Memorials Smashed
In the Burial Ground of the Demolished
Baptist Church, Baptist Lane, Ossett.

Due to shameful action taken by Ossett Baptist Church the churchyard has been totally vandalised by the inappropriate use of a large machine to flatten the site, all the upright stones have been wantonly destroyed with no thought or care taken as to their significance. Stones which were in perfect condition have been smashed others have been dumped in a heap of rubble.

Stones commemorating soldiers killed fighting for the freedom of this country have been desecrated by the irreverent act of the Baptist Church.

In the local newspaper Mr. Chris Hawley, minister at South Ossett Baptist Church said, "We had some complaints from health and safety officials saying some of the gravestones were unsafe. Our top priority is the safety of the public so we mounted a clean-up operation in the cemetery.

"The cemetery itself has not been used for 30 years and no-one even visits it. We intend to put the graves back in a way they would be safer to the public and are asking for their patience with us while we do that.

The last thing we want to do was upset people but we had to make the cemetery safe. There is no easy way to do this and I hope people can just keep their patience while we finish the job."


Those words are total rubbish, I photographed the graves last year (2001) and there was not one unsound stone left standing in the entire cemetery.

How does running a bulldozer over flat stones smashing them make the cemetery safer, it was wanton vandalism, All the monoliths were stable and would have taken a machine to topple them.

If there had been the slightest intention to re-establish any of the removed stones they would have been handled gently instead of bulldozed and tipped, timber baulks would have been placed between the stones as the were stacked, the signs are obvious in my opinion, these have been cleared to make the site saleable.

Guy Etchells.
There is a link below to the guidelines published by the Baptist Church



After a long telephone conversation with Mr. Chris Hawley assures me that the church met with all the legal requirements but that still leaves the more important moral requirements that have not been attended to.
The Church's own guidelines require that consultation with the community takes place before an such work is carried out, notices should be place at the burial ground where the work is to be carried out, and elsewhere in the community, notices should be published in the press for at least two successive weeks.

The guidelines further point out that Headstones and Memorials are probably legally the property of those who first erected them.
Stones have been destroyed which due to their being flat on the ground could have caused no harm to man nor beast.
In all these matters the church has failed in its moral responsibilities, however the damage is done and it now remains to be seen what actions the church is prepared to take to make amends for past mistakes and await the results of the finished job.
Mr. Hawley has assured me that the church has the plans and details of the interments which if possible I shall add to this website.

Hopefully lessons have been learnt and future developments will be handled in a more sensitive manner.



What remains has been photographed below.











 Page 1


 Page 2




 Price of graves etc.



Baptist Church Vandalism 

 Update 2005


Copyright Guy Etchells 2002 All rights reserved.

Permission is granted for all free personal and non-commercial uses. It is my intention to make all data contained herein freely available for all private, non-profit and non-commercial uses. Commercial use of any portion contained herein is expressly prohibited.
Database Right, all databases on this website are covered by the 1997 Database Regulations
Guy Etchells is the maker of the database contained within and the owner of the database rights. First published in 2002.

Return to Cemetery Pages


 Return to Church Index