The book, detailing the painstaking work carried out to record the gravestones in Settle parish Church, was produced as part of Stories in Stone, a scheme of conservation and community projects in the Ingleborough area.

The scheme was developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership led by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Lockdown has given Sarah Lister bonus research time.

She is currently working with the Friends of the Settle-to-Carlisle Line to research the lives (and deaths) of the navvies working on the railway. Fascinating stuff and well worth a read when it is ready.

For now, Sarah has uncovered a story about a poor couple who had an expensive gravestone, and a very unlucky daughter.

John Slinger started life as a cotton weaver at Runley Bridge Mill in Settle.

Young John got into a few spots of trouble - caught ‘rioting with assault’ at the Spread Eagle Inn and fishing illegally.

John liked fishing, a cheap hobby which provided food, but had to give up his fishing tackle once caught.

John married Mary Hargreaves who gave him ten children but, with all those mouths to feed, became a ‘pauper weaver.’

John died, aged 53, when his youngest son was just five and is buried in the graveyard with a fine stone.

Six of John and Mary’s children died in infancy. Of those that survived, most moved away.

Daughter Harriet married David Plank who was a railway labourer.

David was the youngest of nine children whose whole family spent their lives labouring on the railways, living in navvy huts.

Navvies were relatively well paid but it was a dangerous occupation.

David’s 16 year old brother Alfred Plank became another statistic on the navvy fatality list.

Navvies were building a tunnel underneath the grounds of Haddon Hall, near Bakewell, so that the railway didn’t disrupt the land owner’s view. Alfred was driving a horse into the tunnel when the tunnel supports collapsed killing five men and a horse.

They were ‘fearfully mutilated, their limbs broken in numerous parts’. One of the (experienced) workers said, ‘I don’t know how it happened no more than the man in the moon’. Two more young railway labourers died there in subsequent months.

David Plank met Harriet Slinger while working on the Settle to Carlisle railway. They lived in Twisleton’s Yard with Harriet’s widowed mum Mary.

Their neighbours included two other navvies who both died working on the railway.

After the railway was built David and Harriet moved to Carnforth. David was a railway guard and Harriet began the production of ten children.

In 1913 most of the family emigrated to Canada.

In May 1915, Harriet booked a trip back to Lancaster to see the children who had stayed behind. The ship was called the Lusitania. Her son, Hargreaves Plank was a disabled naval seaman, and was the first violinist at Loew’s Winter Garden. He strongly advised his mother not to travel until the war was over.

The Lusitania sank on May 5, 1915.

Amazingly Harriet survived but died of delayed shock in July. Son Hargreaves died of pneumonia in France during the war, leaving a widow and son.

Meanwhile John and Mary Slinger’s daughter Margaret stayed in Settle and married Thomas Bulcock, the gamekeeper to Charles Swale who lived at Ingfield Lodge (Falcon Manor).

Charles was the grandson of the first vicar of Settle Church. Their daughter Mary Jane compiled a recipe book to raise money for the Church Organ Fund in 1912. Mary Jane was captain of the women’s cricket team. Charles Swale was the umpire.

Charles Swale died under tragic circumstances and Thomas Bulcock was the unlucky man who discovered his body.

Charles left an annuity to Margaret and Thomas, some of which paid for John’s gravestone.

If you want to read more about the fascinating tales which have been coming out of the graveyard you can get a copy by going to the Settle Graveyard Project’s Facebook page or, YDMT website, the Folly in Settle or Limestone Books.