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The Young Grave Digger
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Author:  Elaine [ Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  The Young Grave Digger

I spent a lot of my childhood with Granny Ashworth née Clarkson of Sutcliffe and Clarkson family tree. She was born in the 1880s and had a younger sister who was proper Victorian prim called Liz. Both the two sisters used to tell me tales of times gone by. Of Babies alive one minute, dead the next, of their childhood home in Brennand street and their own mother who gave birth to twelve children.
I used to listen with fascination and look forward to my regular days out at Haggate Chapel and graveyard, where we would spend hours caring for the family vault. I loved trotting around the graves reading the inscriptions and noting how many children died young and babies in infancy. I remember the massive worms that we unearthed in the graves whilst weeding and developed a lifelong fascination with old graveyards.
Unfortunately my trips to the graveyard came to an abrupt end one summer,following the incident. It happened one afternnon when Granny had gone to the toilet and great aunt Liz had gone to the chapel for water. I as a seven year old child had been left by the grave and had for some reason decided to dig a big hole. Granny was always the more amenable of the two Victorian sisters, but unfortunately she was stuck on the loo. That left Great Aunt Liz, a lady that had had little dealings with children and was rather dour, with little sense of humor.
When Great Aunt Liz returned to the grave, horror of horrors, there I was caught red handed trying to dig bodies up! And to make matters worse on further questioning I apparently complained that I had hit bricks and could nt find any bones. Soil was strewn all around, the grave in a shambles, plants uprooted and Aunt Liz beside herself with shock and me not understanding what the fuss was
about awaited for Granny to return. I don't know what was said, but I was never allowed back again,much to my own mother's delight, who decided that it was a morbid place to take a youngster anyway.

Author:  Mel [ Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Young Grave Digger

Welcome to the site Elaine.

Your childood tale made me chuckle, I can just picture the scene!

I got quite excited when I saw Sutcliffe, I thought you may have connected to my own tree but if the Clarkson is Richard Clarkson, then it's Leavers (Kris) tree. Nice to have you on board all the same. I hope there are more memories to come...

Author:  Elaine [ Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Young Grave Digger

Yes I think it is Kris's tree. I did research my family tree a few years back and I was able to fill in a few details through Granny's tales. Richard Clarkson and Margaret Sutcliffe were my great grand parents, I have a photo somewhere of Margaret. I still have fond memories of Haggate and keep thinking I will visit the family vault, strangely enough my Gt Aunt Liz mentioned in my tale was the last family member interred there in the family vault.

I lived in Briercliffe, Lane Bottom between 1971 & 1977 and was also married at St James church, so Briercliffe will always be in my heart.

Author:  portia [ Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Young Grave Digger

Hi Elaine, and welcome.
I assume your granny would have been Mary Clarkson? My husband is descended from Mary Sutcliffe - who was Margaret Sutcliffe's sister. Small world?

Author:  Elaine [ Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Young Grave Digger

Thank you Portia, Yes my Granny was Mary Clarkson, I spent the first eleven years of my life living just a few doors down from her and saw her daily. I used to spend hours sitting on her lap listening to tales of years gone by, munching homemade Parkin and brandy snaps in front of the open fire. She could talk about her family as if it was just last week and I learned so much from her. A few years ago I did spend quite a bit of time tracing my family and meeting up with family members who I either had never met, or hadn't seen in years.

Author:  Gloria [ Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Young Grave Digger

Hi Elaine, I loved your tale of the time in the graveyard, I would have loved to have seen your aunts face :lol: :lol:

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