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Gravestone in the Grounds of Orchard Cottage, Rawtenstall

Description: Gravestone in the Grounds of Orchard Cottage

Grade: II
Date Listed: 27 June 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1401031

OS Grid Reference: SD8120325373
OS Grid Coordinates: 381203, 425373
Latitude/Longitude: 53.7244, -2.2863

Locality: Rawtenstall
Local Authority: Rossendale Borough Council
County: Lancashire
Country: England
Postcode: BB4 8NX

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Listing Text


C18 Gravestone

Reason for Listing

This C18 gravestone recording the burial of James Haworth located in the rear garden of Orchard Cottage in Rossendale is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* History: It is one of a group of four isolated gravestones marking C18 and C19 non-conformist burials within the Rossendale valley and attests to the strong non-conformist background of this area throughout the last five centuries.

* Rarity: Isolated and small groups of isolated non-conformist burials are considered to be rare nationally.


This gravestone is one of a group of four located in a relatively discrete area within Rossendale and set on private land away from communal burial grounds. While they may have been repositioned, they are each believed to remain in the vicinity of their original locations. This gravestone lies in the garden of Orchard Cottage and records the burial of James Haworth who died in 1772. One of the trustees of James Haworth's property was Richard Ashworth, son of Richard Ashworth, a Baptist minister who died in 1751. Richard Ashworth (Snr's) gravestone is also one of this group of four. Another of James Haworth's trustees was Thomas Haworth who died in 1800 and whose gravestone also forms one of this group. Thomas Haworth's son-in-law was witness to James Ormerod's will. Ormerod died in 1817 and his gravestone is the fourth one of this group. James Ormerod was trustee for the will of James Haworth's son, also called James, and it is suggested that this web of legal ties would appear to represents a bond of trust and community of interest between the individuals across generations, and may suggest that all four individuals whose gravestones are in Rossendale were Baptists.

Rossendale's social and economic development, and history of non conformity, provided a backdrop to the burials. The area was settled on land parcelled out to copyhold tenants in the C16 and C17 and the surviving distinctive pattern of farm holdings and enclosure with stone walls that remain visible in the upland areas around Rossendale date from this period.

The first Baptist meeting house in the area was built at Goodshaw in about 1685 and this was superseded by the building of what is now the Grade II* listed Old Baptist Chapel in Goodshaw in 1760. Despite the presence of a well-established burial ground at Goodshaw, the setting of these four burials on private land would appear to have been a matter of choice by the individuals or their families and the sites of these burials appear from the records to have been the family property of the deceased. It is suggested that the individuals concerned represent a local tradition of middle class property owners who shared religious beliefs and had strong family ties and links to local land holding.

Whilst many early non-conformist burial grounds were established during the Commonwealth (1649-60), a system of laissez-faire existed after the Restoration in 1660 regarding the locations of non-conformist burials which continued until the Burial Acts of 1857 and 1880. In essence this meant that it was not unknown for the bodies of non-conformists to be deposited in an unauthorised place of burial until the introduction of the Burial Acts in the latter half of the C19. Whilst it is impossible to estimate accurately how many 'random' burials there might be, it is reasonable to assume that there may have been hundreds nationally rather than thousands.

This gravestone and the three other isolated gravestones in the Rossendale area may represent the burials of Strict & Particular Baptists who took the notion of "come out from them, and be separate from them...and I will welcome you" (2 Corinthians. 6:17) even as far as burial.


A C18 gravestone recording the burial of James Haworth located in the rear garden of Orchard Cottage in Rossendale.

MATERIALS: Local sandstone.

PLAN: Laid flat and aligned east-west.

DESCRIPTION: The gravestone is a smooth sawn local sandstone slab aligned east-west and located in the rear garden of Orchard Cottage situated between Major Street and Bonfire Hill. It lies at the corner of a lawn with paving on two sides and is set flush with the ground. The gravestone has a continuous moulding around its edges and a serifed inscription which reads: 'hear was intered the Bodey of / James Haworth of this Place who de / parted this life 2th Jenuary 1772 Aged 63 / My loving spouse and Children Dear / I trust you to my Jesus care / weep not for me my souls at Rest / with Christ the lord my Rightiousness / Although my flesh within this tomb / must moulder until Jesus come / the trump of God will break my sleep / Dry up your tears pray Do not weep.'

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.