Thurstonland Graveyard Project

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Thurstonland Graveyard Project

This website has been created to provide a comprehensive record of the memorial headstones
within the churchyard at the parish church of St Thomas at Thurstonland in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

The survey was started in 2009, when I first found a number of my Gill family graves there.
Since then the project has developed into a much wider project, which is still ongoing.
The available records for the graveyard are incomplete. The only plan available was created circa 1880 when
the main area was laid out. It is apparent that areas intended as pathways in that plan now contain graves.
There is no record of graves, usually known as "Sextons Records", available but some entries in the church
burial records include margin notes which appear to be a reference to a grave location.

The Location Plan
I was privileged to be able to see and copy the original graveyard plan and this became the basis for the plan
included in this website. However, when I began to transcribe and cross refer the burial register data
to these locations descrepancies became obvious. Both references are included in the register transcript. It
is my intention that the references in the register will eventually be applied to the MI pages.

The Burial Register
The transcription of this data began by collecting the entries relevant to my own family history and then grew
to include those entries associated with the Memorial Inscriptions. Eventually the site will include all the available register entries.
The first entries were made on 5th March 1862 when two sisters, aged 9 months and 3 years respectivley, were buried.
At this time the register heading read "Burials in the Parish of Kirkburton, in the Thurstonland District".
During these first few years occasional notes were added to the entries which might refer to the circumstances
of the persons death, or, be a comment about the persons role in village life. The entries were also copied into the Register at
Kirkburton.
Below the entry made on the 3rd October 1870 the following note appears "The Church of St Thomas was concecrated this day"
The Register heading then becomes "Burials in the parish of Thurstonland"

The Storthes Hall Hospital connection
Also known as Storthes Hall Asylum, Storthes Hall Mental Hospital and more recently North Spring House.
Examination of the burial register quickly shows that a large number of burials of former patients of the hospital
have taken place in this graveyard. Approaching 2000 have already been noted. The majority of these burials are
in unmarked graves. Whilst the lack of detailed records prevents the precise location of where these graves to be found
it may be helpful to family historians to have some guide as to where their relations are buried.
The burial register incudes the signature (not always readily legible!) of the Officiating Minister. Many of these signatures
include a note of the signatories office. This shows that, as well as burials by the Established Church,
both Non Conformist and Catholic burials have taken place in the Thurstonland parish church graveyard.
The West Yorkshire Archives Service holds many records about Storthes Hall Hospital.