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Tombs, grave markers and boundary walls of Cragg Wood Baptist Burial Ground

A Grade II Listed Building in Rawdon, Leeds

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Latitude: 53.8454 / 53°50'43"N

Longitude: -1.6898 / 1°41'23"W

OS Eastings: 420508

OS Northings: 438837

OS Grid: SE205388

Mapcode National: GBR JRMZ.Z8

Mapcode Global: WHC94.0LMX

Plus Code: 9C5WR8W6+43

Entry Name: Tombs, grave markers and boundary walls of Cragg Wood Baptist Burial Ground

Listing Date: 23 March 2011

Last Amended: 21 August 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1242956

English Heritage Legacy ID: 512137

Location: Rawdon, Leeds, LS19

County: Leeds

Civil Parish: Rawdon

Built-Up Area: Bradford

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Rawdon St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leeds

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A Baptist burial ground of the C18 with 19 tombs, grave slabs and markers recording the deaths of local families belonging to a former chapel (now demolished).


The Baptist burial ground dates to the first half of the C18.

MATERIALS: the walls, tombs and grave markers are of sandstone.

PLAN: the burial ground is aligned north-east/south-west, overlooking a broad valley to the south-west. It is within the grounds of a development for housing. The land falls away steeply to the south-west and south-east.

It is approximately 18m by 12m, with the grave markers and tombs aligned north-east/south-west roughly arranged in three rows with gaps that may contain further undiscovered graves.

DESCRIPTION: the burial ground contains nineteen surviving grave markers and tombs. The surviving tombs and grave markers are all aligned north-east to south-west, with the heads to the south-west. The eastern corner of the burial ground is without visible graves. The ground is defined by stone walls. To the north-east is the 'chapel' building with a line of low walling abutting the building and extending east of the building with a brick upper section; this wall acts as a revetment to the rising ground above. To the south-east the wall is c. 1 metre high and acts as a retaining wall to the burial ground. A pier with a pyramidal cap rises from the wall approximately one third of the way from the north-east corner. The north-west wall is stepped down towards the south-west, following the slope of the ground. The south-west wall is similar and at the west corner there is a gap; the land here drops away quite steeply. The south-west wall has been restored.

The descriptions below include some words recorded in a 1999 survey of the burial ground, which may since have been lost through erosion.

Two grave stones are detached from their burials and have been fixed to the wall of the building.
1) One is partial and has the dedication: Here Lieth Interrd/ The Body of Mary/ the Daughter of/ Christopher Hird/ of Yeadon who De/ parted this Life the (missing).
2)The other is also damaged and reads: Here lieth Interrd the/ (bo)dy of John the Son/ of Christopher Hird of/ Yeadon who Departed/ this life the 14 day of Oct/ober in the 12 year of/ his Age Annoq Domini/1736.

The row nearest to the building contains six visible graves, described below in order from north-west to south-east.

3)The most northerly tomb, slightly offset from the line of the others and only slightly raised above ground level, has the inscription: Here lieth Interred the/ Body of John Marshall of/ Lower Yeadon who de/ parted this Life June the/ 20 In the 84 year of his/ Age Annoq Domini/ 1745.

4)Next is a grave marker level with the ground in poor condition with the inscription: (Here) Lyeth the Body/ (of Anne the wife of John)/ Willon/ (Minister) of this place/ who dyed the 20 day of April/ (Annoq) Domini 1743/ illegible.

5)After a gap is a grave marker with the inscription: Here lieth Interrd the/ Body of John (Keighley) of/ Ecclesell (Park) who de/ parted this life the 2nd day of September in the/ (65) year of his age Anno D/ 1719/ Here also lieth interrd/ the body of Mary the/ wife of the above said/ John Keighley who de/ parted this life the 23rd/ day of September in the 71 year of her age/ Anno Domini 1736.

A smaller gap separates this from the next group, which consists of one grave marker and two adjacent chest tombs.

6)The grave marker has an inscription reading: Here/ lieth interrd Ann (illegible )/ of Susanna Hird Daug/ hter of (Christopher) and/ Susanna (illegible)/ who died November the/ 30th aged (9) Months 1760/ Also (illegible) Son/ (of the above) (Christopher and Susannah) died Sep/ tember the (20) aged (illegible) Months 1763.
7)The first chest tomb has an inscription reading: Here lieth Interrd the/ Body of Mary Wife of/ John Hird of Yeadon and/ Daughter of Mr George/ Braithwaite of St(?ar) park/ in Lanca(shire) who departed/ this life the 22nd day of May in/ the 37th year of her Age A.D./ 1747.
8)The second has an inscription reading: Here lieth interrd the/ Body of John Hird of Lower/ Yeadon Gentleman who de/ parted this life the 28th Day/ of October in the 68 Year/ of his Age Annoq Domini/ 1752.

The second row contains six graves.
9) At the north-west end is a grave marker level with the ground with an inscription: Here ly interrd (the)/ (Body of both/ Mary the daughter and Mary the wife of John Hird/ of Lower Yeadon. The daughter dyed the 28th of December 1722 in the/ fourth year of her Age/ and the mother dyed the first day of January being/ the fourth day after the/ Death of her Daughter/ And in the 32(?) Year of her/ Age Anno Domini/ 1722.

10)After a small gap is a raised chest tomb in good condition with the inscription: Here lieth Interrd the/ Body of John Marshall/ of Lower Yeadon who de/ parted this Life the 30th/ Day of March in the 57th/ Year of his Age A.D./ 1749.

11)Next is a grave marker of which the inscription is entirely illegible.

12)Next is another chest tomb in good condition with the inscription: Here lieth Interred the/ Body of Christopher/ Hird of Lower Yeadon/ who departed life/ the 21st day of August in/ the 35th year of his Age/ Annoq Domini/ 1744.

13) A further chest tomb is next and has an inscription reading: Here lieth Interrd the/ Body of Mary Hird Widow/ of Mr Christopher Hird late/ of Yeadon who departed this/ Life on the 22nd Day of/ December 1761/ in the 70th Year of her (missing) .

14) A grave marker completes the row, with an inscription reading: Here/ lieth the Body of/ Thomas Oates of Gre/ at Horton Mason (?) who/ died February 20th in the 67(?)/ year of his age/ Anno Domini 1742.

The third row contains four burials, the first being behind the chest tomb of John Marshall the younger, and extending further south than the first two rows.
15)The first is another chest tomb in a damaged condition, with the inscription: (Here lie)th Interrd t(he)/ Body of John Nichols (of)/ Woodhead (missing) who departed this li / fe April the (missing) 1740 in the/ 48 year of his Age/ Here also lieth Interrd/ the Body of William Nic/hols of Norcroft in Haw/ksworth who Departed/ this life (missing) 1740/ in the (49th) year/ of his Age/ Also the Body of Elizab(eth)/ wife of John Fairah of/ Woodhead in Yeadon who/ Departed this life July the/ (14th 17)49/ in the 41st year of her Age./ Also the Body of Mary/ Daughter of the above said/ John Nichol wife of Benjn/ Newland who dyed May 23rd/ 1756

16) Next is another chest tomb with less damage with the inscription: Here Lieth Interrd the/ Body of John Gibson ye/ Only son of John Gibson/ of Woodhead who de/ parted this life the (illegible) day)/ of June in the 22nd year/ of his Age Annoq Dom(ini)/ 1723/ Here also Lieth Interrd/ the Body of John Gibson/ of Woodhead who de/ parted this life the 16th day/ of May in the 58th year/ of his Age Annoq Domini/ 1729/ Here lieth the Body/ of Elizabeth wife of Jo/hn Gibson who departed/ this life 2 of July 1752. (A graffito at the bottom reading OD(?)1883 seen in 2011 was not visible in 2013).

17) Next is a grave marker, badly eroded, with an inscription beginning: Here lieth Interrd the/ Body of David (rest illegible).

18) A large gap separates this from the last grave marker which has an inscription reading: Under this Stone and/ By Doth Lye ye Remains/ of Mary James (illegible)/ (illegible) late of Rawden. Wood Bottom who died/ (illegible) Age 64 years/ (illegible)/ 1755/ (three more lines illegible).

19) A further grave marker, not seen on inspection, lies near the north-west corner of the site. The inscription is reported to read: Here lieth interrd the body of John son of Christopher Hird of Yeadon who departed this life the 14 day of October in the 12th year of his age. Anno Domini 1736


A local group of Baptists who had previously met at Buckstone Rock in Rawdon purchased land at the Cragg in 1712 in order to found a chapel and burial ground, their worship no longer being proscribed by law. The chapel became independent from its neighbour at Rossendale in 1715. In 1765 the chapel was moved to a new site on Micklefield Lane, and many or most of the stones from the original chapel were used to build the new, leaving little trace of the original. The burial ground remained, and is shown on the first edition 1:10560 Ordnance Survey (OS) map published in 1851 marked as Baptist Burial Place. No building on the site of the chapel is shown on this map.

By 1893 a building was standing at the north edge of the burial ground. This appears to be, with some changes to the footprint, the building still standing on the site. There were glasshouses belonging to a nursery alongside, and the building was probably associated with these, perhaps as a boiler house and pump housing. There is a record of annual Baptist services being held at Cragg Wood in the later C19, probably in the open air. The burial ground was re-dedicated in 1912 and some restoration work carried out, mainly on the surrounding walls. Pre-restoration photographs show a number of tombs, and a survey of 1999 recorded parts of inscriptions that are now lost through erosion. Further clearance and restoration in 2011-13 has exposed some graves that had been obscured, and the south-west wall of the burial ground has been rebuilt.

Reasons for Listing

The burial ground at Cragg Wood, containing nineteen grave markers and tombs all dating to the first half of the C18, together with its surrounding walls, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date: chest tombs and grave markers from the early C18 are relatively uncommon;
* Rarity: the survival of burials within a burial ground from this period, not long after the Act of Toleration, is rare for a non-conformist group such as the Baptists;
* Group value: the special interest of the tombs and grave markers is enhanced by their group value as a complete set of burials within a short time frame and enclosed within a burial ground.

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