Opened between 1846 and 1876, it remains the only burial ground in the town still in its original state.
The burials at the site provide a fascinating and unique insight into Skipton’s Victorian community and include some notable Skiptonians such as Rudyard Kipling’s grandparents and the Reverend William Cartman, who officiated at Charlotte Brontë’s funeral. Plus heroes of the Napoleonic war, the Crimea war and an Australian from the First World War; as well as many local trades people and characters.
The last burials took place around 1900, but the site remains consecrated ground. At some stage the burial ground included a chapel and a mortuary, with associated pathways, but there is now little trace of these facilities on the ground.
Due to historical neglect, the ground has become something of a wildlife haven with trees over 250 years old, various wildflowers and grasses.
The main objectives of the Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground are as follows:
The Friends Group will protect the sanctity of the burial ground and respect the rights of the people buried in it and their families. Within this over-arching concern the Friends Group will work with local stakeholders and community organisations in the furtherance of the following objectives:
- To preserve the original and primary purpose of the Burial Ground and enhance and interpret its cultural, historical and ecological value.
- To maintain and enhance the landscape, and the physical and aesthetic value of the Burial Ground.
- To facilitate a reasonable level of supervised public access to the Burial Ground and to liaise with users to identify and represent their needs and work towards public access.
- To encourage local schools and youth organisations to discover and participate in the conservation of the historic and ecological value of the site by arrangement with, and under the supervision of, the Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground.
- To develop and deliver projects, in partnership with other community organisations and authorities, which will help to deliver the Friends Group’s objectives.
- To notify the appropriate authorities as soon as hazards or problems become apparent.
- To raise the funds required to deliver the Friends Group’s objectives by applying for grants and other funding, or through any other legitimate means.
- To apply and carry out any other lawful activities necessary to achieve the above objectives.
The Friends Group will deliver these objectives on behalf, and with the approval, of the incumbent of Holy Trinity Church (Skipton), as the landowner, and Skipton Town Council, as the authority responsible for maintaining the site under the terms of a request from the parochial church council served under s215(2) of the Local Government Act 1972.
On a day to day basis the Friends Group will work with the incumbent of Holy Trinity Church and Skipton Town Council as equal partners. Both the incumbent of Holy Trinity Church and a nominated representative of Skipton Town Council will be represented on the Friends Group’s Committee and have the right to be elected to any of the designated posts of that Committee. Within the confines of agreed plans and work schedules the Friends Group will have full delegation to manage the Burial Ground as it determines.