In 1858 the Home Office issued instructions that there were to be no
more burials in St John’s churchyard, other than in family vaults as a
consequence the local board formed its own burial board. After a
election the following members had been elected to the board: James
Greaves, Warp sizer, Henry Gregory, Tailor and Draper, William Raws,
Tailor and Draper, William Tagg, Fent Merchant, Charles Stewart, Cotton
Manufacturer, J. H. Worall, Surgeon, Ashworth Taylor, Woollen Printer,
James Nuttall, Publican, John Howarth, Cashier. Mr Nuttall however
resigned his seat at the first meeting and his place was taken by Mr
Redman and sometime later Mr Edward Hoyle took Mr Taylor's place.
The first meeting of the board was held on June 25th 1858.
However four years elapsed between receiving the Home Office
notice and the opening of the cemetery at Fairwall. By this time
in 1862 there were more
than 7,000 people
buried in St John’s
churchyard plus those
at Ebenezer, an
estimate of 12,000 all
buried within a few
yards of Bacup centre.
The first person to be
buried in the new
cemetery on April 12th 1862 was a married woman by
the name of Hannah Haworth of Britannia aged 46.
There were three chapels on the cemetery erected in 1869 the Roman Catholic which
closed and was demolished in 1985 the Church of England demolished in the 1970s
and the General Nonconformist in the 1960s.It’s hard to imagine today what the cemetery
probably looked like when it was new it is after all 148 years old. When Bacup Cemetery was full of elaborate tombstones in
many cases the designs on these tombstones were closely allied to the livelihood or interest of the people buried beneath them.
At one time there were two graves adorned with cornets only one is now visible, whilst another bore the replica of a harmonium
complete with keyboard, pedals and music stand. In death men who had faithfully served their country in battle were accorded
military honours on their graves. Bacup Cemetery gives testimony to many brave
local soldiers. On the the grave of a young drummer boy killed in the Great War
you could see a drum and drumsticks carved into the stone, while a pair of
crossed sabers marks the grave of Sergeant Instructor Henry Rogers who saw
service at the battles of Alma and Inkerman during the Crimean War.Many of
these more elaborate stones are no longer visible having been vandalised
years ago, there are still odd ones to catch ones attention such has the grave
of Private Fred Riding, Bacups first Great War burial in 1915,