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I wonder if someone local to Sheffield or knows history of parish churches could assist please.
I have a number of burials from late 1800's - early 1900's at St Philip, Sheffield.
Example : https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=GBPRS%2FYORKSHIRE%2FBUR%2F304207773
I emailed what I thought was the correct St Philip but they say the church is only 10yrs old, so its not the correct location.
I cant locate another St Philip in Sheffield, nor any related burial site, has this site been replaced by a Tesco Superstore?
Any idea what would have happened to the grave site? I didn't think we were in the business of bulldozing over them.
Thanks in advance :relaxed:
Replying to my own post,
I've found that it was demolished in 1952, but no info on what would have happened to burial sites or headstones
If you use this link you'll find what sadly became of the deceased and their headstones. Unforgivable but I'm not surprised.
Unfortunately, this is not a rare occurrence. I, too, have visited ancestor’s graves to find the headstone has disappeared. For one particular grave, in Tinsley Park Cemetery, I accepted the Council’s word that there had never been a headstone; it wasn’t until a few years later that another relative produced the receipt for the headstone.
To be fair though, it’s not only the Council cemeteries where headstones mysteriously disappear as I’ve had the same thing happen in a church graveyard where it was denied that the headstone had ever existed even though I’d visited the grave on numerous occasions up until about the age of 14/15 with my grandfather.
I was inspired by your post to go and look at the website of the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery - which was interesting for me in any case because a lot of my family members were baptised, married, or buried at St. Philip's (Shalesmoor). The church was more or less obliterated by the Luftwaffe and never rebuilt, it's a tram stop and a roundabout now I think.
The Friends of Wardsend Cemetery say that the cemetery was set up by the vicar of St. Philip's as a "detached churchyard" for St. Philip's and I've read elsewhere that all the burials at St. Philip's, with few exceptions, were done at Wardsend from 1857 onwards. The churchyard by the church itself was already overcrowded by 1857, and only burials in existing family plots were allowed there after that.
So your Fanny Parker could well have been buried at Wardsend since she died in 1887. The Friends might even have some info. I think that they have a facebook page as well as their website.
I had a quick look in the papers to see if there was a death notice for Fanny Parker which mentioned her place of burial, but (if I've got the right one) it only says that she died aged 33 at 25 Court, 3 House, St. Philip's Road and was the beloved wife of John Parker. (Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 24 September 1887).
PS - There’s an official notice in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Thursday 11 June 1857 saying that from Sunday 21 of that month burials would be discontinued in St. Philip's Churchyard (except in existing Vaults) and that the new burial ground (Wardsend Cemetry) “near the Club Mill” would be opened on the same day.
St Philip burials,
PARKER Fanny 18-Sep-1887, St Philips Rd, age 33 widow of John.
Fanny Parker wife of William age 33 lived St Phillips Road buried at Wardsend Cemetery September 18th 1887 Section T Grave 207
This looks like a public grave she is buried with Selina Longden 18th January 1880
James Smith 30th May 1869
Here is the link for Wardsend Cemetery facebook
I hadn't seen the 2011 discussion at SheffieldHistory until it was mentioned in this thread. I want to say that I disagree with much (not all) of the criticism of the council. Here are some reasons:
There was no consideration in the discussion of the sheer difficulty of identifying the remains of named individuals buried in a crowded Victorian churchyard.
From photographs I can see that the churchyard was similar to other 19th century burial grounds in having large numbers of unmarked graves and a much smaller number of graves with memorials.
As in many churchyards, burial records give no indication of the location of graves. There may have been a grave book at some point but it can't be found now and I doubt that it was available in 1991.
Depending on soil conditions and drainage, remains may decay completely or be too fragile to be transferred elsewhere. I have read somewhere comments by someone who took part in the removal of remains from St Philip's. They said there was a surprisingly small amount revovered to be taken to Abbey Lane.
Continued use of a crowded graveyard inevitable means that previous burials can be disturbed, shifted, mixed. (I have excavated a cemetery and seen evidence of this - admittedly it was a Roman Cemetery)
I have recently found a report on a comparable operation carried out at St Mary's Bramall Lane in 1960. This was for road widening. I haven't done an exact count but over 600 plots were removed. A small minority had gravestones and these were recorded and laid flat elsewhere in the graveyard, the latter option not available at St Philip's in 1991. (St Philip's MIs were recorded). In all those 600+ graves they found only 2 legible grave plates.
Not all the gravestones from St Philip's were destroyed. A few were taken to Abbey Lane and laid over the graves where the remains were re-buried. Some were set in the wall of the barracks. Two were placed in Hillsborugh Park. You can find photos of the graves at Abbey Lane in the Wardsend FaceBook group.
As for the rest of them, I too find the idea of gravestones being broken up shocking but my question would be, what else do people suggest they should have done with them? Once the churchyard was removed, the stones would have been out of context where ever they ended up. I don't think the council can be expected to store large amounts of displaced stonework.
I think the fact that the graveyard was removed is more shocking than the destruction of the gravestones.
Time to step off my soap box and think about other things.