In remembrance of Mary

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Following its 150th anniversary, Memory Lane readers may recall our feature last year on the founder of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Mary Tealby, who spent the final years of her life in Biggleswade and is buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard.

Restoration work on her memorial has now been completed. So on October 2, 2012 - the eve of the anniversary of Mary’s death - Clare Horton, chief executive of the famous Battersea home came to Biggleswade to lay a wreath on her grave. She was photographed by Ken Page who also attended the ceremony.

Divorcee Mary Tealby founded Battersea Dogs Home in a mews stable between the Caledonian and Holloway Roads after she was moved by the plight of so many stray and unwanted dogs wandering the streets.

Unfortunately Mary died in 1856 and never lived to see the home move to its current location in Battersea in 1871. In 1883, it started taking in stray cats also.

When she became terminally ill with cancer, Mary came to Biggleswade to live out her last days with cousins Mr and Mrs Robert Weale at The Elms (now demolished) which was situated on the corner of Dells Lane and London Road.

Mary’s grave can be found in a secluded corner of the churchyard behind the Chapter House and is inscribed ‘Mary Tealby widow born December 30th 1801 – Died October 3rd 1865.’

Buried next to her is her brother, Rev Edward Bates who was the first Battersea Dogs & Cats Home treasurer and died in Sandy.