Hebden Township Historical Data

Cemetery Memorial OLD-40-S

Photograph of the memorial in Hebden Cemetery
Click for a larger image


In hope of eternal life
19TH 1875 AGED 19 WEEKS.

People commemorated on this memorial

Ref. No. Name Year died Age Dates Notes
OLD-40-S (1) ?, Faith 1875 19 weeks d. 19/03/1875 Top half of memorial missing. Faith Whitaker of Beeston Royds, buried 21/03/1875


This memorial is not very informative. The top half has snapped off, and the bottom half is barely legible. The remaining part of the inscription tells us that a nineteen-week-old infant named Faith died on the 19th March in 1875.

Inspection of the Hebden burial records shows that an infant named Faith Whitaker of "Beeston Roydes, nr. Leeds" was buried on the 21st March 1875. It also shows that a 24-year-old woman also called Faith Whitaker, and also from Beeston Royds, was buried three months earlier, on November 21st 1874. It seems that the mother died a couple of weeks after giving birth, and that her daughter survived her by just four months. It is likely that the top half of the memorial commemorated the mother.

Faith Whittaker, the mother, was born in Hebden in 1849, and was the youngest of a family of eight. Her father, Robert, was a farmer, but he died later that year. In the 1851 census, the family were all together, with her elder brother working as a lead smelter, and three of her sisters working in the textile mill. Her mother, Susannah, then died in 1857, so Faith went to live with her brother's family. In 1871 she was working as a domestic servant with a family in Barden - a then common occupation for young girls. There she met Jonathan Whitaker from Bordley, who was in service in a nearby household. They got married at the end of 1873, and moved to Beeston Royds where she gave birth to Faith in the November of 1874. She died shortly afterwards, and her body was bought back to Hebden for burial. Presumable her child also came to live in Hebden, but only survived four months.

The memorial is a poignant reminder that childbirth was a risky process for the mother in those days, and that 30% of Hebden children at that time didn't survive long enough to celebrate their tenth birthday.

Jonathan married again, and finished up in Burnley where he died in 1911.

Her parents are also commemorated by a memorial in the churchyard.