Stottercliffe Cemetery

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The Burial Board of Penistone
The Stottercliffe cemetery site was a wood until 1840, with a bridle path passing through it from Penistone to Thurlstone. The path had to be diverted with the arrival of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire railway from Sheffield to Dunford Bridge which opened 15th July 1845.

The Burial Board of the Ecclesiastic Parish of Penistone was formed in February 1870 to deal with an increasing problem of allocating burial spaces. £3,800 was borrowed to allow the the wood to be cleared and to convert the plot of land into a cemetery. The new cemetery was consecrated and officially opened 1st August 1880. It steadily filled up. By 30th September 1887, 420 interments had taken place, with 364 in consecrated ground and 56 in unconsecrated ground.

Two chapels used to stand in the graveyard but fell into a poor state of repair and were demolished in the late 1990s. It was said that one chapel was for Catholic and the other was for non-Catholic 'residents'. There was also a small building on the lower part of lane leading to the cemetery which, presumably, contained the gardening tools necessary for upkeep of the cemetery and spades for digging graves.

In recent times the railway track became the 'Trans-Pennine Trail' (see this page) for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. A new extension was built in 2007 and consecrated by Tony Robinson, the Bishop of Pontefract. See the section below.

Burial Records
For burials before 1880, Penistone Church records would need to be consulted. These can be found at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield and their coverage is: Baptisms: 1644 - 1944, Marriages: 1644 - 1974 and Burials: 1644-1977. It might also be worth exploring Barnsley Family History Society for their published lists

After Stottercliff Cemetary was opened in 1880, all further burials in Penistone area took place there. Burial records for Stottercliff Cemetery can be found at Ardsley Crematorium, Barnsley. See also the page for Stottercliff Cemetery.

The Last Journey
It's a surprisingly busy place being close to the Trans-pennine trail and local people often visit it, use it as a short cut to Thurlstone Road or walk their dogs here. It might be called 'the dead centre' of Penistone (sorry about that one). Joking aside, it is a good place for quiet reflection and can on occasions be a very sombre place.

As I took some pictures, I contemplated those with a one-way journey down this side path. A sombre thought of a sea of tears. On the right is the top side of the cemetery wall. With the TP trail low down to its left, it leads to Stottercliffe lane, which emerges on to Thurlstone road, near the bad bend. It's quite a pleasant walking route to Thurlstone.

more graves The Last Journey Stottercliff Lane by the cemetary
dead centre (graveyard)

The cemetery is well kept by the council, although it is becoming quite full. The oldest memorial stones are of stone and the newer ones usually of black or white polished granite, often with a feature such as a rose or cross etched in. None of these graves date before 1880 and most have an occupancy of two or even three. Some very old ones have angelic figures or carved ornate crosses. There is a good collection of our family, acquaintances and other familiar names buried here.

Pen Mayoral ChainConsecration of the New Cemetery Extension
The population of Penistone has greatly increased in recent years along with a great increase in the number of houses. Consequently, Stottercliffe Cemetery was close to its capacity and a new burial ground was needed. This was provided on a plot of land just above the Stottercliffe cemetery, over the old concrete railway bridge. Of course its official opening required a ceremony for official and spiritual purposes.

The official opening and blessing of a new cemetery ground is a special and rather rare ceremony. Ours took place on the cold but sunny day of Tues 6th March 2007. Tony Robinson, the Bishop of Pontefract, attended to the consecration in accordance with established procedure. This was officially witnessed by the Registrar and Father George the local vicar, Penistone Mayor Cllr Nora Collett, Elizabeth Sedgewick the town clerk, assorted councillors and a few local people, including myself.

After an opening address by The Director of Regulatory Services, Ken Eastwood, Barnsley Mayor Cllr Margaret Morgan cut the tape to open the extension. Local historian the late Neville Roebuck paid great attention to what was really a historic ceremony. The previous one in our area was around a hundred and thirty years earlier, in Stottercliffe cemetery itself.

The Deed of Consecration was read out and the Bishop walked the boundary of the extension to scatter holy water before him. Tea and biscuits were laid on afterwards in the Community Centre.

New Cemetery ExtensionNew Cemetery Extension
Bishop of PontefractVicarRegistrar
BishopCemetery Group

War Graves
The picture pane below shows the huge difference between how we regard our wartime heroes compared with the Dutch people. Penistone's Stottercliffe cemetery has eleven war graves in all; five of which stand alone and others which are in family plots. Over time they were falling into a poor condition with nobody to look after them.

Joe Pinguey raised some local interest in the condition of these war graves and volunteers were able to tidy them up, using building materials which had been very kindly donated by Naylor Myers (see their website article). By September 2010, the graves shown in the top row of this picture were now much tidier, as in the before and after pictures below the pane. The Barnsley Chronicle article below explains it all.

Alec Gillespie and Derek Whitworth are shown below at one of the renovated graves after a dedication ceremony there on Armistice Day 2010. My thanks to the Barnsley Chronicle for their kind permission to use scans of their picture and article below. The newspaper scan has fared badly here but the no doubt excellent original picture was taken by Wes Hobson.

Dutch v English graves - Not ClickableBarnsley Chronicle Item on war graves - not clickable
beforeAfterBC Picture

CMGC Funding
The Commonwealth Graves Commission looks after war graves in foreign places but can also allocate a small sum towards the upkeep of war graves in this country. In the case of High Hoyland, it is only £7.50 for one grave. A modest sum could be raised from CMGC for the upkeep of these graves if a volunteer group would form a formal association in accordance with CMGC rules.

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