The publication of the first
edition of the book Moorefields Cemetery Records compiled
by Joyce Ormsby. Canterbury and District Historical
Society, 1983 brought an overwhelming response. Among
the letters received was this one from Mr Cant, containing
additional historical information about Moorefields
Church and Cemetery. Mr William Cant is the son of Percy
William Cant who, together with Mr Albert Miller compiled
the burial records we have today. These records
were compiled from memory after fire destroyed the original
records. William Cant's letter is reproduced with
his kind permission.
I had an opportunity to see a copy of your excellent
publication Moorefields Cemetery Records for the Canterbury
and District Historical Society. I must congratulate
you on the meticulous care and detail you have shown
in the compilation of the records. I spent the first
40 years of my life in active involvement with the Moorfields
Methodist Church and held almost every office in the
Church during that period. My father, the late P. W.
Cant, is referred to in your publication (in conjunction
with the late Albert Miller). M y father spent his last
few years, before ill-health prevented him continuing,
almost daily in the Cemetery recording the details of
the graves for Church records. At one stage (during
the 1920’s) he was Cemetery Agent for the Church Trust
and was Trust Treasurer for nearly 30 years.
note that the spelling is given as “Moorefields”, although
it is noted that an earlier spelling was of “Moorfields”.
Those of us who were actively involved always considered
“Moorfields” as the correct spelling. For some reason
the road was spelt with an “e” and the Church “acquired”
the same name as time went on. It was frequently confused
with the Moorefields Racecourse at Kogarah (now defuncta0,
mail intended for Moorfields Church, Lakemba going to
Kogarah and getting lost.
Miller and I, when working on the Centenary Booklet,
gained a lot of information from Mr E Forrester, a descendant
of the Chards, and buried in Section D, 20-22 in June,
1970, aged 96 years. He maintained that the Church was
named after “Moorfields Cottage” (located near the present
Kingsgrove Bus Depot). This cottage was named after
Rev, John Wesly’s London headquarters – Moorfields Foundery
– when he founded the Methodist Church during the eighteenth
century. Moorfields in London is still famous for the
great Eye Hospital and the Insurance Industry.
Forester explained that the Section A.1 in the Cemetery
was originally a driveway for horse-drawn hearses to
enable funerals to get to the back section of the Cemetery,
and in later years when the Cemetery began to fill,
the driveway was surveyed and allotments were made and
sold as burial blocks. The Section was numbered A.1.
also told us that a number of the graves in the back
areas of Sections from about I to L were of aborigines
and convicts and were unmarked and unknown. Although
now actively involved with the Punchbowl Uniting Church
(ex Methodist), I have fond memories of my years at
Moorfields where I began my Church life as a child during
the First World War. Your Cemetery Record is a very
valuable contribution to Church an District history
and deserves congratulations. With kind regards.
W. A. Cant