Sandstone headstone, 1914
Reason for Listing
The monument to Ferdinand Thomas Barzetti is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: it commemorates a British veteran of the American Civil War, and bears carved imagery relating to the conflict;
*Setting: it is located within the Grade I registered Highgate Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby.
Ferdinand Thomas Barzetti (1836-1914) was born into an artisan family living near Tottenham Court Road, London. He left England in 1871, arriving in New York shortly after the start of the American Civil War. There he joined the Union Army's 13th New York Light Artillery under the name of Thomas Shepherd (apparently assumed in order to prevent his mother learning of his enlistment), with which he fought in the Shenandoah Valley campaign before severe wounds received during the retreat from the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862 ended his participation in the war. He returned to London in 1863, but retained the name of Thomas Shepherd for the rest of his life. After his death, his widow Annie succeeded in gaining a US Federal Pension with the help of the London Branch of American Civil War Veterans, whose emblem of crossed flags adorns his tomb.
Highgate Cemetery was the third of London's 'magnificent seven' burial grounds, a ring of suburban cemeteries established in the 1830s and 1840s to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. It was the creation of the London Cemetery Company, a joint-stock company founded by the architect and engineer Stephen Geary and formally instituted by Act of Parliament in 1836. A seventeen-acre site on Highgate Hill was laid out as a picturesque garden cemetery with a network of serpentine drives, culminating in a monumental catacomb complex at the top of the hill. Geary himself supplied the initial plans, with assistance from the architect JB Bunning and from the landscape gardener David Ramsay. The cemetery, opened in 1839 and extended to the east of Swain's Lane in 1854, enjoyed great popularity and prestige during the second half of the C19 (famous occupants include George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Karl Marx), but lack of money and maintenance led to a severe decline during the C20. Since 1975 it has been run on a charitable basis by the present Friends group.
A simple headstone with a flared Gothic-arched top, adorned with crossed British and American flags carved in bas-relief. The text, in bold leaded lettering, reads: 'IN LOVING MEMORY OF FERDINAND THOMAS BARZETTI, who fought under the name of THOMAS SHEPHERD in the AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. Died February 1914, in his 78th Year.'
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.