Following Chesham Cemetery’s decision to double burial fees for people from outside of the Town Council area, Latimer Parish Council wrote to Lord Chesham hoping he might donate some land for a village burial ground. That was in 1902 and the Lord was amenable to the request but due to certain legal requirements and formalities the conveyance of the plot was not completed until March 1905. The land was described at the time as being a garden/orchard of 1 rood and 23 perches in size. The Bishop of Oxford performed a consecration ceremony at the site on 27th January 1906.
Mr H.J.Hills of Tylers Hill was appointed the first gravedigger at a rate of 6/6 per 7 feet deep grave, half price for infant plots. The first person buried was a Mr. George Loten, a licensed victualler, who died aged 62 years at Charing Cross Hospital. He was buried on November 22nd 1906 in a common grave number 231 in the consecrated area behind the church. There are several unmarked common graves in that area, and the nearest memorial is that of Albert and Annie Hardacre, who are buried approximately 2 grave plots to the right of Mr. Loten’s grave. This area is only a few feet in front of the hut.
The councillors soon decided a “Tool House” was required and Jesse Mead’s estimate of £27/10/- was accepted, this price to exclude the cost of the concrete base and brickwork footings. The building was completed by 1907 when the council agreed to settle Mr Mead’s final bill of £28/15/- including some “trestles etc.”
The photo to the left was taken in 1919. It is recorded in Parish Council records that the hut was regularly creosoted to ensure it lasted. It is known that at times burial ground workmen would sleep in this hut, probably on the night prior to a burial and it gave them an opportunity to spend an evening in The Five Bells opposite!
The photo to the right was taken in the summer of 2011 when a great deal of ivy had just been removed from the walls and the roof. Sadly shortly afterwards the rear roof fell off (the ivy had clearly been holding the whole hut together). As the hut had survived over 100 years it was decided to restore it, but the cost of hiring professionals was prohibitive and so a community based volunteer group was formed to rebuild it in their spare time. The Parish Council agreed to pay for materials up to £2,000. It has been restored using identical materials and methods. The frame was generally sound and is 95% original with just new sole plates inserted, the under tile boarding and wall cladding has been totally replaced. As many as possible tiles were re-used. Inside the hut we have retained numerous tools that have used over the past century.
The following residents from Ley Hill were responsible for the restoration:-
Neil Lamond, Cliff Wardle, Richard Pearce, John McManus, Lindsay Faulkner & Mike Appleby. Further assistance was given by Brian Hutchins and John West.