Restoration of a hidden graveyard

NEW SPACE The Revd Ann Pollard at the old St Peter's Church graveyard in Earlsheaton.
NEW SPACE The Revd Ann Pollard at the old St Peter's Church graveyard in Earlsheaton.

Plans have been made for the restoration of a striking graveyard that many people did not know existed.

Plans have been made for the restoration of a striking graveyard that many people did not know existed.

A big cleanup of the graveyard at the old site of St Peter’s Church in Earlsheaton by the community payback team, lead by Dean Ellis, has lead to big ideas for its future.

With around a quarter of land rescued from overgrown plants, the vicar of the modern St Peter’s, the Rev Ann Pollard, is thinking about applying for funding to permenantly turn the area into a space for local schools or a place for residents to use for quiet refelction.

She said: “The yard has been overgrown for about 50 years and when the community payback team started to sort it out the beauty of the land became clear.

“A lot of Earlsheaton people did not even know it was there and we saw an opportunity to create something that could be a community resource.

“And Dean has his roots in Earlsheaton so it’s his passion as well.”

Though the project will not be finished, she hoped that local schools could get involved as early as this June.

•The orginal St Peter’s Church was built in 1827.

•The last burial in its graveyard took place in 1960.

•The church was demolished in 1970, after the building was declared unsafe, and the graveyard fell into disrepair and was overrun by vegetation.

•During its time in use as a graveyard a total of 1,589 people, both buried and cremated, were laid to rest.

•There are no war graves in the graveyard, which Ann believed may have something to do with it being forgotten.