The Lubbock family burial ground was initiated in 1916 when Alice Lubbock decided to create a more elaborate memorial to her husband John. She had his body exhumed and transferred to a consecrated plot in family owned woodlands about 100 yards from St Giles churchyard.

Between then and 1980, a number of family members were buried there, although not everyone who has their name on a monument actually is interred on the site (for example Harold and Eric are buried in British war cemeteries near where they were killed). From the 1930s no new graves were created. Instead, deceased family members were buried within existing tombs – most often under the Celtic cross which was John Lubbock’s grave. Their presence was marked by inscription on the sides and base of the cross. These can still be viewed today.

The former burial ground  The site today (see below) 

The shape of the burial ground was hexagonal as shown in the photo, and the below diagram. Surrounding it was a chain link fence with 12 white wooden posts. At the north and south end were two wrought iron gates. A path led to the graveyard from the field just south of St Giles and another led from it going down towards the gatehouse lodge in Shire Lane. By the 1960s the cemetery had become a place of peaceful contemplation. The ground was grassed over and well-kept. At one side there was a small bench where one could sit looking inwards.  The layout of the ground is illustrated below.

Removal of the Cross

In 1986, or thereabouts, Bromley Council decided to move some of the memorials into the main St Giles churchyard. It is understood that they were concerned that they were hard to maintain and keep from vandalism where they stood.

Graves 2, 3 and 6 on the diagram above were moved into the St Giles churchyard. Bromley Council sold off 5 (the aeroplane monument) to a stone mason’s yard in Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire. The base remains of 1 and 4 are still on the site although the blocks have been broken up. The top of 4 lies in two pieces embedded in the ground just north of the base.
Gravestone remains still in High Elms woodland   The Cross now in St. Giles churchyard   

The process by which this transfer took place is rather opaque – obscured by history one might say.  Bromley claim to have lost all correspondence relating to the matter and no one in the Lubbock family had any knowledge that it was happening at the time.

What has emerged since (in 2014) is that the Lubbock family still own the cemetery, a fact that at the time was not known to them. The London Borough of Bromley have since tidied up the site. They have converted one of the graves into a rectangular railed off spot marking the approximate centre of the cemetery. There were moves to create some more elaborate markers together with more detailed signage but these were eventually shelved – presumably for lack of funds.

Return of The Aeroplane

Twenty plus years later, it was possible at some expense, to recover the stone aeroplane. This has now been placed in the walled BEECHE centre at High Elms to allow it to be better protected.


The Rev Matthew Hughes performed a rededication ceremony which cemented the return of the tomb in the minds of the family.

Now the family are considering whether the site can be improved. Consultations with Bromley, St Giles, the wider family etc. are underway and any parishioners who have thoughts on the matter would be welcome to have their say - via the church.    

This summary has been abridged from an article written by Lyulph Lubbock, now 5th Baron Avebury, in Nov 2015.

The full article is Available Here



The death of Eric Lubbock

Eric Reginald Lubbock, the 4th Baron Avebury, and former MP for Orpington, died the morning of 14th February 2016 of a type of blood cancer.

This article is a brief look at his life by his son Lyulph, now the 5th Baron Avebury,  and an account of how he was connected to the church of St Giles the Abbot at Farnborough.

Eric Lubbock obituary

Eric was buried in the family graveyard in a small private ceremony on the 21st of February. This was conducted with Buddhist rites and chanting monks, which drew a few curious glances from walkers passing through. Some of you will have noticed that work on restoring the plot has begun and eventually we hope to install a headstone when the soil settles. Two benches have been put in for passers-by and we hope to have some explanatory signage put in shortly.

     Eric, outside Parliament 1964

Recently we have become closer to St Giles and I would like to think we are now friends of the Church. Matthew and your parish clerk, Liz Diamond, have both been very helpful to us during the arrangements for Eric’s funeral, and everything consequently went very smoothly on the day.

Lyulph Lubbock


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