Listings and details of noteworthy graves

Portsmouth has a wealth of history and strong military connections, so it is not surprising to find a graveyard with so many interesting stories as Highland Road Cemetery. Amongst those interred are decorated servicemen and women from famous battles, as well as associates of Dickens and royalty.

Thomas Ellis Owen sold the land to the Burial Board for the first phase of the cemetery and when the original architect failed to produce plans, he designed his own and built the lodge, chapels and wall. It is thought that the lodge is a smaller version of his home, Dovercourt, and the Anglican chapel is a smaller version of St. Jude’s Church. His only child, Louisa Ann Byng, is buried here, as well as her first husband Reverend Thomas Richard Brownrigg. The only other cemetery designed and built by Ellis Owen is Ann’s Hill Cemetery in Gosport in 1854.

For further information, email or phone 023 9273 2559.

History of graves at Highland Road cemetery

Below are some of the graves researched and listed by the Friends of Highland Road Cemetery, who welcome any supportive work, research or publicity about the cemetery.

For genealogical searches, contact the Portsmouth History Centre & Records Office at central library.

Recipients of the Victoria Cross (VC)

Buried in this cemetery are eight servicemen who received this highest award during Victoria’s reign. The first three were decorated at the first investiture by the Queen herself in Hyde Park, June 1857. This decoration outranks even the Order of the Garter; it is always awarded individually ‘For Valour’. Made from Russian cannon captured at the siege of Sebastopol, the medal itself is only of bronze.

Highland Road cemetery’s last recipient of the VC was Israel Harding d. 1917 – a gunner of HMS Alexander during the bombardment of the forts of Alexandria in 1882, his bravery earned him promotion to Chief Gunner and the presentation of the Victoria Cross in 1883.

Crimean War veterans

  • Henry James Raby d. 1907 – a Lieutenant with the Navy Brigade at Sebastopol, he rescued a wounded soldier while under heavy fire from Russian guns.  Promoted to Commander for his bravery, he was the most senior officer of the Senior Service at the first investiture and thus the first recipient of the VC
  • Sir William Nathan Wrighte Hewett d. 1888 – an acting-mate on a gun-vessel at the Battle of Inkerman, in many places a hand-to-hand fight, he ignored an officer’s orders to withdraw and won the VC and promotion.  The fifth recipient of the VC, at his death he was Admiral of the Channel Fleet
  • John Robarts d. 1888 – a gunner on HMS Ardent, he volunteered for a successful commando-style raid on an important Russian supply store.

Indian Mutiny Campaigners

  • William Goate d. 1901 – Lance Corporal in the Queen’s Royal Lancers, he showed valour at Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny; he received his VC in 1858.  A headstone was erected on this grave in October 2003
  • Hugh Stewart Cochrane d. 1884 – a Lieutenant in the 86th Regiment, showed outstanding courage during the siege of the fortress of Jhansi.  He received his VC on 1 April 1858.

Veterans of the Land Wars in New Zealand

  • William Temple d. 1919 – Assistant Surgeon in the Royal Artillery at Rangiriri during the Waikato War.  He ignored personal danger at the assault on the Maori fortification.  His investiture took place in 1864 in New Zealand
  • Hugh Shaw d. 1904 – Lieutenant Shaw, who had seen service in the Crimea and in Afghanistan, received his VC in New Zealand in 1865 for his gallant conduct during a skirmish in the Taranaki region.

The Royal Red Cross

Created by Queen Victoria in 1883 as the first order designed solely for ladies, it was to be conferred upon members of the nursing service for their gallantry in the field.

  • Mrs George Fox d. 1888 – she died from the effects of wounds received in the Transvaal in 1880, wounds in spite of which she tended the injured and dying who had been wounded with her.  Although not a nurse, Mrs Fox was, at royal command, accorded a funeral with full military honours.

Other military graves at Highland Road cemetery

  • James Abbott d. 1913 – survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854
  • Four Belgian Soldiers – First World War casualties
  • Father Frederick G Freeley, MC d. 1942 – First World War RC Chaplain – “the Saint on a bicycle”
  • Frederick T Jane d. 1916 – naval correspondent and artist, founder / editor Jane’s Fighting Ships, 1898
  • Wm Johnson d. 1897 – former ‘powder monkey’; memorial by public subscription for his good works
  • Hyacinth Lynch d. 1947 – last survivor of the disastrous Battle of Miawand, Kandahar, 1880
  • Robert C Vernon-Inkpen d. 1916 – member of the Royal Flying Corps which became the RAF.

Graves at Highland Road cemetery associated with Charles Dickens

  • Ellen Wharton Robinson née Ternan d.1914 – actress and mistress of Dickens 1857 to 1870
  • Maria Taylor née Ternand. 1904 – Dickens’ leading lady 1857; became active suffragette
  • Frances Trollope née Ternand. 1913 – opera singer, sister-in-law of Anthony Trollope, sister of the above
  • Sarah Pearced. 1902 – lived in 393 Commercial Road (Dickens birthplace) till her death
  • Maria Winter née Beadnelld. 1886 – Dickens’ first love; model for Dora in David Copperfield
  • Alfred Seale d. 1924 – first Dickens Birthplace Curator; acquired Dickens’ death-couch for the city
  • Sir William Thomas Dupree d.1933 – as Mayor, obtained the Birthplace on Sarah Pearce’s death (qv)
  • Georgina Hayman née Bridges d. 1910 – daughter of Dickens’ solicitor; at 17 was model for Little Dorrit

Other Highland Road cemetery graves of interest

  • Arthur Brickwood d. 1894 – grandson of the founder and Chairman of the famous Brickwood brewer
  • Henry Burnett d. 1899 – memorial only; buried in Dawson City after the Klondike Gold Rush
  • Monsignor John Crookhall d. 1887 – first Roman Catholic Provost of Portsmouth
  • The Dupree Family – founded Portsmouth United Breweries (see also re. Charles Dickens)
  • Mother Emma d. 1920 – active social reformer; deaconess and founder of The Home of Comfort
  • Communal Burial Ground – 24 Sisters of Nazareth who died between 1900 and 1979
  • John Hawkins d. 1885 – one of Conan Doyle’s earliest patients whose sister became the first Mrs Doyle
  • Arthur Eggerton Knight d. 1911 – a Portsmouth footballer who became an English International
  • Martha Linington d. 1908 – left a widow, with a forge and 17 children; she built up the coach-building firm
  • Henry Rutley d. 1874 – circus proprietor responsible for the first theatre on current site of New Theatre Royal
  • Gustave de Battyany-Strattman d. 1883 – Austrian Count; died at a Newmarket race meeting
  • Bishop John Vertue d. 1900 – Portsmouth’s first RC Bishop – popularly called ‘John the Magnificent’
  • Harry Whitman d. 1955 – one of the last inhabitants of Southsea Castle and Keeper of the Light.