The Wainsgate Graveyard Project has two aims: firstly to record the graveyard – describe its history and development, transcribe the inscriptions on headstones and other memorials, plot the position of the graves, describe and photograph headstones and other memorials, and record the names of everyone interred or commemorated there.

The other aim is to tell some of the stories behind the names and dates: local people and families, Baptist ministers, Sunday school teachers, men who died in two World Wars: a few were wealthy or famous – most were ordinary people who worked in the fields, mills and factories. They all have stories to tell – the history of a community told through its graveyard.

Photo by Charlie Morrissey


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General description of the burial ground – Archive plans from 1849, 1875 & 1905 – The old graveyard – The new graveyard – Plot numbering – History and development of the graveyard – Public and common graves – Chapel graves – Graves & Gravediggers – Natural History – The Sundial.

Transcriptions of inscriptions on headstones and other memorials – Plans showing the position of graves and the names and dates of those interred or commemorated – Index of names of those interred or commemorated.

Headstones, tombs and other graveyard memorials – Memorials in the chapel – Epitaphs – Memorial Masons.

The stories of some of the people interred or commemorated at Wainsgate.

Most of the people interred or commemmorated at Wainsgate were born, lived their whole life and died within a few miles of Old Town. Some were born elsewhere, moved to this area and ended their days interred at Wainsgate. Some people were born locally, moved away, died far from their birthplace but are commemorated at Wainsgate.

The stories of local families – Mitchell, Cousin, Fawcett, Hoyle, Moss, Riley, Appleyard and others.

Richard Smith, John Fawcett, Peter Scott, John Bamber, James Jack and other Baptist ministers who are buried or commemorated at Wainsgate – William Grimshaw and George Whitefield – The Solemn Covenant of Church Communion.

The Ashworth family and others behind Wainsgate’s long tradition of choral and organ music – John Kitchen, composer of hymns, anthems and oratorios.

The men who died in two World Wars who are commemmorated at Wainsgate.

Two refugees who fled Belgium in 1914 are buried at Wainsgate.

Others who served in the armed forces who are interred or commemorated at Wainsgate.

Built by the Hoyle family in 1859 as a textile mill, Acre Mill was taken over by Cape Asbestos in 1939, and produced asbestos rope, pipe lagging and asbestos based textiles until its closure in 1970. It is thought that over 700 people have died, or are yet to die of asbestos related diseases linked to Acre Mill, making it arguably Britain’s worst ever industrial disaster. Some of the victims are buried at Wainsgate.

Between 1850 and 1947, more than 30 people who are interred or commemorated at Wainsgate died in a Workhouse, or Public Assistance Institution as they were later known and at least 12 died in an Asylum or Mental Hospital (as they were then called) between 1877 and 1984.

On 30th October 1920 a charabanc travelling from Pecket Well to Colne crashed just outside Oxenhope. Five people were killed, and were all buried at Wainsgate.

Names – Places – Occupations – Cause of Death.

Photographs and scans of burial registers and other documents, and information about where the original documents can be found.

Publications, organisations and websites consulted while researching this project, and also some that may be of interest to anyone with an interest in burial grounds, memorials, funerary practices and related subjects.