V1.10 – Rainford and Mary Elizabeth Sutcliffe

It’ll be a little while before this grave can be completely restored thanks to the tree damage to the grave next to it, but we can tidy it for now and learn about the Sutcliffes.

The inscription reads “In Memoriam. Rainford Sutcliffe, 9 Grove Street, Barrowford, departed this life 23rd April 1916 in his 37th year. Also of his beloved wife, Mary Elizabeth who departed this life 11th March 1946 aged 69 years. R.I.P.”

Rainford Sutcliffe was born in October 1878 in Todmorden to Joseph and Sally Sutcliffe. He married Mary Elizabeth Crowther in April 1900 in his (and for many of us, our) hometown, Todmorden. They had three children during their marriage – Vera, Phyllis and Will. In 1911 the family lived at 6 College Street, Cornholme, and Rainford was a cotton weaver.

Vera, Will and Phyllis Sutcliffe

Rainford had been in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the Boer War from 1899-1902. He received a Medal Clasp Entitlement; The Queen’s South Africa Medal is a British medal awarded to British and British Colony soldiers who served in the Second Boer War in South Africa. According to the newspapers, he was a keen pigeon fancier, and won the occasional prize in local shows.

He died on 23 April 1916 in Lancashire at the age of 37 and was buried in his hometown of Todmorden at our beloved Christ Church. He left his estate of £245 to his widow. His obituary states that he was an active Baptist, so it’s interesting that he was buried at Christ Church rather than at Lineholme Baptist in Lydgate, or Shore Baptist even

Todmorden District News, April 28th 1916

Mary Elizabeth Crowther was born on the 4th January 1877. Mary’s burial took place on the 15th March 1946 where she was laid to rest with Rainford, after 30 years of being a widow, at Christ Church.

Funeral card for Mary Elizabeth Sutcliffe

Her estate when she died in 1946 went to her son Will, a Sergeant with the RAF, and her younger daughter Phyllis. It had naturally increased to £1235 11s 10d from the £245 she inherited when Rainford died in 1916. Interestingly, her eldest daughter Vera did not inherit. Vera died ten years later so was very much still around – there’s a story there that we don’t know.

As far as the records are concerned no one else is buried in this vault, just Rainford and Mary Elizabeth.

Mary Elizabeth from a postcard sent to her son Will from Blackpool, 1930

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