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SITE 176 ROTHLEY BAPTIST CHURCHYARD

Date: 1st October 2003

This is a small burial ground with no public access attached to the Rothley Baptist Church. It was closed for burials in 1904 at the same time as the Parish Church burial ground. The Baptist Church was originally dated 1800 according to a plaque above the original entrance and later extended. It could be that the burial ground was reduced in size for this as the gravestones are lined around the burial ground walls.

There are no 'Ancient' trees in this burial ground, there are some smaller ornamental type trees but it is laid out as a garden with some shrubs so all is not lost for wildlife.

We met Philip Lawton at the church and we discussed its history, burial ground as well as the chapel. In conclusion, Philip would like to see the history of both duly researched and saw this as a project for the younger members of the church. He will report back in due course.

We have arranged a further meeting for the 8th October as Philip will be giving us tuition in the use of his GPS (Global Positioning System) so that it can be used for giving an 8 figure grid reference when recording trees and for help in the project of recording the old parish boundaries.

17th April 2009

I cannot believe that it is 6 years since our first visit but the 1st October 2003 has led to so much activity in 2009.

I made a visit earlier in the year to record the headstones in the Burial Ground so that I could include them on the Rothley village website. My neighbour came to see me in March 2009 to say that the church had decided to let the pipe organ rot but he felt that it was part of our history and heritage and what could be done to save it. He came to the right person!

The Heritage Wardens Team was planning another Civic Trust Heritage Open Day on September 13th and I came up with the idea of including the Baptist Church as part of the day to feature the organ and the burial ground. This is now being organised.

Much activity has taken place and members of the church are very happy for us to work on their behalf.

I have written up the history of the pipe organ using the Baptist Minutes Books from late 1800 to mid 1900.

I got together a non-Baptist team to do a massive tidy up of the burial ground and garden and this is ongoing at the time of writing. The garden is very overgrown as elderly church members are unable to cope with the work.

The headstones have been recorded and will feature in our proposed book "The Departure of the Dead" which we hope to have ready for our Heritage Open Day.

The Harry Hames Trust, a Rothley village charity, has agreed to start the Save the Organ Fund with a donation of £500 and the church is organising a fund raising evening in May.

The history of the pipe organ, made by Taylors of Leicester, has been written up and a copy of the Dedication opening organ recital was found inside an old Minutes Book.

This small, unknown Burial Ground should create a lot of interest on our HODS day as it is a very secret garden in the centre of the village but unknown to the majority of residents. It should prove to be a talking point on the day.

We meet for work in the garden on Friday mornings from 10-12 when the church members hold a coffee morning so we are becoming well known for the work that we do.

Members of the garden tidy team are:

Anita Armstrong, Steve Mitchell, Frank Whitby, Marion Watson, Brenda Sutherland, Richard Tansley, Michaela Rhodes and Marion Vincent.

The HODS day on September 13th 2009 was very much enjoyed and visitors were very surprised at this unknown site. Some came to look for ancestors but most just wanted to see into this secluded piece of land in the centre of the village. It was very worthwhile.

12th February 2010

Anita, Richard and Marion paid a visit to tidy the summer vegetation. A further visit will be needed in the early spring to weed as there are many years of seed still waiting to emerge!

15th March 2013

Marion and Anita were back for a tidy of the borders. The snowdrops were lovely with a big increase on previous years due to being split the previous spring after flowering.

Site 176 Rothley Baptist Church from Cross Green in 2002. The garden is to the left of the main entrance behind a granite wall.

Site 176 in October 2003

Site 176 in October 2003

Site 176 in October 2003

Site 176 in October 2003

Site 176 in October 2003

Site 176 Before the work. March 2009

Site 176 Before the work. March 2009

Site 176 Before the work. March 2009

Site 176 Before the work. Frank Whitby removing ivy and brambles from the wire fencing. April 2009

Site 176 Before the work. March 2009

Site 176 Before the work. March 2009

Side of chapel showing doors into the garden. October 2003

Site 176 Work in progress. Steve Mitchell straightening the gravestones. March 2009

Site 176 Steve Mitchell straightening the gravestones. March 2009

Site 176 Work in progress. April 2009

Site 176 Work in progress. April 2009

Site 176 Frank Whitby sowing grass seed where the rubbish once was piled. June 2009

Site 176 Frank Whitby with his device for lifting up sunken gravestones. June 2009

Site 176 Frank Whitby lifting the gravestones. June 2009

Site 176 Steve Mitchell joins Frank Whitby lifting the gravestones. July 2009

Site 176 Steve Mitchell and Frank Whitby making an excellent job of straightening and making safe the gravestones. July 2009

Site 176 Taking shape. April 2009

Site 176 Working round the borders, ready to tackle the ivy. April 2009

Site 176 Anita Armstrong starting the borders whilst Steve Mitchell finishes off the gravestones. April 2009

Site 176 All looking very much better. April 2009

Site 176 What a difference. July 2009

Site 176 Gravestones all straight and the garden tidied. July 2009

Site 176 One of the origianl pews from the Baptist Church. July 2009

Site 176 Borders planted up. July 2009

Site 176 Borders now tidy. July 2009

Site 176 in July 2012

Site 176 The Team:
Left to right Marion Vincent, Anita Armstrong, Brenda Sutherland 24th April 2009

Site 176 More of The Team:
Left to right Frank Whitby, Michaela Rhodes, Brenda Sutherland, Marion Vincent, Anita Armstrong, Richard Tansley. 1st May 2009

Site 176 'The Organiser' Marion Vincent MBE
1st May 2009

To read about the history of the Rothley Baptist Church with links to the history of the church organ and headstones, please click on the following:

To return to the Landscape of Rothley and all the sites please click on the following link: