Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1913.
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LXXIV.—THE MORAVIAN BURIAL GROUND.
The property belongs to The Moravian Church Trustees.
General description and historical notes.
The story of the Moravians, their rise and persecution, their missionary zeal and religious discipline, would fill many volumes. Starting with the life and death of John Huss and the foundation of the Unitas Fratrum in 1373, following their expulsion from Moravia and Bohemia in the 16th century, we could trace the pathetic history of their trials until they found a safe refuge on the estates of Count Zinzendorf at Bertholdsdorf in Upper Lusatia. Henceforward, the settlement there was to be their headquarters, and Herrnhut is still the centre of their organisation and the home of their archives.
The Moravians, who have disavowed the title of "Dissenters," (save from "Popish dogmas and practice"), and have declared their Church to be "one in all essential points with the other Protestant Churches of Christendom," have been received with favour in England, and were granted a licence by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1742, although he said they did not need one. Count Zinzendorf was ordained Bishop of the Moravians soon after his return from his first visit to England in 1737. In 1750, as we have already seen, he purchased Lindsey House (q. v.), and with it the grounds of Beaufort House, as a Moravian settlement. He employed an architect named Sigismund Gersdorf to build the Chapel and Minister's House, which still stand in the Burial Ground, and which were completed by Lady Day, 1753.
The Burial Ground occupies the site of the stable yard of Beaufort House, and the Chapel replaced the stable buildings. The grounds are still enclosed on the east and south by the walls of Tudor brickwork, raised, we may with little doubt conclude, by Sir Thomas More. The plans for the settlement came to nothing, but even after Lindsey House had been given up (1770) the Chapel and Burial Ground continued in use, and the latter, being specially exempted from the Act for closing London cemeteries (1855), can still receive interments. The plot is divided into four portions, for married and unmarried men and women. Several men, famous in this community, have been buried here, including:— (fn. 1)
Count Henry, the 73rd of Reuss, friend of Zinzendorf; Christian Renatus, son of Zinzendorf; Petrus Boehler, bishop and missionary; James Hutton, the founder of the Fetter Lane Chapel; Benjamin La Trobe, son of the Rev. C. J. La Trobe; James Gillray, sexton, father of the caricaturist.
In the Council's ms. collection are:—
(fn. 2) The Burial ground and minister's house (photograph).
The Chapel (photograph).
The Turberville stone (photograph).
The Nunak stone (two photographs).
Stone water trough (photograph).
Stone relics (photograph).
Tudor wall (three photographs).