People of Interest

People of Interest

Every person buried had a story to tell. Most are long forgotten but, over time, we will add some of the stories that we can find. As it is the centenary of WW1 and because we've been able to use Lottery funding to restore the fallen memorials to those who died in that conflict, we've started there. Most of the research has been done by Dorothy Barker with some material gathered by Carol Cowling at an earlier stage.

Please have a look at these family stories.

We then branched out and included soldiers who fought in the Crimean War, a young sailor drowned in a naval disaster, the Walker family and many more stories.

If you'd like to help or have stories to share of families buried in our churchyard, please contact us.

Lightcliffe has many links to the Foster family of Black Dyke Mills, Queensbury. The prime one is that one branch of the family, Johnston Jonas Foster, lived at Cliffe Hill and built the new St Matthew's parish church. His brother, John, lived for a time at Holroyd House, Priestley Green.

We will be adding more articles about J J Foster soon. The first article describes the links between Lightcliffe and southern Shropshire with both the Foster family and that of Sir H W Ripley who once lived at Holme House.

Download this file (Shropshire connection.pdf)Shropshire connection.pdf344 kB

An extended family with strong links to the churchyard. This takes in Denmark Farm (Halifax Old Road) and Shibden Hall in the time of Ann Walker.

Daphne is hoping that the article(s)  either on our website or via a Calderdale FHS magazine may bring her some more information about related families. The article mentions links to relatives already on our PoI page e.g. the Manns, the Naylors including Crimean Dragoon Guard Joseph Naylor and the Armytages including Edward Armytage's  illegitimate son William Edward Armytage Axon .  Other family surnames include Rastrick, Cordingley and Ripley.  And then there is that detail  about a Shuttleworth relation, a manager for Messrs T.F.Firth & Co, going to the USA to start up a carpet factory. 

Download this file (William Rushworth.pdf)William Rushworth.pdf316 kB

We are introduced to a branch of the Pickles family and other local families. A Lightcliffe sexton, local landowners and a more American connections.

This is the story of an Army engineer who was stationed in the area during the Second World War who was accidentally killed in 1941 on Wakefield Road.

We are delighted to have this article researched and written by Sidney Ellis's 3 x great grand-nephew, Andy Ellis.

Download this file (Sidney Ellis of Lightcliffe.pdf)Sidney Ellis of Lightcliffe.pdf1418 kB

These stories started with a look at Alfred Wood M.M. and grew as had the Wood families. One of the family, Herman, was quite a well known artist. We've included some paintings in the 4th article below.

Another complicated history of interrelated families. One a lady's maid to Anne Lister and landlords of three local pubs.

Two families and the story of an early laundry. There's also a lovely link to a bible which is now in our possession.

The Armytages were an extended family with several burial spots. One of which is our largest chest tombs, near to the front corner next to Till Carr Lane. The family owned, for some years, Holme House just down Wakefield Road and Green House which was sold to Ann Walker and is where the current church stands.

In the middle of the old part of the churchyard there are 5 beautifully carved gravestones belonging to this family.

We've a number of Robinson families, here's one of them. A very extensive family living across our area and beyond and pursuing a variety of trades. Typical of our area in a way, Halifax was described as 'a town of a hundred trades'.

This is as far as we can go during Coronavirus lockdown. If you have any further information about him or the school at that period, please get in touch.

Download this file (Headmaster Middleton Scales.pdf)Headmaster Middleton Scales.pdf1080 kB

John Smith came down from Scotland to be the land agent for Evan Charles Sutherland Walker, designed the National School and administered the very large estate.

Download this file (John Smith and family.pdf)John Smith and family.pdf1953 kB

There had been a problem researching Arthur Naylor as you will find when you read about him.

They have done what they could - is his epitaph.

Download this file (Private Arthur Naylorv2.pdf)Private Arthur Naylorv2.pdf1633 kB

Joiners & barometer makers living close to Shibden Hall.

Download this file (The Howorth family.pdf)The Howorth family.pdf1663 kB

These family stories begin with some of our earliest burials and show how, in our small community, many families were related.

Download this file (The Swains and Hattons.pdf)The Swains and Hattons.pdf1925 kB

This story started sometime ago when Daphne Eyres, a distant relation of James Hinscliff, made contact with the Friends. When James became a character in the BBC/HBO Gentleman Jack series, Dorothy did some further research. So 2 stories from different perspectives.

This is the story of the Sowden family which includes links with Anne Lister, Ann Walker and even the Brontes. Please read them in the order below.

The stories also include the Collins families of Hove Edge and Canada.

Samuel Washington was the land agent for Ann Walker at Cliffe Hill and then became, as well, steward for Anne Lister at Shibden Hall.

These form a series of articles on the Watkinsons who were major benefactors in our area. We suggest that they are read in the order below starting with Samuel Lord Watkinson whose memorial is one of the first to be seen when you enter from Till Carr Lane.

The several sections are really a single story but we have to split it into sections because of the website software. We've also included an article on the Sutherland Soldiers.The family had dropped the Walker part of their surname.

There is also an article which gives an overview of the families' estates and another on where they were buried. This has now been expanded as more information has come to light.

Midshipman Alfred Ripley died at sea at the age of 18 just 4 days after transferring to an experimental warship. Over 450 died and only a small number survived. His parents and family lived locally at the time.

The second article was written by Keith Pybus an author living in Shropshire close to where the Ripley family moved to. It contains a much better picture of HMS Captain than I'd found. We made contact when I read an article written by him in a magazine and contacted him because his unusual surname matched two young men from Lightcliffe who died in WW1 and are remembered on a headstone to the north of the tower.

The third article, also filed under The Fosters, tells of the Ripley family moving to Shropshire.


From just before the old church replaced the former Eastfield Chapel to the mid Victorian period there were 3 priests associated with the church - Rev Rich Sutcliffe, Rev Robert Wilkinson & Rev William Gurney.

Download this file (incumbents3.pdf)incumbents3.pdf136 kB

In a small community reserch into one family quickly merges into another. These three stories all started with a gift to the Friends of a prayer book and hymnal. Please read them in the order Francis William Bradley, Fanny Sharp and then little Sharp Shooter.

In amongst this we have found another soldier on service in the mid 1800s, this time in India. Amazing that 4 men from Lightcliffe were serving as far away as the Crimea and India.

Download this file (Henry Birkett Flather.pdf)Henry Birkett Flather.pdf1096 kB
Download this file (Private William Flather.pdf)Private William Flather.pdf1958 kB
Download this file (Private Edgar Sharpe.pdf)Private Edgar Sharpe.pdf1486 kB
Download this file (Private Roland Walker.pdf)Private Roland Walker.pdf976 kB
Download this file (Gunner Joe Lumb Brook.pdf)Gunner Joe Lumb Brook.pdf1243 kB
Download this file (Major Reginald John Sowerby.pdf)Major Reginald John Sowerby.pdf1528 kB
Download this file (Private Robert Brownrigg.pdf)Private Robert Brownrigg.pdf1360 kB
Download this file (Sergeant Christopher Kershaw.pdf)Sergeant Christopher Kershaw.pdf1708 kB
Download this file (guestwill.pdf)guestwill.pdf682 kB
Download this file (guestpt1.pdf)guestpt1.pdf137 kB
Download this file (guestpt3.pdf)guestpt3.pdf128 kB
Download this file (Private Samuel Sharp.pdf)Private Samuel Sharp.pdf289 kB
Download this file (Dragoon Guard Joseph Naylor.pdf)Dragoon Guard Joseph Naylor.pdf1560 kB
Download this file (Lance Corporal Joe Holt.pdf)Lance Corporal Joe Holt.pdf1498 kB


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The postcode for the churchyard (for sat navs) is HX3 8TH.

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