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.

Suicides are always sad stories for everyone concerned. Even worse, before an Act of Parliament in 1823 burial was not permitted in the consecrated grounds of a churchyard. Dorothy, starting with two names in a book on Brighouse, has traced four cases of suicides buried in our churchyard.

On a headstone in our churchyard "Reported missing August 30th 1918, aged 19 years." He is remembered here and in Elland.

As we often find, so many of the families in Lightcliffe were interlinked over many generations. Investigating one family often leads to another.

Here, starting with the Carter family who were tenants of Giles House quickly brought connections to the Nicholl family and that of the Radcliffes of Smith House. The latter family were related to the Radcliffes of Milnsbridge who, in turn, sold a large piece of land to Ann Walker in 1836.

Paul, who lives locally, has researched and written an article about Harold Roberts who is buried in the newer part of the churchyard - he died in 1952. He had survived a very difficult childhood with his mother being legally accused of serious neglect. He was a soldier throughout WW1 but was captured and became a Prisoner of War. Dorothy has added further research and these two articles now tell his story.

This was just amazing. A poem sent to us and the link with one of the memorials which was in a sorry state. Now restored and joined with the former Rastrick schoolboy poem.

We've several Hemingway families and this branch has links to a Tomlinson family and a Mosey family. Abraham was a tenant of Anne Lister at Southolm(e) Farm in Southowram. Actually in the Walterclough Valley and near to Sutcliffe Wood Bottom. Rev Sutcliffe Sowden, who would have been a neighbour, officiated at a Hemingway family burial. It's rare that an officiating priest wasn't the curate at St Matthew's which suggests a friendship.

The story goes on with the establishment of a Leeds brewery, a fire in a Bolton theatre and buying a house from the Ripley estate. And even more families! The Appleyards & the Turners.

These 5 articles range across a number of families, some centred on the village of Norwood Green but stretching across to a Moravian Settlement in Derbyshire. Some of the stories are very normal but there's a tragic story of a suicide and of abuse by husband of his wife.

The Sucksmith family of Underhill Farm

The Booth family of Underhill Farm 

The Bancroft family

The Sternwhite family part 1

The Sternwhite family part 2

Michael and Carolyn have been researching their family and an early ancestor is buried by the west wall in the churchyard. So here's this part of the story until the family members moved away.

Hill End Farm in Norwood Green still exists and this is the story of the family that lived there for many years.

The farm, close to the top of Wakefield Road, had many occupants over an extended period of time with links to farming, confectionery, stone quarrying and World War 1. There are even a few international connections.

We know that some significant memorials are no longer in the churchyard. Initially we had thought that we had just not found them, possibly still buried under turf. More evidence now suggests that some chest tombs were removed.

These are the stories behind these missing memorials.

Unexpectedly more soldiers who died in the First World War have been found. The first story involves the Wolfendens of Hove Edge and the sad story of a succession of family deaths. The next is that of Benjamin Crossley who served in the Boer War.

This family saga starts with an early benefactor of the poor, includes an England cricketer, a number of highly suitable marriages and even tells of a recipient of the Victoria Cross. Slead Hall, just as Hove Edge becomes Brighouse, is a common theme for much of the family stories.

Helen Shields, who is part of a group called A Few Forgotten Women, sent us an article about a woman buried in our churchyard. Elizabeth Kershaw had a difficult life in many ways and a tragic death. She was buried in an unmarked grave, B33 near to her parents.

Linking all of these families (and others), the article charts a family history which reaches out to the Norway & Sweden borders, involves a fatal accident and a local pub that is still a popular drinking spot. Even stories of Waterloo, a Chelsea pensioner, another Dragoon and how dangerous stone quarrying was.

These Smiths lived, over time, in Lightcliffe, Norwood Green, Low Moor and North Bierley. One branch even moved to Rhode Island, USA. Even a pub named The Patent Hammer, surely the only one ever.

This article investigates a local family some of whom emigrated to America but are remembered in our churchyard. The ownership of the ledger stone clearly states that it belongs to Hannah Denison who died in Ohio, USA.

This brings together the story of a successful local business man, his well-connected first wife, Frances, a tenancy at Lidgate House and the Low Moor Company.

The husband had a change of name, authorised at the highest level, so he was known as Lamplugh Wickham Wickham.

Download this file (Frances Hird nee Hale.pdf)Frances Hird nee Hale.pdf1729 kB

This is a very extended family with branches all over.

This is fascinating. Original documents involving the sale of a cottage from the Day family to Ann Walker. As Dorothy says 'an early form of equity release'.

This family, who lived and worked in Norwood Green for generations were butchers, farmers, innkeepers and veterinary surgeons. In a short space of time, the move from 'cow doctor' treating cattle locally to fully fledged vets was made. Here's the story of the families.

Every now and again we have a story which doesn't relate to a family directly. We need somewhere to put them. Indeed, even a poem from a Friend.

The first tells a brief story of a travelling communion set with connections to Southowram, Lightcliffe and Shropshire. The second is a casual article on what people did for a living in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

We're also trialling 3 walks around the Lightcliffe of Ann Walker and her family and tenants. These start from the Sun Inn, Lightcliffe Tea Rooms and Crow Nest Park Golf club. Visitors can use a QR code to access the walk that best fits.

Here's a poem welcoming Spring, Awakenings!



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.

What started as a couple of articles has now reached 22. Those written some time ago are gradually being updated as we gain more information about this influential Lightcliffe family.

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.

We will also add additional information which will not be complete stories but will have external links to give fuller pictures. The first example is about Ann Walker's Inquisition into 'lunacy'.

In the late 1840s Hipperholme and Lightcliffe changed dramatically as the railway came through, opening in 1850. Most of the land for the route was owned by the Shibden Hall or Walker estates. The purchase of the land is described in the article 'The development of the railway, the Walker and Lister estates'.

We've now got some information about Ann Walker senior (Ann Walker's Aunt). It confirms which properties she owned how big a fortune she left to her niece.

There is also an article on her charity bequest and how it has been revived. Ann made several property acquisitions in the period 1835 to 1847. These are written up in an article.

There is now an article which summarises what happened to this huge estate and how Evan Charles Sutherland Walker, Ann's nephew, dissipated it in a very few years.

Ian is making some of his notes available as Research Articles. Much of it has been used in some of his articles but is in a different format here. These will be added to in time. Articles 1 includes material on Ann's furniture in Shibden Hall and Share Holdings owned by the Walkers. Article 2 includes a transcription of Parker's invoices to Ann and the 1835 property agreements between Ann Walker, her sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law George Mackay Sutherland. There is then another transcription which covers a ledger produced by Evan Charles Sutherland Walker in about 1865 in which he charts his inherited properties, who they came from and their rental values.

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.

The 4th article resulted in an enquiry regarding a travelling communion set which started life in Southowram. It is filed here partly because I couldn't think where else to file it but because there is a distant connection to the Ripley family. (Ian)

The 5th article is taken from Bradford & District Libraries Map Collection and covers the life of Sir Henry Ripley.

There was a recent news item that the wreck of HMS Captain has been located in the Bay of Biscay.



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

There are articles on members of a Booth family including one who left Lightcliffe to work for T F Firth's carpet factory in Bailiff Bridge, was very successful and became a very rich man.

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

This article has been updated, July 2023.

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

This article was updated in July 2023.

Get In Touch

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

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