Gentleman Jack fans have a rare opportunity to see Ann Walker's memorial

Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) and Anne Lister (Suranne Jones). Picture: Lookout Point/HBO/Jay Brooks
Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) and Anne Lister (Suranne Jones). Picture: Lookout Point/HBO/Jay Brooks

Following the success of recent BBC drama Gentleman Jack, many people have been visiting the historical homes and places of Halifax diarist Anne Lister and her lover Ann Walker.

Fans will have a rare chance to see Ann Walker’s memorial as well as learn more about the family from Lightcliffe on September 14 when the tower which holds it will be reopened.

Lightcliffe Tower where Ann Walker's memorial is located. Picture: Friends of Friendless Churches

Lightcliffe Tower where Ann Walker's memorial is located. Picture: Friends of Friendless Churches

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Between 12pm and 4pm visitors will be able see the brass plaque commemorating Walker, which is held within the iconic tower at Lightcliffe cemetery.

There will be an opportunity to visit other graves associated with the Walker family.

Ann Walker was the lover of Anne Lister, and the couple took Holy Communion together in Holy Trinity Church in York. Although same-sex unions were illegal at the time and their ceremony was not official, they considered themselves married.

The couple bought a pew at St Matthew’s church, Lightcliffe and had it lined in plush green velvet so that they could worship together.

Ann Walker died at Cliffe Hill in 1854. She was buried under the pulpit at Old St Matthew’s church, Lightcliffe.

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When the church was demolished by the church authorities in 1974, the charity, Friends of Friendless Churches, rescued the monuments and memorials and kept them safe within the residual tower, which is now in the charity’s care.

Amongst the monuments is a Gothic style plaque remembering Ann Walker. As a part of the Heritage Open Days festival this September, the Friends of Friendless Churches are re-opening the base of the tower to allow visitors to view and pay their respects at Ann’s memorial.

Working with the Friends of St Matthew’s Churchyard who care for the 2.2-acre churchyard and research and record some the 11,000 burials, there will be guides on hand to direct visitors to the most interesting and important graves connected with the Walker family.

This is a free event, but donations towards the upkeep of the tower are gratefully received. There is no need to book.

Read: History behind the Calderdale church featured in Gentleman Jack