish, or would he be shipped back to his hometown? (I'm considering a parish to be akin to a "work placement", but that might be an unfair way to look at it.)
  • Are there any directories that list final resting places of clergymen, as there for detailing their working life. (I'm suspecting not - I'm clutching at straws... )
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    Probably a silly question, but have you checked on Deceased Online? Nov 19 '17 at 20:11
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    I would imagine that the local newspapers would record the death and funeral arrangements for a local clergyman.
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 19 '17 at 21:28
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    I can't see an obvious burial record for Edward, but if you can find out where his wife was buried, there's a chance he'll be there too. Or he could be in a family plot somewhere, so look for his father and mother too. Edward's probate record on Ancestry says "of Sileby near Loughborough" which matches the 1901 census. But the Sileby parish cemetery records don't show Edward or his wife, so they are probably elsewhere.
    – AndyW
    Nov 20 '17 at 9:32
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I can't find anything in the local newspapers, though did find one mention in a newspaper from a different part of the country noting his death. His wife died 26 years later in a different part of the country - Bournemouth, which he'd never worked in. Digging further, his father was an independent minister for the Zion Chapel in New Sleaford, near to where Edward was born. I don't know enough about the Church to know whether a Church of England clergyman could be buried with his Zionist minister father... That's the next bit of fun! Nov 20 '17 at 10:33
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    Another suggestion, albeit a bit of a long shot and at a £10 cost: order the will from probatesearch.service.gov.uk. Although Edward died in 1901, you'll find him indexed in 1906 when his will was proved. There's a (smallish) chance that it states where he'd like to be buried...
    – AndyW
    Nov 20 '17 at 11:18
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Shipping the body back to the home village is a possibility, as you can see in the related question What records might be created in England when people are re-interred?.

In his book talk The Forgotten Irish: Irish Emigrant Experiences in America, author Damian Shiels talked about Civil War Veterans being shipped home to Ireland from the United States. (Video on YouTube) During the same week, Findmypast presented a webinar where they talked about how the Irish felt strongly about being buried at home, and how bodies would be shipped long distances in order to achieve this. If your clergyman had been Irish, starting at home would be a good bet.

"Directories that list final resting places of clergymen" is exactly the sort of thing that someone might publish on a website or in a book, so I won't say not to look for such things. But I think you need to take a step back and consider -- if you or someone else were compiling such a work, where would the information come from? Those are the materials you need to investigate to find the information you want. In addition to specialty sites like Find a Grave or Deceased Online, look for:

  • historical newspapers (try The British Newspaper Archive)
  • compilations of obituaries, sometimes called Necrologies (ex. Necrology of Alumni of Harvard College and Yale Obituary Record)
  • records of the diocese that might have correspondence relating to the shipment of the remains elsewhere
  • Church of England periodicals
  • Church of England publications such as yearbooks (summaries of events of the previous year)
  • books of funeral sermons might provide indirect evidence that would help you narrow down the date of burial

Start with a wide search and narrow it. You might have more luck searching for (and easier access to) materials about people who went to his college than you would getting at internal Church of England correspondence. However, don't neglect libraries and archives that have collections of Church of England materials, such as Lambeth Palace Library.

Look for histories about Leicestershire's parishes, and whatever publications you find, pay special attention to the bibliographies, to see what source materials the authors used.

If you find a history that seems promising, but doesn't give you an answer, search for other books with the same subject in the catalog to get other candidates to search.

If you can find the name of someone who is a historian for that diocese, you could ask the historian for source material you might have missed.

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    Great - thank you. There's a lot to go on there! I'll take a look through everything you've suggested and see what new information it throws up. Nov 20 '17 at 10:39
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I can't see an obvious burial record for Edward, but if you can find out where his wife was buried, there's a decent chance he'll be there too. Or he could be in a family plot somewhere, so you could look for his father and mother too.

Edward's probate record on Ancestry says "of Sileby near Loughborough" which matches the 1901 census. The residence location in a probate record is generally the place of death unless stated otherwise. But the Sileby parish cemetery records don't show Edward or his wife, so they are probably buried elsewhere.

Another suggestion, albeit a bit of a long shot and at a £10 cost: order Edward's will from probatesearch.service.gov.uk. Although Edward died in 1901, you'll find him indexed in 1906 when his will was proved. There's a (smallish) chance that it states where he'd like to be buried.

One more option, perhaps, is to contact his last church directly. They may have records with information about Edward's burial or transfer elsewhere.

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  • Just to follow up with this, I got my hands on his will, and unfortunately it didn't say where he was buried. Very useful nonetheless. The most interesting part was learning that one of his sons was the paymaster on HMS Edgar, which has opened a whole new can of worms... Dec 10 '17 at 18:32
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The Index To Death Duty Registers 1796-1903 at FindMyPast gives the residence of Edward Brewer Brooks at the time of his death on 11 May 1901 as being Loughborough.

You may already know this but, if not, it may provide you with another search term.

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  • Thanks for taking the time on this. I'm just outside Loughborough now, yes. But it's made me think that perhaps he could have been shipped to one of the larger, more central churches in the main town, so I'll definitely follow up. Nov 20 '17 at 10:35

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