Yorkshire graveyard offering 'Tragic Deaths Tour' revealing the scandal and bigamy of people buried there

A graveyard is offering tours
A graveyard is offering tours
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A Yorkshire graveyard is offering a slightly macabre event - a guided tour focusing on the tragic deaths of those buried there.

On September 3, a "Tragic Deaths Tour" will be held at the Holy Ascension Church in the town of Settle, in the Yorkshire Dales, North Yokshire.

The graveyard at Settle church

The graveyard at Settle church

Sarah Lister, author of the book Curious Tales From The Ancient Graveyard: Celebrating The lives of Settle's ancestors, will host the event, which will be held at 7pm on Tuesday, September 3.

According to a spokesman for the church: "Holy Ascension Church in Settle in the Yorkshire Dales was consecrated in 1838. Since then the baptisms, marriages and burials recorded in its annals have marked the passing of time.

"80 years later in May 2018, Settle District U3A Family Historians decided it would be a good idea to record the inscriptions on all the gravestones to preserve them for future generations, starting with the oldest ones in the “Ancient Graveyard”.

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"But who were these people buried in these graves? What did they do? How did they make Settle what it is today? As far back as records go, Settle has been a small, isolated market town, and often a bit behind the times. So was it always a quiet little backwater?

"Well no, not at all. There has been tragedy and scandal: bankrupts, bigamy and embezzlement, shootings, suicides and men running off with women a third of their age.

"There have been plenty of celebrities as well: England’s first female architect, orphans who became bank managers, an uncle of Lillie Langtry, and women appointed to serve Queen Victoria.

"The graveyard has millionaires and entrepreneurs, artists, wigmakers and eccentrics.... suffragettes, choristers, war heroes, an escapee from Versailles in the French Revolution... women who produced 14 children, travellers on the Lusitania and labourer on the railways. As you would expect, the exhibitions about these lives at the church and the local Museum have created plenty of local interest.

"The research has been a full time job, helped by the descendants of those buried there and the local residents.

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"This is genuine example of team work. The members of the U3A Family History group have been busy recording inscriptions, taking photographs of gravestones, typing up inscriptions and cross referencing with the previously incomplete burial records."

One of the tragic deaths is that of Christopher Edmondson, who is buried in the Settle graveyard.

He was a solicitor living in Settle when he was trying to landscape a garden at his property.

According to an excerpt from a newspaper at the time, quoted in Lister's book, his death followed: "Edmondson was laying out a portion of ground near to his residence for the purposes of having it convered to a garden, and then in the act of planing a peg in the ground, he fell and instantly expired.

"The deceased, who was clerk to the Magistrates of Sedbergh, was in excellent health the moment previous to his death, and was a gentleman of the most temperate habits."

Other tours include 'Scandal in the Graveyard', which was held on August 13, and 'Innkeepers of Settle', on Thursday August 29.

A tour of 'Wonderful Women' at the graveyard is set for 7pm on August 20.

Tickets for each tour cost £3, only from the Folly, Victoria St, Settle BD24 9EY

Sarah Lister's book is £4.99 and can be bought from www.ydmt.org/shop

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