THE Bishop of Leeds paid a visit to Settle Parish Church as part of its ‘Ascension 180’ celebrations - and saw some of the work that has been done on putting the churchyard’s ancient graves in the spotlight.

The Right Rev Nick Baines met members of the Settle District U3A, whose Family History Group has been updating the original 1842 plan of the graveyard.

He also took part in a ‘question and answer’ session with parishioners during the visit.

The history group members have been transcribing the inscriptions on the headstones and they have also investigated the stories some of the people who lie in the graveyard.

These, together with a new plan, photographs of the graves and a child-friendly trail guide are on display in the church throughout the summer.

The group’s Sally Waterson said: “The Family History Group have been working on a project to update the original 1842 plan of the first graveyard, now designated as ‘Ancient’ to distinguish it from later sites.

“The first burials in this new site, which took over locally from the very ancient parish church of St Alkelda in Giggleswick, included many babies, who had no headstones.

“As later family members joined them, family headstones were erected, as well as individual ones – many for the navvies working on the Settle-Carlisle railway.” The church has held several ‘Ascension 180’ events this year to mark its 180th birthday.

At Easter the church featured a display of historic documents relating to the church and its early years, as well as the launch of a celebration ale called Ascension 180, which was specially brewed by Settle Brewery.