Mark’s History: Forgotten cholera graves of Bramley Baptist Churchyard

Photo: Mark Stevenson

Having seen the odd article in the West Leeds Dispatch about the volunteers giving up their time to look after the Bramley Baptist Church Graveyard on Hough Lane I went up to have a look, writes Mark Stevenson.

As you may have read in the Dispatch Major John Geoffrey Appleyard and many others who fell in the World Wars are buried there.

The memorial celebrating the life of decorated war hero Major John Geoffrey Appleyard is in Bramley Baptist Church. Photo: West Leeds Dispatch

Knowing that the people involved in the Bramley War Memorial had this well covered I wanted to see what else I could find.

Having walked up from Rodley it was interesting to see that the great crane makers of Rodley – Joseph Booth & Bros – have family buried here, one of whom fell in World War Two.

Grave of the Booth family from Rodley. Photo: Mark Stevenson


They used to live in Longfield House in Rodley, roughly where Longfield Garth is now.

Thomas Smith & Sons and Jeremiah Balmforth, both great engineers of their time based in Rodley, also have family buried here.

The graves that really got my interest were the cholera graves right at the back of the graveyard, nearly so overgrown you might miss them.

These date from the 1849 outbreak that killed thousands across the country no-one is sure of the exact figure due to lack of accurate record keeping.

The grave of a cholera victim in Bramley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Many died in Leeds and the townships of West Leeds were no exception.

Another cholera victim’s grave. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Something else that was a bit of a surprise to me was how old the graveyard is –  nearly 240 years old.



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