A rare opportunity

On Saturday September 14th the tower which holds Ann Walker’s memorial will be re-opened. Between 12 noon and 4pm visitors will be able see the brass plaque commemorating Walker, which is held within the iconic tower at Lightcliffe cemetery near Halifax. There will be an opportunity to visit other graves associated with the Walker family.

Ann Walker was the lover of Anne Lister, ‘Gentleman Jack’. The couple took Holy Communion together in Holy Trinity church, Goodramgate, York. Although same-sex unions were illegal at the time and their ceremony was not official, they considered themselves married.
The couple bought a pew at St Matthew’s church, Lightcliffe and had it lined in plush green velvet so that they could worship together.

Ann Walker died at Cliffe Hill in 1854. She was buried under the pulpit at Old St Matthew’s church, Lightcliffe, Halifax. When the church was demolished by the church authorities in 1974, the Friends of Friendless Churches rescued the monuments and memorials and kept them safe within the residual tower, which remains in our care.

Amongst the monuments is a Gothic style plaque remembering Ann Walker.

As a part of the Heritage Open Days festival, this September 14th, we are re-opening the base of the tower for one day only to allow visitors to view and pay their respects at Ann’s memorial.

Working with the Friends of St Matthew’s Churchyard who care for the 2.2-acre churchyard and research and record some of the 11,000 burials, there will be guides on hand to direct visitors to the most important graves connected with the Walker family.

As the tower is a confined space accessed via a short flight of steps, visitors are restricted to two at a time.

Entrance is free but donations towards the upkeep of the tower are gratefully received.