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Gravestone at Edge End Farm, Rossendale

Description: Gravestone at Edge End Farm

Grade: II
Date Listed: 27 June 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1401043

OS Grid Reference: SD8165624634
OS Grid Coordinates: 381656, 424634
Latitude/Longitude: 53.7178, -2.2794

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

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Listing Text


Early C-19 Gravestone

Reason for Listing

This C19 gravestone recording the burial of Thomas Haworth located close to the western boundary of Edge End Farm 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 close to the western boundary of Edge End Farm and records the burial of Thomas Haworth who died in 1800. Its location on an upland farm is the most remote of all the four gravestones in the Rossendale area. Thomas Haworth was the trustee of James Haworth who died in 1772 and whose gravestone is also one of this group of four. Another of James Haworth's trustees was Richard Ashworth, son of Richard Haworth, a Baptist minister who died in 1751. Richard Ashworth (Snr's) gravestone is one of this group of four also. 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 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.


An early-C19 gravestone marking the burial of Thomas Haworth located close to the western boundary of Edge End Farm in Rossendale.

MATERIALS: Local sandstone.

PLAN: It is laid flat and balanced on short legs and is aligned approximately east-west.

DESCRIPTION: The gravestone is a smooth sawn local sandstone slab aligned approximately east-west and located close to a dry stone wall at Edge End Farm. The gravestone is laid flat some 0.3m above the ground and is balanced on four riven stone supports whose roughness contrasts with the workmanship and fine carving of the slab. The corners of the gravestone are carved into simple moulded profiles and the inscription has been executed in serifed lettering of varying sizes, headed by elaborate scrolling and set within an incised outline.
The inscription reads: 'Sacred / to the Memory of Thomas / Haworth of Edgend who / departed this Life the 11th / Day of October 1800 in the / 66th Year of his Age / By sudden Death I'm snatched away / Death Scarcely left me Time to Say / The LORD have Mercy on my Soul! / so absolute is his Controul! / Reflect when thou my Grave doth see, / The next that's made may be for thee.'

Source: English Heritage

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