Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground

With kind support from Skipton Town Council.

In 1859 Daniel Joy was living in the Millfields district of Skipton and it was on 15th August of that year that he married Mary Lowcock. Mary was one of 5 children of William and Sarah Lowcock, who for many years had run the Castle Inn, Skipton. The marriage was solemnized at Skipton Register Office. The witnesses were Hannah Joy and Maria Petty.  Daniel and Mary went on to have eight children.


Their first child, Sarah, was born in 1859, suggesting that there was a degree of urgency in Daniel and Mary getting married. To begin with, the family of three continued to live in Millfields and it is likely that Daniel was able to earn a living working with Mary’s family at the Castle Inn. Indeed, with Daniel having a father and now a farther-in-law who were in the innkeeping business, plus a wife who had grown up in that business, it is not surprising that his career took a turn in that direction.


By 1861 Daniel and Mary, together their daughter, Sarah (age 1 year), were living in the village of Halton East. Daniel would have had to commute from Halton East to his place of work in Bolton Abbey, where he was employed as a servant (herdsman) at the Devonshire Arms, the household of William Bayley Wilson.  When Daniel and Mary’s second daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1862, they were still living in Halton East. But, apparently this commuting between home and work proved to be too inconvenient because by the time that their third child, Anthony, was born, on 28th August 1863, they were living in Bolton Bridge, near to the Devonshire Arms.


They had their fourth child, Hannah, in 1865 and their fifth child, Mary, in 1867. However, tragedy was soon to befall the family. In 1868 they experienced a triple loss. Firstly, in the span of one month, they lost two daughters. On 23rd June 1868 their oldest daughter, Sarah, died aged just eight years and eight months. Then, on July 23rd 1868, they lost their newly born daughter, Jane, who was just 1 month old. The Joy sisters were both buried at Priory Church, Bolton Abbey.  The family’s grief would have been compounded with news, just a month later, regarding the death of Daniel’s sister, Hannah (Stockdale), who had returned to Hebden after spending time living in Liverpool with her brothers.


The loss of two daughters in this way must have been greatly felt and it is not surprising that when, in 1870, the birth of their seventh child produced another daughter, she was christened Sarah Maria, after their eldest daughter, Sarah.  This newly constituted household is recorded in the census of 1871. Daniel (age 45), an ‘Agricultural Labourer’, is living next-door-but-one to Bolton Bridge with his wife Mary (age 36) and his children: Elizabeth (age 9), Anthony (age 7), Hannah (age 6), Mary (age 4) and Sarah Maria (age 1 year).  However, by the end of that year Daniel had moved his family to Skipton. Perhaps the reason for this move was that he had managed to secure employment at the Ship Brewery in Skipton, working as a Brewer’s Assistant. Another consideration may have been that Mary was pregnant again, so this would have been a move closer to her parents.

The Joy Family

We have had a number of enquiries from various parts of the country about people buried in Raikes Road.  In particular, Dave Joy has members of his family, who provide interesting and tragic information, which Dave has kindly agreed to share with us, including the funeral card of Mary Joy, which is included here.

I had been fairly successful in tracing my family history. My great-great-grandfather, Daniel Joy, was part of the great exodus from the Yorkshire Dales that took place in the mid-1800s. He was one of the many Dales folk who relocated to Liverpool to become cowkeepers. I had most of the names and dates of my ancestors and I knew that Daniel had moved his young family to Liverpool in 1873, following the death of his wife, Mary. Furthermore, I knew from her death certificate that Mary had taken her own life – drowned herself in a millpond whilst suffering from temporary insanity. I was shocked when I first discovered this – though my wife, Jean, informed me that she was not at all surprised to hear that there was evidence of insanity in the Joy gene pool. I wanted to know more. And it was this motivation that led me, accompanied by my ever-patient wife, to visit Skipton one Friday morning in May 2014.

The funeral card of Mary Joy

Mary Joy’s funeral card (see left) stated that she had been buried at The Cemetery, Skipton on 6th December 1872. A quick Google search and I had the directions to Waltonwrays Cemetery in Carleton Road, Skipton. We made the 50-mile journey from Lytham St Annes to Waltonwrays in good time. When we arrived, Jean waited in the car whilst I popped into the records office to make sure we had the right place. We didn’t. The very helpful officer behind the desk informed me that the cemetery did not open until 1876. “She’ll probably be in Raikes Road, mate,” he said.


To cut a long story short, we ended up knocking on the door to the office of Skipton Town Council and were fortunate enough to find Les at home. Leaving Jean to enjoy an ice cream in the town centre, I spent the next hour wading through the undergrowth searching for Mary’s final resting place – but to no avail. I returned the padlock key to Les, defeated. ‘No Joy,” I informed him. Nevertheless, he promised to pass on my details to the Chairman of the Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground. The subsequent exchange of information that took place between Jean Robinson and myself was a revelation for which I am deeply grateful. It has helped me in piecing together the somewhat tragic story of my great-great-grandparents.