Next to a road and a large Tesco’s seems like an unlikely place to find a pioneering mapmaker and geographer whose name is known the world over. But the churchyard of St Andrew’s Church, Hove contains the family gravestones of George Everest. Yes, that Everest.
Born July 4, 1790, in either Brecknockshire, Wales, or Greenwich, London, Everest joined the East India Trading Company at the age of 16. He was part of the Great Trigonometric Survey, a project that started in 1802 and finished in 1871, with the aim of mapping the entire Indian Subcontinent. Everest was responsible for surveying some 1,500 miles between India’s southernmost point, all the way north to Nepal. He was an assistant to William Lambton, and replaced him as a superintendent in 1823.
Everest spent 36 years mapping this area of India, and retired and returned to England in 1843.
In 1865, the mountain otherwise known as Peak XV was renamed Mount Everest in his honor by the Royal Geographical Society, to Everest’s initial chagrin. His name was chosen as they couldn’t decide between several local names (Chomolungma in Tibetan and Sagarmatha, now the name of the national park that contains the peak, in Nepalese), but Everest objected, as he had nothing to do with its discovery. (It’s rumored he never even saw the peak.) He also believed his name couldn’t be easily pronounced or written by the locals.
After his death on December 1, 1866, in London, he was interred in the family grave with his two children, who had died in childhood. It is not known what connection the Everest family had with Brighton & Hove, but presumably they chose to put him in that grave so he could be with his family.
Know Before You Go
From the entrance to the church furthest from Tesco, the gravestone is in the third row back from the path, fourth from the left. It is marked with a blue post.
His name appears on some of the Brighton & Hove buses