Friends of Darfield Churchyard

The group was formed in June 2006. Its aim is to maintain the churchyard, allowing access to all gravestones and making the churchyard a safer place for visitors. At the same time we want to balance the needs of wildlife and make it a good habitat for plants, animals and birds.

Friends of Darfield Churchyard is a group of volunteers. We have a constitution, insurance and a health and safety policy. Our income is from grants and public donations. We take advice from Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, the Wild Life Trust and R.S.P.B Old Moor.

Our first aim was clearance followed by development of areas for wild flowers. We have large areas of snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells. The mature trees are a magnificent sight with a large variety of species. Wildlife is flourishing with birds, foxes and snakes.

We have many plans for the churchyard, gravestones, trees, paths, flora and fauna. It will take years and a lot of money for us to reach our goals and then to continue to maintain the churchyard. You can help us with this by becoming a member of the group or by donations.

Projects which we have already completed –

  • Tarmac of several paths within the churchyard to make access easier.
  • Clearing of the overgrown part of the churchyard so that all gravestones can now be seen.
  • Restoration of the memorial to Houghton Main Cage Disaster of 1886.
  • Restoration of the grave of Ebenezer Elliott, the ‘Corn Law Rhymer’.
  • Restoration of the grave of Canon Sorby.
  • Re-erection of several headstones and crosses which had fallen.
  • Clearing of the North side of the church, enabling better drainage and the laying down of 28 gravestones which had been moved in the clean-up of the 1970’s and left in a pile.
  • Bird boxes placed in the churchyard.
  • Several dead or dying trees removed and replacements planted.
  • A new mower was purchased as Barnsley Council withdrew from their commitment to cutting the grass in the top part of the churchyard after having done so for 40 years. We now have to maintain the whole of the churchyard.

Projects for the future –

  • Conservation of the box tombs within the churchyard.
  • More work with dead or dying trees and replacements.
  • The ongoing weekly maintenance of the churchyard.
  • To finish the checking and updating of the memorial inscriptions and the churchyard plan.

We are always in need of more workers in the churchyard. Our volunteers work there each Monday and Thursday afternoon (weather permitting) and usually number about four. The churchyard is a very large area so there is room for many more volunteer workers. Please consider whether you could help.

We publish a newsletter a couple of times a year to let people know what our latest plans are. Copies of the past newsletters are available on this website and give much more detail about the work that we have done.

If you would like to send in a donation for any of our work, please send any cheque, payable to ‘Friends of Darfield Churchyard’, to :- Mr J Kendall, 8 Meadow Drive, Darfield, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S73 9HL.