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The below image has been cropped from the Burial Record (found at Ancestry.com) of my 5th great grandfather John Smyth who was buried at Bunhill Fields Burial Ground (London, England) on 23 Jan 1806.

The column on the right hand side records that he was brought from Hoxton Square.

What is the term "brought from" likely to indicate in this context?

enter image description here

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    FindMyPast has "City of London Burials 1754-1855 Transcription" (no images) and their field that contains the value "HOXTON SQ" is labeled 'Address'. If this were a 20th century record I would check the funeral home records, but I don't know the burial customs of this time period. But 'brought from' suggests to me the address at which the body was immediately before burial. search.findmypast.com/…
    – Jan Murphy
    Jun 8 '14 at 2:59
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For a different London cemetery in a slightly later period I found:

  • Brought From - The place of death; could be hospital, hospice or home address.

My first thought was that Hoxton Square might be where he had been residing so I checked Land Tax Records on Ancestry.com.

I found that John Smyth was living in Holywell Street (now called Shoreditch High Street), which is within a few hundred metres of Hoxton Square, for at least the years 1786-87, 1797-98, 1800-02 and 1804-06. During the last 2-3 of those years the heading in the records book (a few rows above his name) which had earlier been Holywell Street was replaced by just Street.

I suspect that some confusion over street (re)naming may have led to whoever brought his body to Bunhill Fields deciding to use the nearest well known landmark (thought to be one of London's oldest squares) rather than his home address.

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  • Of course, he may not have died at home.
    – user104
    Jun 9 '14 at 6:25
  • @ColeValleyGirl At that time and location, if someone were to drop dead a few hundred metres from home, or even to die in a hospital or hospice a few hundred metres from home, do you have any thoughts on whether the body would be taken direct to the burial ground, or to lie in state at home for a period? I remember my mother say that my great grandfather who died in Adelaide in April 1943 lay in state at his home for a day or two, and I imagine London in January 1806 would have much less need for refrigeration.
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 9 '14 at 7:25
  • I would imagine a lot would depend on conditions at home -- whether the family were (say) living in one room or were more prosperous. However, it's not a topic I've studied.
    – user104
    Jun 9 '14 at 7:42

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