Ann's Places,  Legacy

Ann’s Ledger Stone & Update

A blog by In Search of Ann Walker (ISAW), Friends of St Matthew’s Churchyard (FoSMC) and Anne Lister Birthday Week (ALBW) to record the process of obtaining a ledger stone for Ann Walker and her two aunts buried with her.

The original marker stone for Ann Walker placed by FoSMC in 2019

Ann’s burial

Ann Walker died on 25th February 1854 after a short illness. More information on the death of Ann Walker can be found here – The Last Days of Ann Walker

She was buried in a vault inside Old St Matthew’s Church on 3 March 1854, with Rev. Charles Musgrave conducting the service. Her aunts Mary Walker and Ann Walker predeceased Ann and are also buried in the same vault. See this article by FoSMC for more details on her burial – Ann Walker Burial

In the 1860s, Ann’s nephew Evan Charles Sutherland Walker paid for renovations to the church and included two pulpits. The reading pulpit is believed to have been over the vault where Ann and her aunts were buried. Previous to this renovation it is thought that there was a pew over the vault.

Both Mary and Aunt Ann Walker had metal and/or marble plaques with their burial details on display inside the church. Ann Walker had a large brass plaque which also mentioned her niece and nephews, paid for by Evan.

Extract for St Matthew’s showing the plaques for Mary, Ann and Ann
– Churches of Yorkshire by WH Hatton 1880

Demolition of St Matthew’s

Obtaining permission

After the Gentleman Jack TV series aired in 2019, Ann Walker became well known and it was quickly noted that there was nothing to indicate exactly where she was buried in Lightcliffe Churchyard. Friends of St Matthew’s Churchyard put down a temporary marker stone so that people would have a place to come and pay respects. In 2019, money was raised for a memorial to Ann but as Ann was buried in a now-closed churchyard in church law, it was told that permission for a permanent marker for Ann would not be possible. As a result of this and with the help of Friends of Friendless Churches the brass plaque, with Ann and her niece and nephews on, which had been salvaged from the old church and was in the remaining tower, was beautifully restored so that it can now be read and serve as a memorial for Ann. See here for more details of the plaque restoration – Restoring to Glory.

In the past year, a renewed attempt to get a ledger stone for Ann was begun based on recent precedent set in the Church Courts.

ISAW, FoSMC and ALBW worked together to make this happen with Ian Philp, Chair of FoSMC leading the way.

An application for a faculty was sent in to the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Leeds, with the support of the vicar of Lightcliffe and the Calderdale Council Bereavement Services Officer, for a ledger stone with Ann and her two aunts named on it. In Church terms, a faculty is “a permissive right to undertake works to a church building or its contents” (Ecclesiastical Law).

The specifications for the faculty are as below:

The stone needed to be in keeping with the other stones in the old Churchyard and will be of a similar style to the ledger stone of Lydia Fenton (née Wilkinson).

Photo by Friends of St Matthew’s Churchyard

Notices were posted around the area of the Churchyard and St Matthew’s and people had 28 days to give their opinion on the matter to the Court.

We settled down for a lengthy wait but soon after the 28 days had elapsed we had an answer from the Court. We now had permission to go ahead with the works as requested.

Faculty Permission image below:

Fundraising

ISAW, ALBW and FoSM had a combined fundraising effort to raise £2700 for the estimate from the specialist stonemason to create and place the ledger stone to the exact specifications approved in the faculty by the Consistory Court. Pat Esgate led the charge on this and within 8 hours we had reached our target. Work on the stone could now commence.

Creating the Stone

JL Albutt Ltd, a specialist Stone Mason, was engaged to create this stone for Ann.

UPDATE 1 – 26/02/2024 by Ian Philp

Our stonemason has found a source of stone in a quarry on Swalemoor – so it will be local!

Swalemoor is high above Halifax on the ridge separating Halifax from the upper Shibden Valley. There are a couple of quarries on the moor, which is only about half a mile from Ann’s Shibden properties.

Jon (the stonemason) says it may be a couple of weeks before he gets the stone and he’ll keep us informed.

Newspaper Article 21 Feb 2024

Halifax Courier – https://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/news/people/fundraising-appeal-for-ann-walker-memorial-hits-goal-in-24-hours-and-has-support-from-across-the-globe-4525701

Newspaper Article 29 Feb 2024

Magazine Article 7/3/2024

UPDATE 2- 25/03/2024

The stone is on its way from the quarry!

The suitable stone has been located (see above update for details) and is being cut.

The image on left below shows the stone being split – using the traditional plug & feather technique – holes drill, 2 “feathers” put in hole, plug in between them & then hit in sequence and eventually it splits.

The image below on the right shows the large stone being cut down. You can see the very large circular saw cutting the stone.

The next step is the marking out of the stone at the Stonemasons before they begin carving.

Update #3 19/4/2024

Ann’s piece of stone selected at the quarry is now dry and the marking out of the lettering has begun.

The style of lettering is similar to that of several others around the churchyard. It’s amazing that it can still be done in that style!

The current colour is a normal part of setting up the work and the stone will be its natural colour on completion. The letters will be deeply incised, again as it should be. It is all hand carved not, as is common, by sandblasting. Only the best will do.

The quarry where the stone has come from is the same one used for the stone used to build Halifax Town Hall! (1861-63)

The Ledger Stone

In Search Of Ann Walker

Researching Ann Walker in the archives and online - Ensuring her legacy is continued.