Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Graves of Agnes Smith Lewis and F.J.A. Hort

In a piece I was writing today I mentioned the Sinaitic Syriac and how the Smith sisters were involved in its identification. As the Cambridge connections are obvious I wondered where they were buried. The wonders of Wikipedia quickly informed me that Agnes Smith Lewis was buried in Cambridge at Mill Road Cemetery. I happen to cycle on Mill Road most days on my way into Tyndale House, but had never visited the place (it is set back from the road). On the Wikipedia page of this cemetery it was mentioned that F.J.A. Hort was buried at the same burial grounds! Imagine, cycling past for 22 years without ever taking the time to stop.

So as to beat the winter blues on these short days, I decided to see if I could find their graves. The area is now mainly used for walking and recreation. Some of the stones are heavily overgrown but most are still very accessible. The place has more of the feel of a small nature reserve than the somber atmosphere and formality that cemeteries can have.

With help of the excellent website of the cemetery, it didn't take me very long to identify the two graves. Agnes and Fenton John Anthony are buried only 10 – 15 meters away from one another. I have marked the places on the map.

Both monuments show their age, and especially Hort’s inscription is very difficult to read. You need to know which grave it is; a passer-by would never take the time to try and decipher the fading letters. Perhaps I should take a brush and see if I can clean it up, but weathering is mostly irreversible. In another century or so the stone may have gone completely.
Second line: Anthony Hort 


  1. Cool! Thanks for posting. When can you head over to aukland and get pics of westcott?

  2. That looks like such a peaceful and beautiful spot. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I think you should do a Hort walking tour around Cambridge.

  4. Can't believe I also lived in Cambridge for several years and never found this!

  5. I think you should have someone play epigrapher and take a "squeeze" of the stones to start a new Tyndale House collection!

  6. Thanks for writing that Dirk! You're lucky to have so much history on your side of the world. It is a bit thin down here in NZ

  7. Thank you so much, Dirk.
    For a brief description of the funeral at the Mill Road Cemetary, see "Life and letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort", 1896, vol. 2, pp. 456-7.

  8. "Perhaps I should take a brush and see if I can clean it up..."
    Dirk, if you decide to clean the Hort gravestone, do some research on the kind of stone and the proper way to clean it. We have learned this can make a lot of difference. You should be able to find plenty of information via a web search.


  9. Use Palmolive. Only Palmolive works for such things. ;)