Huddersfield & District Family History Society are holding their annual fair this month ... and one of the main features will be tales from the crypt.
The event on Saturday, November 12, from 10am-4pm will be at Cathedral House on St Thomas’ Road near Huddersfield town centre and this year the focus of their own stand at the event will be to follow up on the work their volunteers did for Heritage Open Weekend in September.
They supported Holy Trinity Church in Trinity Street with an exhibition and sales of booklets related to the church – and the day included tours around the crypt. The basement area was originally designed to accommodate up to 800 crypt compartment burials. However, the practice of burying people in crypts fell out of fashion and only 15 burials of this nature took place between 1823 and 1870.
Society volunteers used their research skills to find out the family histories of the people buried in the special chambers beneath the church and went on to produce a booklet about this research for the day.
One notable person buried beneath the church is Sigismund Schwann (1801-1828) who came to Huddersfield as a young man working for the family business which was based in Germany. He dealt in exports to Germany and Italy.
Unfortunately he met his death while returning from Halifax on horseback. The horse bolted and threw him near to the Edgerton Toll Bar and the Leeds Intelligencer of September 1828 gives an unusually descriptive account of his demise. A full report can be found in the booklet which will be on sale at the fair.
Holy Trinity Church itself has a very interesting history and this year celebrates its 200th anniversary. It was built as a Chapel of Ease to the main parish church in Huddersfield as the population grew due to the Industrial Revolution.
Benjamin Haigh Allen, who is also buried in a vault in the crypt, was the church’s benefactor. Building the church cost him £12,000 and its construction took three years.
Holy Trinity also played an important part in the early education of the children of Huddersfield and as part of preparations for Heritage Weekend in September Andy Barber from the church published another booklet with the Society’s assistance which looks in detail at this history of local education and which will also be available at the fair.
The event will be supported by several local family history societies, Huddersfield Local History Society, Colne Valley Museum, local civic societies and a range of commercial booksellers and genealogical suppliers.
There will be three talks. These are The Edgerton Cemetery Project by Mike Hardcastle and Roger Gill which will help visitors to understand more about the records the Society holds for Huddersfield’s largest cemetery; Classic Crimes of West Yorkshire by Martin Baggoley; local historian Edgar Holroyd-Doveton will speak about Turnpike Roads for Family & Local Historians.
Huddersfield & District Family History Society is a charity run exclusively by around 30 volunteers and has 900 members both locally and worldwide.
The Society’s main aim is to provide help, support and guidance to those researching their family history and it does this by opening a research room in Meltham for six sessions a week, providing family history courses for beginners and providing research assistance to those who need additional help.
The Society has transcribed the baptismal, marriage and burial records of most churches around Kirklees and those records will be available to the public on the day of the fair.
Admission to the fair is £2.50 for adults and free for children under the age of 16.