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29-11-2010, 12:34   #1
Iain Kelly
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A recent visit to Sheffield found me seeking out Loxley Chapel and burial ground. Like a lot of other people I am investigating my family tree and have discovered that a number of my relatives are buried there. Even through I had read a little about the place on this forum I was shocked at the state of both the building and cemetery. After a long search I was unable to identify the family graves and came away quite distressed at the total and utter neglect. My horror was increased on the discovery that the burial ground is still accepting new customers, as it were. I canít help but feel that this is a shocking state of affairs being a microcosm of much which is wrong with our society. Here lay our dead. Sheffield people laid to rest in originally quite beautiful surroundings but now ignored and forgotten. How did this come about? When did we stop caring about our forbears to the extent that we allow their graves to disappear?

I presume that there is an official responsibility for the upkeep of burial grounds? So why is this not happening? Cost? Lack of interest? Personally I see a joint responsibility. We should respect our dead and perhaps a mixture of pressure to better maintain these places, coupled with a willingness to collaborate in this personally, could halt this appalling situation.

I hear that the chapel itself is listed but has changed hands. On inspection the door is wide open, having been broken in and legal, or illegal, internal demolition started with panelling, floorboards and pews now missing. Everything that remains is clearly vulnerable to removal or destruction. What exactly is planned for this lovely old place? Apartments? Does the new owner acknowledge the need to preserve anything of this important place? I would be very interested to know who owns this building and their intentions for it, including the impact on the graveyard.

Loxley chapel and cemetery are important, aesthetically, socially and historically. Is there anyone else who shares my feelings? Anyone else who is prepared to join me in trying to do something about this? I for one am not happy with sitting by and allowing the remains of my family to lay forgotten in a jungle of brambles.

I realise that this is not a unique or new phenomena but perhaps it is time that something was done, at Loxley and any other similarly neglected cemeteries in Sheffield

Maybe if we respect the past and those who lived there we will better respect the present and those who live there!

Iain Kelly, Shropshire
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30-11-2010, 06:37   #2
PopT
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I have visited many cemeteries whilst researching he family history and as many others will agree there are many that are in a bad state of repair and many are open to vandalism.

Recently I was saddened to see many new graves at the Wisewood Cemetery vandalised.

We all seem to accept this state of affairs, if you raise the subject you can bet you get a negative response.

I believe there will come a time in the UK where no one will ever visit or even want to be buried in these cemeteries.

In Denmark you have to rent the family grave and there is gardeners who tend and look after them and they are immculate.

The same goes for the war graves in France.

The vandalism is not only confined to the hooligans, often the church authorities or councils do damage by bad practice.

I visited a churchyard in Derbyshire and couldn't find any family graves and was later told that the graveyard had been landscaped and tidied up and so everything was now in order but half of the headstones were missing.

I think I'll stick to the records at least you are not affected by the sadness of seeing such mindless damage.

PopT
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30-11-2010, 09:06   #3
Iain Kelly
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All fair points PopT, thanks for that.

After my post yesterday I made a fair amount of progress regarding Loxley Chapel. Upon speaking to 2 English Heritage offices, 2 Conservation Officers, Bradfield Parish Council, the current owner of the chapel and burial ground and the ex Chairman of the Bradfield Community Forum I now have a better understanding of the circumstances. The chapel AND burial ground both belong to the Hagues, of Hague Farming, Bradfield. I had a very frank conversation with William Hague who was extremely helpful and informative. The situation regarding the graves and cemetery is quite complicated as I believe freehold obviously now belongs to the owner but the grave plots belong to the families of the deceased, who “bought” the plot. Some maintenance work has been carried out by the owner. Sheffield Council seem to want nothing to do with this, as it is a privately owned ground. I would argue at this point that I personally consider the church to have a degree of responsibility to make provision for the future of their interned brethren when they sell their buildings and our dead, and also I would strongly question the law which allows a private individual to buy the land on which are buried citizens, this seems wrong somehow. It is not hard to understand why the owner perhaps does not want the responsibility of the upkeep and would be happy for this to fall elsewhere. It is my impression that the owner does not want the burial ground and it is worth mentioning that despite the Council’s suggestion to close it, it remains open for business purely at the behest of the owner. Worth mentioning also is that work has been carried out on the chapel to prevent further decay. I believe there may have been theft of roof lead, heating pipes and other internal fittings.

Non the less the situation remains the same and I still feel that a solution should be sought. I was also informed that there was a move from a community based organisation to make a bid for both chapel and cemetery with a view to bringing both back into the fold of the community. It appears that this actually had the blessing of all sides (including English Heritage who have the building on their “at risk” register) but that the proposal may have faltered. I am going to pursue this and see what can be done to regenerate interest in the proposal. Please do get in touch if you can further the cause in any way.

Iain
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24-07-2011, 15:40   #4
Spotswood
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I have recently visited Loxley chapel and the Graveyard, and to be honest I was shocked to see the state of the graves, all overgrown with nettles and brambles. There are a few things that started me thinking about the whole package of what comes with a Church and a graveyard.
As we now live in 2011 I realise that our views on religion and graveyards have changed dramatically, for various reasons.
The decline of numbers of individuals who attend church has accelerated in recent years, in a nut shell very few people are interested in religion anymore, and so even if this chapel was still open, there would be so few punters that it would need to close any way. The graveyard is large and as I have stated it is badly overgrown. As this Chapel and graveyard are now owned privately by the Hague family I am told, it becomes complex as although the graveyard is in private hands, the individual grave plots are owned seperately. The owners of the graveyard could say that the upkeep of each grave plot is the responsibility of the plot owners. This should not detract from the current owners of the graveyard keeping all access footpaths and walkways free of foliage and in good condition.
As far as I am concerned if you are not prepared to keep the accessways open and in good order, if only from a health and safety point of view, then you should not be allowed to own the land.
The Hague family have responsibilities that they are not living up to.
The Chapel building is in surprisingly good condition, at least structurally.
I accessed the interior through a door at the rear of the chapel which was open, and the interior needs many thousands of pounds spending on it and in these days of reccession the money is simply not there.

I suppose that it all boils down to the fact that people would rather spend money on people who are alive, and not dead.
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25-07-2011, 17:39   #5
ssbenson
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I have family buried at Loxley and have often thought about taking weedkiller and putting it among the graves, the only thing that has stopped me is that some dogooder may object. Maybe if we all got together on this we could have a go at clearing it ourselves.
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25-07-2011, 18:21   #6
johnpm
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Is there a searchable list of names of people buried there? I had Moore relatives in the file grinding trade who lived Loxley/Wisewood for 2 or 3 generations.
John
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25-07-2011, 18:31   #7
ssbenson
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Somebody by the name of Ken Bilborough was trying to make a list of names/graves at Loxley, unfortunately I don't know his number/address but if you get in touch with Sheffield archives when they reopen on Set 5th they may know, Sheffield archives also have the burials on microfilm and you just have to trawl thru' 'til you find who you're looking for, they are difficult to read tho'.
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25-07-2011, 18:53   #8
Tuppie
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News from the Bradfield Historical Society
Over the years the Historical Society has supported the production of several data CDs relating to the Parish of Bradfield. Our latest offering is of the burials at Loxley Congregational Chapel. This is the first time the information has been readily available to all and all the details have been taken from the original burials registers.
The disc contains a fully checked index of the names of those buried in the main parts of the churchyard every one of which has been given a reference number relating to the grave used. A second index of grave reference numbers shows the names of all those buried in that particular grave.
Separately available (at a small cost) are plans of the churchyard, one of which has been drawn up to replace one that has long since been destroyed. From this information we can reasonably accurately find the actual grave.
The CD is only available from ourselves at the Bradfield Historical Society, c/o 27 Chase Road, Loxley, Sheffield S6 6RA at a cost of £5 sterling per copy (including postage within UK destinations). Enquiries can be made by email at bradfield.history@mypostofice.co.uk


Tuppie
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25-07-2011, 20:05   #9
harvey19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuppie View Post
News from the Bradfield Historical Society
Over the years the Historical Society has supported the production of several data CDs relating to the Parish of Bradfield. Our latest offering is of the burials at Loxley Congregational Chapel. This is the first time the information has been readily available to all and all the details have been taken from the original burials registers.
The disc contains a fully checked index of the names of those buried in the main parts of the churchyard every one of which has been given a reference number relating to the grave used. A second index of grave reference numbers shows the names of all those buried in that particular grave.
Separately available (at a small cost) are plans of the churchyard, one of which has been drawn up to replace one that has long since been destroyed. From this information we can reasonably accurately find the actual grave.
The CD is only available from ourselves at the Bradfield Historical Society, c/o 27 Chase Road, Loxley, Sheffield S6 6RA at a cost of £5 sterling per copy (including postage within UK destinations). Enquiries can be made by email at bradfield.history@mypostofice.co.uk


Tuppie
I can confirm old graves can be located by using the CD and site map as I found and cleared the grave of relatives.
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26-07-2011, 17:21   #10
Jon26
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A few years ago I went to a funeral directors at Wadsley Bridge, on the left hand side just before the bridge (its still there). They had a map, which enabled me to find my family grave. I needed a scythe and machette to break through though!

I've not been back for a few years but I'm pleased its still been used. I believe theres a rule which says a burial ground can't be built upon until 50 years has elapsed from the last burial.
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21-12-2012, 18:19   #11
MZWK
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I've been today to put some flowers on the grave of my deceased Grandmother and I am absolutely disgusted by the state of this cemetery so much so that I am now prepared to take legal action against the owners to force them to make the cemetery save for visitors, which clearly it is not. I'm sure that as part of the sale there must have been covenants to ensure safety and upkeep. If anyone is interested in getting this sorted once and for all, let me know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spotswood View Post
I have recently visited Loxley chapel and the Graveyard, and to be honest I was shocked to see the state of the graves, all overgrown with nettles and brambles. There are a few things that started me thinking about the whole package of what comes with a Church and a graveyard.
As we now live in 2011 I realise that our views on religion and graveyards have changed dramatically, for various reasons.
The decline of numbers of individuals who attend church has accelerated in recent years, in a nut shell very few people are interested in religion anymore, and so even if this chapel was still open, there would be so few punters that it would need to close any way. The graveyard is large and as I have stated it is badly overgrown. As this Chapel and graveyard are now owned privately by the Hague family I am told, it becomes complex as although the graveyard is in private hands, the individual grave plots are owned seperately. The owners of the graveyard could say that the upkeep of each grave plot is the responsibility of the plot owners. This should not detract from the current owners of the graveyard keeping all access footpaths and walkways free of foliage and in good condition.
As far as I am concerned if you are not prepared to keep the accessways open and in good order, if only from a health and safety point of view, then you should not be allowed to own the land.
The Hague family have responsibilities that they are not living up to.
The Chapel building is in surprisingly good condition, at least structurally.
I accessed the interior through a door at the rear of the chapel which was open, and the interior needs many thousands of pounds spending on it and in these days of reccession the money is simply not there.

I suppose that it all boils down to the fact that people would rather spend money on people who are alive, and not dead.
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16-11-2013, 20:47   #12
gregnig
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I wonder why the private owners of this grave yard cannot be made to clear up the mess.
Went yesterday to visit our family grave & was absolutely disgusted with the state of the place. The undergrowth is so dense, we had no chance of locating it.
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17-11-2013, 10:20   #13
Jon26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregnig View Post
I wonder why the private owners of this grave yard cannot be made to clear up the mess.
Went yesterday to visit our family grave & was absolutely disgusted with the state of the place. The undergrowth is so dense, we had no chance of locating it.
Does anyone know if there are any war graves at Loxley?

If there are the CWGC can be quite hot in writing to the owners to make the graves accessible.

Just a thought.
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17-11-2013, 13:26   #14
gregnig
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After making our way through the undergrowth we noticed one war grave which appeared to have been cared for.

Wonder if any more amongst the tall brambles & other growth?
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17-11-2013, 15:49   #15
MZWK
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I'd have thought there would have been. Surely someone will help sort this out!
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17-11-2013, 16:53   #16
Jon26
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There are 13, assuming its classed as Loxley URC.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.as...name&order=asc
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17-11-2013, 17:18   #17
MZWK
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I've emailed the guys already. Would be good if other people could too!
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18-11-2013, 18:50   #18
gregnig
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Have made enquiries today. Sheffield City Council have powers of enforcement & it is understood they have been involved with the site quite recently.
Since the public have access, I would have thought that the private owners have a duty of care particularly on Health & Safety grounds.
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18-11-2013, 18:59   #19
MZWK
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I contacted the council a year ago and they were less than helpful.
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18-11-2013, 19:14   #20
gregnig
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Let's put pressure on them ! Have contacted one of the Councillors asking what the current situation is.

Last edited by gregnig; 18-11-2013 at 19:15. Reason: modified
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