Old burial facts

In 1668 and 1678, Acts were passed stating that bodies had to buried in wool. This was to bolster the wool trade and reduce importation of linen. Some old Parish register entries state ‘LLAN’ which guarantees that the body had been wrapped in wool. The Acts were repealed in 1814. At this time in history, people were not buried in individual coffins. The Parish coffin was used to carry the body from the house to the church yard.

In 1689 the Toleration Act allowed non-conformists (e.g Quakers) to have their own burial grounds. From this time relatives could choose where to bury their family members. Yorkshire Quakers started meetings in 1652. There were lots of famous Quaker families in York – including Tuke and Rowntree. The Tuke’s set up The Retreat, a mental health hospital, which was ahead of its time. One of my ancestors, Thomas Clifford, was a servant at The Friend’s School (Quaker) when he died in 1890. He is buried in the graveyard at The Retreat, along with his wife Sarah (née Benson, died 1928) and their daughter Annie (died 1940). This is the same graveyard as Joseph Rowntree, of chocolate fame, is buried in. All the grave stones are all the same size and shape.

Grave of Joseph and Sarah Rowntree (née Stephenson)

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