The Friends of Raikes Road are a voluntary group that aim, with the support of Skipton Town Council & the Heritage Lottery Fund, to bring the burial ground back into the heritage of the area and restore a forgotten and neglected corner of its Victorian history.
The restoration project, whilst respecting and preserving its cultural and environmental sanctity, will restore the burial ground to its former glory. Making it accessible to local people and visitors to the town, providing a unique and educational glimpse into the history of Skipton and south Craven, and providing space for quiet recreation and reflection on even the busiest of days.
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.