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HomeNewsAn oasis of tranquility in Farsley - thanks to 22,000 volunteer hours

An oasis of tranquility in Farsley – thanks to 22,000 volunteer hours

By Fran and John Barker

THE first view of Farsley Rehoboth Baptist Burial Ground is the long sweep of a high stone wall as you travel along Coal Hill Lane between Farsley and Rodley.

Prior to the purchase of this historic site by the charity in 2019, behind the wall was an impenetrable forest following years of neglect. 

Four years later and 22,000 hours of volunteers’ time has been invested to create an oasis of tranquillity  and peace, showcasing memorials commemorating over 4,000 local residents interred over the last 200 years.

The Rehoboth walls which enclose three sides are 150 years old, with the double iron gates in the centre providing the only means of access. 

The Friends group at the Rehoboth Burial Ground in Farsley.

Sections had collapsed and all the full quarter-mile length needed the mortar replacing and repointing. 

The steep hill behind the top part of the wall had been a sledging favourite for decades with the wall acting as a “stop brake” for the sledgers.

Rebuildiing the walls took place over the course of 18 months, including two winters. 

The only interruptions were spring 2022, when birds were nesting in parts of the broken wall. This area was left until the young birds had fledged and flown. 

Building and landscaping teams have rebuilt scores of collapsed graves and are currently landscaping our new bereavement services area.

The trees are infinitely precious and define the character of the Rehoboth. Any spare wood is recycled into our well-established merchandise, including Rehoboth reindeer and wood/glass light up objects. 

Any wood and ivy roots that cannot be recycled are available from the entrance. Just look out for the “Free Wood” sign outside the gates. 

However the reclamation is also about the heritage and history of those interred in the Rehoboth. 

Volunteers quickly discovered that more than 260 graves had no visible marker or dedication. 

By Easter 2023, thanks to the generosity of supporters, 205 of these graves will have locally made crosses and plaques bearing full details of those interred in what were previously anonymous plots. 

The top slopes of the Rehoboth site are west facing and the setting sun reflects on the plaques as the last act of the day.

Volunteers have installed electricity, Wi-Fi and CCTV infrastructure to give more options to both protect the Rehoboth and provide information, including a fully illustrated online database.

Tours can be booked every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday via the website

To assist, sponsor a grave marker or to find out more about the work, please see either the Friends’ website or e-mail

The group would like to thank all its committed volunteers, supporters and donors who are making this reclamation possible.

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