Researcher Sarah Lister has been delving further into the lives of those buried at Settle’s Holy Ascension Church. Here she looks at the Procters...

SETTLE Graveyard Project is all about commemorating the lives of those buried in its graveyard and with Remembrance Day just having been commemorated in the district, some graveyard ‘residents’ deserve a particular mention, not least the Procter siblings.

Read on to see what has been uncovered through Sarah’s investigations....

The incredible Procter Siblings . . . for God and country.

James Procter and his wife Mary Ann Close had six children while James ran his business ‘The People’s Tailor and Hatter’ in New Street, now Station Road, in Settle. James is remembered sitting on the floor cross legged to do his work, the norm for tailors in those days.

James had several apprentices and also employed some of the Belgian refugees of the First World War.

Mary Ann died in February 1917, aged 66, unaware of the misfortune her family would suffer, but more on her later.

Their youngest two children, Sidney James Procter and Doris Jane Procter, both signed up to serve their country in WW1.

At the time of the 1911 census Sidney James, aged 16, was a plumber’s apprentice. He joined the army reserves in 1915, working for the British Expeditionary Force.

He was invalided to the UK in March 1918. Once recovered he joined the Royal Navy Volunteers and was aboard the the ship ‘Hawke’ when tragedy struck.

He died of wounds on September 3, 1918, aged 24. Sidney is commemorated in Boyelles Communal Cemetery, France.

The Settle Division of St John Ambulance had been formed in 1904, initially just for men, of course. They had a rather primitive cycle ambulance.

After a few years a women’s nursing division was added and by 1915 there were 29 female officers and nursing sisters including Mary Ann and daughter Doris Jane.

Mary Ann was a member for 22 years and became the Divisional Lady Superintendent. When Mary Ann died her coffin was borne by members of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade.

Part of Mary Ann’s role was to encourage young girls, including Doris Jane, to volunteer for the VAD - Voluntary Aid Detachment.

Did she realise the possible consequences of this? In her spare time, daughter Doris enjoyed performing for the Settle Amateur Operatic Society.

From November 1915 Doris served with the VAD at the 5th Northern General Hospital, Leicester. Tragically, she contracted septicaemia after nursing a soldier in France.

She was brought back to Birmingham and died of pneumonia on 17 December 1918.

The Five Sisters’ window, in York Minster, over 16 metres high, is dedicated as a war memorial to the women of the British Empire who lost their lives, 1914-1918.

The window was ‘opened’ by the Duchess of York in June 1925 in the presence of 800 relatives of the women it commemorates.

Perhaps James was invited to attend?

Doris Jane was one of 1,513 women commemorated by name and service on oak screens St Nicholas’ Chapel in the North Transept of the Minster.

Back in Settle church, a beautiful stained glass window was designed to commemorate the lives of Sidney and Doris.

The window illustrates Elizabeth of Hungary, a symbol of Christian charity and nursing services, amongst others. The bottom of the window reads:

In memory of Sidney James Procter, Hawke Batt RNV 3rd Sept MCMXV111 and Doris Jane Procter his sister Nurse VAD 17th Dec MCMXV111 who died in the service of their country.

James had lost his wife in February 1917, his son Sidney in September 1918 and daughter Doris in December 1918. How did he cope with that? James died in 1940, aged 86. James, Mary Ann and Doris are buried together with an infant daughter Mabel and quite an understated gravestone just inside the church gate.

The inscription on the gravestone in the churchyard of Holy Ascension reads: In loving memory of Mabel Procter 1886 – 1887.

Mary Ann Procter 1856 – 1917.

Sidney James Procter 1894 – 1918.

Doris Jane Procter 1892 – 1918.

James Procter 1854 – 1940.

Sarah Lister can be reached on