Male portrait placeholder image

Name: Oliver Holden

Burial Number: 1339

Gender: Male

Occupation: Carpenter; Clerk and Sexton; Fruit Grower;

Born: 00/12/1843

Died: 20/03/1928

Buried: 24/03/1928


Oliver Holden was Verger and Parish Clerk at St Botolph’s for fifty years. He took part in the celebrations, in September 1923, of the Golden Jubilee of St Botolph’s Church – also his Jubilee Year.
He was a skilful Carpenter and Joiner and made the vestry furniture, the Litany desk and the alms boxes.
He also laid out the Cemetery, where he was buried on 20th March 1928, and where he had assisted at over 1100 funerals. He served under three Rectors, Rev. Henry McLeod Beckles, Rev. Edgar Lambert and Rev. J P Fallowes.
He boasted that he had never missed, or been late for a service, except for two short intervals when he was ‘confined to his bed through illness’. He retired in October 1923 and was presented with a ‘handsome timepiece’.
He was born in Salvington, then a Parish of West Tarring, son of John and Frances Holden. John, who was also born in West Tarring, was a Shoemaker and Oliver was the eldest of five children. In 1861 Oliver was an Apprentice Coachbuilder and Mother Frances a General Shopkeeper.

He married Caroline, born in London, in Worthing in 1869 and she died in 1890, aged 46. She is also buried in the Cemetery.
In 1881 Oliver, Caroline and four children were living at Station Street, Broadwater, and he was a Carpenter. By 1891, Oliver, now widowed, was still in Station St., but by then a Master Builder and Employer. His eldest child, Edward, was a Florist.
He started in business on his own account as a Builder and erected over 100 houses in different parts of the town, but mainly in Tarring Road – 31 on the north side and 21 on the south – and in Station Rd., Ashdown Rd. and Lyndhurst Rd..
By 1901 Oliver was a Fruit Grower, living at Brooklands, Tarring Road, with daughter Clara as his Housekeeper.
In a 1905 Street Directory his home, Villa St Botolph, was next door to Elm Grove Nurseries.
In 1911 he was living at Villa St Botolph with wife Mary Ann (nee Reeves), 20 years his junior. They were married in 1910. Clara was still single and living with them.
Mary Ann Reeves was previously a Servant in the household of the Rev Beckles’ widow and family in St Botolphs Lodge.
Oliver was living at Villa St Botolph when he died. He was described in an obituary in the local paper as one of the oldest members of the ‘Victoria’ Lodge of Oddfellows.
His funeral was conducted by the Rector, the Rev J P Fallowes, assisted by the Rev L S Bull.

Oliver and Caroline’s son, Edward, was a Gardener and Nurseryman, living with wife Sarah, who was born in Liss, at 34 the Drive, West Worthing in 1901 and in 1911.

1922 – Oliver Holden entered his 50th year as verger of St Botolphs. He could remember when the parish consisted chiefly of meadows and market gardens. Heene Terrace had been built, but with the exception of the manor house and a few thatched cottages here and there, the district west of Park Crescent to Goring was entirely devoid of houses. Heene Road was a narrow country lane lined with hedges and ditches on either side, leading up from the sea to Tarring Road. Mr Holden, a wheelwright, was also a skilled carpenter who made the vestry furniture, litany desk and almsboxes when St Botolphs was built. He laid out Heene Cemetery and, as sexton, attended 1100 funerals plus 576 weddings.

Edward died in 1929, Sarah in 1928, and they are buried with Oliver and Caroline in Heene Cemetery.

Researcher: Liz Lane

The Grave

Photograph of headstone for Oliver Holden

Location in Cemetery

Area: NB Row: 6 Plot: 1

Exact Location (what3words): giant.meant.corn

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


In loving memory of Caroline Elizabeth wife of Oliver Holden who entered into rest Novr. 25th 1890 aged 46 years. Also of Oliver Holden passed peacefully away March 20th 1928 aged 84 years. "The memory of the Just is Blessed"

Further Information


Name: Oliver Holden

Gender: Male

Born: 00/12/1843

Town: Salvington

County: Sussex

Country: England


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: 10/4/1869

Spouse First Name: Caroline

Spouse Second Name: Elizabeth

Spouse Last Name: Lucas

Town of Marriage: Broadwater

County of Marriage: Sussex

Country of Marriage: England

Marriage Date: 29/3/1910

Spouse First Name: Mary

Spouse Second Name: Ann

Spouse Last Name: Reeves

Town of Marriage: East Dean

County of Marriage: Sussex

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 20/03/1928

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: Villa St Botoloph

Address line 3: Elm Grove

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


Wednesday March 21 1928

Fifty Years a Verger – Death of Mr Oliver Holden

The death occurred yesterday afternoon at his West Worthing residence, Villa St. Botolph, in his 85th year, of Mr. Oliver Holden, who for half a century held the position of Verger and Parish Clerk at St Botolph’s Church.

A native of Salvington, Mr Holden had known Worthing from its earliest days. Originally apprenticed to a wheelwright, he made himself a very efficient carpenter, and when Heene Church was built he made all the vestry furniture, Litany desk, and almsboxes.

Starting in business on his own account as a builder he erected over 100 houses in different parts of the borough, chiefly in Tarring Road (31 on the north side and 21 on the south) Station Road, Ashdown Road, and Lyndhurst Road. In more recent years he showed his adaptability by joining the ranks of the local market growers.

A Remarkable Record – During the fifty years that he held the post of Verger at Heene he served under three Rectors, the late Rev. Henry Mc.Leod Beckles, who died in 1892; the Rev. Edgar Lambert, who held the living for just over two years, and the present Rector, the Rev. J.P. Fallowes, and it was his proud boast that, with the exception of two short intervals when he was confined to bed by accidents, he had never missed or been late for a service.

On his retirement in October 1923, he was presented with a handsome timepiece.


Mr Oliver Holden – Buried in Heene Cemetery which he laid out.

The funeral of Mr Oliver Holden, for 50 years verger at St Botolph’s Church, Heene, and on of the oldest members of the “Victoria” Lodge of Oddfellows, took place on Saturday afternoon, the internment being in Heene Cemetery, which he personally laid out 55 years ago and where he had officiated as verger at more than 1,100 funerals during the half century that he was officially connected with the church.

Th first part of the burial service took place at St. Botolph’s, and was conducted by the Rector (the Rev. J.P. Fallowes), assisted by the Rev. L.S. Bull; and as the coffin was carried from the Church the Organist (Mr. A. Boyce) played Mendelssohn’s “O Rest in the Lord.”

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £46383 3 s 3 d

Current value of effects: £2124000.00

Census Information


Salvington Village, Sussex

John aged 29, shoemaker. Frances aged 40. Oliver aged 7. William aged 4. Thomas aged 3. Thomas Johnson aged 22, lodger, ag lab. James Johnson aged 20, lodger, ag lab. Joseph Johnson aged 16, lodger, ag lab.


Salvington Village, Sussex.

John aged 39, shoemaker. Frances aged 50, general shopkeeper. Oliver aged 17, apprentice coach builder. William aged 14, errand boy. Thomas aged 12. Fanny aged 8. Anna aged 6.


5 Station Road, Broadwater, Worthing.

Oliver aged 27, carpenter. Caroline aged 27. Caroline aged 1.


72 Station Street, Broadwater, Worthing.

Oliver aged 37, carpenter. Caroline aged 37. Caroline aged 11. Edward aged 8. Clara aged 5. Ellen aged 3.


72 Station Road, Worthing.

Oliver aged 47, widower, master builder. Caroline aged 21. Edward aged 18, florist. Clara aged 15. Ellen aged 13. Mary Holden aged 6, niece.


“Brooklands” Tarring Road, Worthing.

Oliver aged 57, widower, fruit grower. Clara aged 25, housekeeper. Ellen aged 23, housekeeper.


Villa St Botolph, Elm Grove, Worthing.

Oliver aged 67, fruit grower. Mary Ann aged 45. Clara aged 35.


Miscellaneous Information

Worthing Gazette 1910

“Let’s talk of graves!” was the cheery invitation of that passionate and impulsive Monarch, Richard the Second; and if there is any man locally who is qualified, next to Mr John Stoner, to discourse upon that enlivening topic, it is assuredly Mr. Oliver Holden.

For nearly seven and thirty years, dating from the day of consecration of St. Botolph’s Church, on the 29th September, 1873, he has occupied the position of Clerk and Sexton, and he officiated this Saturday at the six hundred and thirty seventh internment in the Heene Burial Ground – a place of sepulture that is so limited in extent that the greatest care has to be exercised in the apportionment of space, and none but the wealthiest outside the parochial boundaries can afford to be buried there, inasmuch as a fee of £20 is charged in the case of non-parishioners.