The Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground were formed as a volunteer group working under the auspices of Skipton Town Council and the owner of the Ground, the incumbent Rector of Holy Trinity Parish Church, Skipton. The aims of the Friends - to bring the Ground back into the heritage of the area, to research it, enhance and preserve its environment and, through Open Days, to allow public access – continue and have been helped over the years by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Craven District Council, Skipton Mechanics Institute and Skipton Town Council. Restoration work continues to respect and preserve the cultural and environmental sanctity of this previously-neglected and forgotten corner of Victorian Skipton.
Raikes Road Burial Ground
Opened between 1846 and 1876, it remains the only burial ground in the town still in its original state.
The burials at the site provide a fascinating and unique insight into Skipton’s Victorian community and include some notable Skiptonians such as Rudyard Kipling’s grandparents and the Reverend William Cartman, who officiated at Charlotte Brontë’s funeral. Plus heroes of the Napoleonic war, the Crimea war and an Australian from the First World War; as well as many local trades people and characters.
The last burials took place around 1900, but the site remains consecrated ground. At some stage the burial ground included a chapel and a mortuary, with associated pathways, but there is now little trace of these facilities on the ground.
Due to historical neglect, the ground has become something of a wildlife haven with trees over 250 years old, various wildflowers and grasses.
Rudyard Kipling's grandparents.
The Rev. Joseph and Mrs. Kipling. By kind permission of the National Trust.
For the latest on the work being done see the News section.