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Restoring to Glory

Ann Walker’s memorial plaque restoration

It was back in May 2019 that we first embarked upon creating a fitting memorial for Ann Walker. We quickly determined that it wouldn’t be possible to get a headstone or ground stone in the Old St Matthews Churchyard, as it is classed as a ‘closed churchyard‘. As such, we knew we would have to be creative in conceiving a memorial for her.

Not long after our initial enquiries, we were put in touch with the Friends of Friendless Churches, an organisation who repair and maintain redundant churches in England and Wales. The tower of the old St Matthews Church was under their care, after they had stopped it from being demolished, as happened with the rest of the church back in the 1970s. In addition to the tower, the organisation had rescued some of the original memorial plaques from within the church, including Ann Walker’s.

A really special part of the journey happened on 14 September 2019 when the Old Tower in Lightcliffe was opened to the public for the first time, to view Ann Walker’s plaque. People came from as far as the USA for this unique event. The Friends of St Matthews Churchyard, who maintain the graveyard, had queues throughout the day and into the early evening, keeping the tower open 2 hours longer than planned to allow all visitors to view the plaque.

After this, we knew how important it was to continue with the plans to create a fitting memorial, and the decision was taken to look into whether we could restore the original brass plaque. After receiving the necessary permissions we discovered there was only one brass conservation specialist in the country who would be able to carry out this work, Skillingtons historical building restorers. Then the pandemic hit and everything came to a halt. But as businesses started to re-open, the time had come for Ann’s plaque to be carefully and lovingly restored.

As shown in the before and after images below, the transcription is now clearly visible, along with the decorative edging.

In memory of 

Ann Walker of Cliffe Hill who

was born May 20 1803 and 

died February 25 1854 and

Is buried beneath the pulpit in this

Church And of her Niece Mary

who died in 1846 Aged 15 and

is buried in this Churchyard and of

her Nephews George Sackville who

died in 1843 Aged 12 and John

Walker who died in 1836 Aged

1 Year and are buried at Kirkmichael

Ross-shire the Children of George 

Mackay and Elizabeth Sutherland

Please note Mary Sutherland died in 1845, there is a typo on the plaque.

Following restoration, the plaque will be backed onto York sandstone, then re-sited in the Old Tower, at a level easier for viewing.

A huge thank you to every single one of you who donated to this fundraiser, to bring Ann’s memorial plaque out of the shadows and into focus once more:

Alex, Nik, Michelle, Kirstin, Penny, Lisa, Georgina, Kristina, SB, Winifred, Claire, Jiunjiun, Susan, Tiffany, Yvonne, Georgina, Ellen, Kelley, Nerys, Abs, Marion, Imogen, Sue, Eva, LC, Adrianna, Jan, Lisa, Amy, Esther, Kristine, Jenny and Allie, Anne, Lesley, Cynthia, Zsofia, Alexandria, Kirsty, Julie, Luisa, Jackie, Kathryn, Robyn and Mandy, Penelope, Kara, Linzi, Joan, Lynnette, Mandi, Izzy, Laurel, Thamer, Emma, Estelle, Cristina, Hannah, Katherine, Maria, Kasie, Kadri, Magdalena, Sue, Maria, Frederika, Olivia, Amy, Hayli, Ashley, Robert, Rachel, Shona, Rebecca, Elisabeth, Anna, Shelley, Taalke, Jenny, Melissa, Anne, Beth, Jessica, Judith, Ioanna, Jenna, Karen, Meg, Leonardo, Gemma, Pam, Berit, Rhiana, Andrea, Sheila, Sec, Sarah, Maribel, Lily, Francesca, Linda, Carol, Lilian, Evelyne, Helena, Susan, Lucy, Suzanne, Orlando, Yiting, Catherine, Matthew, Caroline, Erin, John, Michelle, Joy, Andrew, Carol, Meghan, Elaine, Victoria, Jordan, Patricia, Lucia and Friends of Friendless Churches.

For previous news articles regarding the plaque restoration, please see here and here.

In Search Of Ann Walker

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