Thank you - for helping save the graves of old Attercliffe !

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and to a Big Lottery Sharing Heritage Grant, Friends of Zion Graveyard Attercliffe have been able to purchase the disused burial ground of Zion Congregational Church and save it as a historic and natural heritage site for the benefit of generations to come.

The Friends of Zion Graveyard invite supporters to join us at our next open day between 2pm and 4pm on Sunday 11th March 2018 at Zion Graveyard Attercliffe, Zion Lane / Lawrence Street S9 3RG. The entrance is through a small gate behind the old Riley's Shop (now Sheffield Tooling).  We will also open the entrance from Ferguson Street which will provide level access.  

Please note this is not the large Attercliffe Cemetery, but it is nearby.  If you can see it from the road it is the wrong one! It is behind a new car sales site beside Auto Start repairs (the old Zion Sabbath School).

We are also organising a full programme of activities to include 

  • research into the history of the church, the graveyard and those buried there  
  • collecting and recording the memories of people who lived in this vibrant community. 
  • caring for the graveyard and nurturing the wildlife 
  • continuing the  campaign against modern-day slavery by supporting the Snowdrop Project

The Story

The search for the final resting place of Victorian philanthropists Joseph and Elizabeth Read and their eldest daughter Mary Anne Rawson, one of the leading anti-slavery campaigners of the nineteenth century, led to the surprising discovery of a locked and forgotten graveyard in the industrial area of Attercliffe, Sheffield, UK.  

In January 2017 we read in the Sheffield Telegraph that the disused burial ground, all that remains of the once grand Zion Congregational Church, had been advertised for sale. 

We wanted to see this historic graveyard preserved intact and cared for.  Over the last twenty years the site has been shut away and has become a haven for wildlife that would be ordinary else where but is rare in industrial Attercliffe. We wanted to save it as  a wildlife garden that is opened at regular times or for groups and relatives by arrangement.

We made a formal offer to buy the graveyard. We were given permission to clear the graves and research the inscriptions. We found the family vault of Abolitionist Mary Anne Rawson covered in litter, half under a fence.

We submitted a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and launched a Crowdfunding page to meet additional costs and legal fees. We are very grateful for every donation, from the loose change dropped into collecting tins to the £1,000 generously donated by the Sanita Merali Trust and donations from many other individuals and organisations.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters and a fantastic grant from Heritage Lottery Fund we purchased the graveyard on January 25th 2018. 

New members are welcome and will be kept up to date by email. A membership form can be uploaded here and returned by email (there is no joining fee) FoZG membership form 2018_01_30.pdf

A list of graves so far discovered can be downloaded here ZION CHAPEL memorials & notes - 2017.05.22.pdf  Please contact us if you believe you are related to anyone on the list.

Further content will be uploaded to this site over the next few weeks.  

In the meantime please follow us on  Facebook  Friends of Zion Graveyard Attercliffe

  • Revealed

    The modest memorial stones listing eight members of the Read Family of Wincobank Hall lay beneath six inches of groundcover and a heap of litter.

  • Forgotten

    Beneath swathes of ivy, cushioned by velvety moss and protected from the elements by overhanging branches, the impressive memorial for the family of Jonathan Wood onetime owner of Wood's Foundry rests peacefully in the sunshine. 

  • Uncovered

    Volunteers scraping away the foliage to reveal the tombstones of Attercliffe's Non-Conformist Congregationlists.

We did it!

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