Tucked in the northeast corner of the graveyard at All Saints’ Church in the village of Turvey is the Higgins Mausoleum. While mid-19th century brick and stone mausoleums are not unusual, this one in northern Bedfordshire, England, is unique for the stark reminder from Psalm 89 written in stone in the balustrade lining the wall: “What man is he that liveth and shall not see death?”
In 1786, Charles Higgins purchased land in Turvey. When he died six years later, he left the Manor of Turvey and Turvey Abbey to a nephew, John. In addition to being a county magistrate, John Higgins was a talented painter (many of his watercolors of the village are held in the County Record Office). John and his wife Theresa, who died in 1846 and 1845 respectively, were the first members of the family to be buried in the mausoleum.
Work began on the Grade II listed mausoleum in 1825, with the first interment occurring in 1845. It has been used since as a family vault for the Higgins and Longuet families, with the most recent interment taking place in 2016. The entrance to the mausoleum is bricked over, with the bricks being removed earth cleared to reveal a set of steps that descend into the mausoleum. After each interment, the entryway is bricked back over and the earth returned.
Know Before You Go
The mausoleum is located in the far northeast corner of the Church Yard. Enter the church yard through the lych gate near the village war memorial, turn right, and walk just past the church.