S1.5 – Andrew, Elizabeth and Amy Dodd

The age old question – why bother doing what we’re doing? We’re so sick of it! Let us give you an example of why.

Andrew and Elizabeth Dodd are in what is now, on our new transcript for the school extension graves, row 1 plot 5. It’s the last one before the wall adjoining the cricket club. And technically, supposedly, it should be under the extension. But like a surprising (upsetting) number of stones from underneath, two of the sidestones from that grave now live…outside.

One was no surprise – Andrew Dodd. The other one we only connected to Andrew via checking the burial register. It reads “and of Amy, their daughter, died Feby 6th 1953 aged 57 years.”

Amy wasn’t in the sexton’s book because she was cremated at Rochdale, and a lot of cremations didn’t end up in that book. A lot of them are in the Garden of Rest. But not all!

Andrew Dodd was born in Chester in 1868. His future wife, Elizabeth O’Donnell, was born in Liverpool two years later. The two met in Castleton and married in 1895. Andrew worked a number of different jobs to do with manual labour, mainly stonemasonry. In 1901, he was even working as…wait for it…a monumental mason. In other words, shaping and carving the sort of beautiful gravestones we spend so much time looking at here!

Andrew and Elizabeth had three daughters – Amy, Edna, and Lavinia. The family came to Todmorden when Andrew became employed helping to build the incredible reservoir at Walshaw Dean. He lived up at “Dawson City” working while the family stayed on the valley bottom. Poor Amy had a terrible mishap while Elizabeth was out of the house working to help make ends meet (men weren’t paid terribly well up there) when she accidentally set fire to herself while trying to look after the house. Only 7 years old. She was very lucky things didn’t end worse for her.

Amy and her sisters Edna and Lavinia were both active in with the Ladies Group at Christ Church, taking part in whist tournaments and other fundraisers over the years. Her injuries seem not to have disabled her too badly, which is good.

Andrew died in 1923 and Elizabeth in 1948. Amy died not long after in 1953. And thanks to this stone, we know she’s buried here with her parents.

Back to our mini-rant about why all this matters. It isn’t enough to rely on a book, because not all books have all their pages in. It isn’t enough to take things for granted. And quite beyond that, this isn’t the first piece of a grave with a name on that has been found in the wrong place. There is value in fixing things that have been broken. The people who broke things are long gone, but that doesn’t mean we shrug and ignore it. It can be a massive pain in the arse to put things right, and it’s galling when you aren’t even the one who bloody broke them (ooh here we go the writer is going off on one), but if you’re in a position to do so, you do. It’s “Good Samaritan”ing for inanimate objects, sure, but those objects demarcate real people. So for us it’s a no brainer.

Hopefully Elizabeth’s stone is where it ought to be and we can reunite Andrew and Amy with her at some later date.


  1. Pingback:S1.2 – Harold and Florence Alice Allister (under school) – F.O.C.C.T.

  2. Pingback:S2.9 – Herbert, John Robert, Betsy and Arnold Cunliffe, and Jack Uttley – F.O.C.C.T.

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