The March family have been funeral directors in Horsford, Norwich for generations. The earliest written records we hold are from 1840 but we believe that the family business goes back much further. Before that time written word wasn’t as common practice as it is now.
We know that at this time the premises the business was run from was a cottage that housed generations of the March family over the years. It was situated approximately 20 yards from the current premises. Unfortunately, when the Holt road was realigned the cottage was compulsory purchased by the council and demolished so that the road could be made straight in the late 1960’s.
The written records we have start with Jeremiah March (Senior) (born 1801 died 1879). As with most family run funeral directors, he was a wheelwright and carpenter alongside the funeral business. He passed all his skill and trade onto his son Jeremiah March (Junior) (born 1830 died 1909). Jeremiah Junior’s son Harry March (born 1872 died 1939) carried on exactly as his father and grandfather had done before him. Harry’s son Roland Neville March (born 1900 died 1993) took over from him. Roland maintained the wheelwright business as well as the funeral business, he also dabbled in carpentry and built the coffins himself. When Roland first started as the funeral director he would take a coffin to the deceased family’s home and that is where the person would stay until the funeral. That was usual practice at the time. Times soon changed and Roland built a Chapel of Rest in the garden of his own home, this was within the garden of the cottage that was later compulsory purchased and demolished by the council. The land surrounding the cottage remained in Roland’s ownership. He could therefore continue using the Chapel of Rest and with the money from the compulsory purchase, he built a bungalow close by. At this time Roland was conducting around 20 funerals per year. That brings us to Roland’s son, Jerry March, the present day owner. Jerry, whilst helping his father with the funerals when he left school, trained locally as a carpenter and builder. He met Linda, a hairdresser and they got married in 1967. They both worked extremely hard and built their bungalow where both, they and the business, now reside. It was around this time that Jerry and a friend of his decided that they would like to set up their own building company, they did so and also opened up a hardware shop close by. Shortly after, in 1978, Roland retired and handed over the funeral business to Jerry. As there were still only around 20 funerals being conducted a year this wasn’t enough to financially support the growing family, Jerry and Linda now had 2 children, a daughter, Lisa and a son, Adam. The partnership they had in the building and the hardware shop dissolved so Jerry continued with the building and carpentry work alone, with the support of Linda. When Adam left school he joined his father in the trade, also helping with the funerals alongside. All the while Linda was doing the administration for both the building and funeral business’.
The funeral business grew over time, so much so that Jerry now found himself conducting in excess of 100 funerals a year. So Jerry and Linda soon realised that the building business had to take a back step to maintain the high standard of care and attention to detail they had become renowned for within the funeral business. One of the last building jobs they undertook was the building of a home office to support the funeral business. Before this families had been welcomed into their home to make arrangements for a funeral but as the business grew and evolved they had to as well. This is one of the things we believe makes us stand out. Everything we do is within our home. This makes families feel more relaxed and happy that their loved one is in a home environment. The Chapel of Rest is set in our own private woodland which forms part of our garden. We have upheld the traditional values that our forefathers instilled in us.
Adam is carrying on the tradition and is following in his fathers footsteps and is now one of our Funeral Directors alongside Jerry. Lisa has worked within the funeral business helping when she could alongside a full time role in a local car business. She has printed our service sheets and processed wages for us for many years and has recently joined us as a part time administrator too.