Burials in Knowsley

The Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley has two cemeteries, one being at Fox’s Bank Lane in Whiston and the other in Prescot off Manchester Road. Prescot however only accepts burials in existing family graves and anybody wishing to purchase a new plot must do so at Fox’s Bank Lane.

Fox’s Bank Lane, now commonly known as Knowsley cemetery, is relatively new having opened in 1996. Covering an area of twenty acres, it has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag, recognising it as one of the best green spaces in the country. There is currently no chapel, although the Whiston Initiative in Culture Heritage hope to raise funds to build one there using stone and glass saved from the former chapel at Whiston Hospital.knowsley cemeteries

Burial Plots can accommodate up to three coffins and four cremated remains caskets. The cemetery also has plots solely for cremated remains, capable of holding up to six caskets. There are however strict rules governing the size of headstones throughout the cemetery. They must measure no more than three feet three inches by two feet eight inches and must be fixed to the concrete plinths provided by the council, who must also approve proposed inscriptions.

There are a number of churchyards in Knowsley that allow burials although two of the biggest, St Chad’s in Kirkby and Huyton Parish Church, are no longer making new plots available. It is possible though to arrange a burial in existing graves that still have space or make changes to memorials. St Mary’s in Knowsley Village does have a burial ground on the other side of the road where new plots can be bought. It must be remembered though that these churchyards do have their own rules and regulations.

If you would like to discuss placing a headstone at a grave in Knowsley please contact us. At Sarsfield we will be happy to discuss your requirements and show you a selection of memorials that meet the council’s criteria. Knowsley council’s cemetery rules and regulations can be seen here but please do not be daunted by them as we will complete all the paperwork for you.

Monumental Masons Versus Local Authorities

Knowsley council in Merseyside have this week announced that they will be providing memorial packages themselves, something which arguably gives them a cost advantage as they do not have to charge VAT.  They are not the only local authority to do this but before making use of their cheaper service, there are other factors that the customer should consider.

There will almost certainly be much less of a choice when it comes to ordering headstones from a council. This won’t necessarily just apply to the size and design of the memorial, but also the material and lettering styles. Questions are also raised as to whether local councils would add lettering to existing gravestones and if the style and finish will be the same as the original. Also, is the work guaranteed for any length of time and to what standards will the memorial be fixed to the ground?

It is unlikely that local authorities will employ their own masons and in all probability the work will be contracted out. Whereas with a monumental mason you will have dedicated point of contact who has the expertise to guide you through the process, with councils you could find yourself liaising with the grounds person or general administration assistant in the office.

When you deal with a monumental mason you will be given regular progress on the update of the memorial and can see it taking shape in the workshop. The work will be carried out by skilled craftsmen and in Sarsfield’s case to BRAMM standard (British Register of accredited Memorial Masons). We can also offer guarantees and insurance in relation to our work and cut lettering to existing memorials in the original style, whether it be hand cut, machine cut or sandblasted.

Sarsfield has been a family business spanning three generations since the 1940s and if you contact us we can guarantee a bespoke, professional, friendly and caring service. You can have a say in the design of your memorial and will be personally dealt with by Ursula from initial enquiry to installation and aftercare. If you would like to speak to us please contact us here and we will be able to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.


One Piece Foundations

One-piece foundations mean that all of the memorial and kerbset sit on a reinforced concrete foundation, making it easier to re-align it if there is any movement in the ground.
If you are having kerbsets fitted we would always advise you to have them fixed on a one piece foundation and check with the mason that they are doing this. Have a look around the cemetery and look at the memorials fitted on one-piece foundations compared to those that are not and you will see the difference in standards.
Some masons fix memorials and kerbsets onto flagstones, but this is unsatisfactory as movement in the ground can cause subsidence. The reason flagstones are not so suitable is that it can take a long time to level the ground, the flagstones and then cement and level the kerbs. If and when movement in the ground occurs it makes it difficult to level everything, meaning that fixing this way can cause the kerbs to crack in half. Any subsequent costs of putting the situation right, which involves removing the kerbset, levelling the ground and re-fixing it, are inevitably met by the customer.
In contrast headstones with kerbsets that have been sited on one-piece foundations are more professional in their appearance. At Sarsfield Memorials we supply quality one-piece foundations at no extra cost, as we have sourced a supplier that can supply them in concrete or terrazzo to us. This reduces the work for our masons, allowing us to pass on the savings to the customer.
 Arabic grave stoneOn installation, the base and kerbset are uplifted about two to three inches above ground level with a one inch overhang all around (see example in photo) This means that the memorial is less likely to be damaged when grass is being cut and strimmed. This is the standard recommended by BRAMM (The British Register of Accredited Monumental Masons), of which Sarsfield is a member.
When we install one-piece foundations at Sarsfield we leave the grave looking neat, clean and tidy, as you would expect from professionals. If movement in the ground should occur within the first two years of fixing the memorial, then we will realign it free of charge providing you have followed our initial guidance regarding maintenance. We believe the product we are offering is a quality product, fixed to a recognised standard and as we value our customers we like to offer the best quality products and service.
Please contact us if you would like more information about one-piece foundations and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.

Your Memorial – From Enquiry to Installation

If you choose Sarsfield Memorials for your loved one’s headstone you can be rest assured that you will be involved from beginning to end. We will take you through every step of the process to ensure we meet what you tell us your needs are, not what we think they are.

When youOgee approach us we will ask if your loved one has been buried or cremated and in which cemetery. We can then advise on cemetery regulations in respect of size restrictions and if kerb sets are allowed. If you are in a 30 mile radius of us, we can visit you at home, while if you are arranging a memorial from a distance then we can communicate with you by phone, email or letter, whichever you prefer.

During the initial discussions we will ask if the deceased had any specific wishes for their headstone. This allows us to talk through the pros and cons of materials and styles of lettering and also show samples to you. We will usually be able to give you a written quotation within forty eight hours, although this may be longer if the gravestone is to be custom made. This quote will be honoured unless you ask for additional work at a later date and we ask for 50% of the cost before work starts and the balance on completion, we also offer payment plans, please contact us for further information.

Once the order has been agreed we will give you an estimated timescale for how long it will be before the headstone is installed. This depends on how the ground has settled since the burial, what materials need to be obtained and our own manufacturing workload. Generally though a standard design can be complete within six weeks of your order, with a bespoke one taking three to four months. You will be given a layout of how the completed memorial will look before work starts so it can be signedTraveler Digital Camera off and approved by both parties.

When the work is complete and your gravestone is fixed on the grave in the cemetery, you have a lasting tribute to your loved one. At Sarsfield Memorials we pride ourselves in providing a personal service tailored to suit your needs. We want to be part of a process during which we hope you can find comfort once the grave is marked with the memorial of your choice. If you would like to discuss headstone options please contact us here and we will be happy to give you a free no obligation quote.

Memorial to Maud Farrington nee Carpenter

“No one person can make a theatre. The vital thing is teamwork – from the callboys and cleaners upwards.” – but if anyone helped create the Liverpool Playhouse, it was Maud Carpenter.

Maud Carpenter, 1895 - 1967

Maud Carpenter, 1895 – 1967

After a spell at the Kelly’s Theatre in Paradise Street, Maud Carpenter joined the Liverpool Playhouse in its first experimental season in 1911. Starting in the box office, she showed an aptitude for accountancy and administration which led to her quickly being appointed assistant manager. By 1922, she had been offered the role of manager and licensee, a position she embraced enthusiastically until 1962 when she retired. The theatre was her life. She was held in such high esteem by her peers that she was invited to become the first woman to join the board in 1945 and remained in the role of vice-president until her death in 1967. In total, she worked at the theatre for 51 years,

She was so influential in the theatre and the city, she was even known as the unofficial Lady Mayoress of Liverpool. It was said that she knew very little about ‘theatre’, and would often get the titles of plays mixed up. However, what she had an uncanny knack for was knowing what audiences would come to see; and she played a critical role throughout the Playhouse’s development, alongside the directors she worked with, seeing it through the good times and the bad with equal enthusiasm. During the Second World War, for example, Maud volunteered for night time fire watching and during the blitz, would stand on top of the Playhouse roof shouting to the Germans, “Don’t bomb my theatre. Don’t bomb my theatre.”

She valued the image of the theatre and its importance in the city, insisting that every actor arrive in style – or at the very least, a taxi – to preserve some sense of decorum and mystique. She even once scolded a young Sir Anthony Hopkins for turning up in jeans and an open neck shirt, rather than the sports jacket and tie she would have preferred. On performance nights, she would stand in the foyer and greet patrons – many by name; and at the end she would politely ask them what play they would be coming to see next.

Maud Farrington's Grave

Maud Farrington’s Grave in Allerton Cemetery

Her whole existence was dedicated to the preservation and smooth-running of the theatre and the comfort and entertainment of its audiences. During her lifetime, she was awarded an OBE and an honorary degree from Liverpool University.

She died on 18th June 1967. Tributes were affectionate and many, and her gravestone records her dedication to the theatre she loved.



Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.

In Memory of Arthur Dooley

Remembering a Liverpool sculptor ‘privileged never to have had an art education’

Arthur Dooley and one of his works

Arthur Dooley and one of his works

Born in Liverpool in 1929, Arthur left school at 14 and took up an apprenticeship at Cammell Laird’s shipyard, where he contributed to the construction of the Ark Royal. On being finished up, he worked briefly on a tug-boat, then joined the Irish Guards.

Having served in Europe and the Middle East, his army career began to draw to a close after an impulse decision to desert and join the Palestine Liberation Organisation – not then associated with terrorism – as a mercenary. Promoted to colonel in its ranks, he was soon after caught and returned to the Army, who tried and imprisoned him in a detention centre in Egypt. He amused himself during his time in prison by modelling sand and sculpting rock. But he never forgot his time at Cammell Laird’s and later at Dunlop in Speke, where he began to learn about the metals, fabricating and building which formed the cornerstone of his work in later years.

On his return to the UK, he sought out a job as a cleaner at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. Seeing the students’ work, he had a strong conviction he could do better and began working with discarded scraps of metal. By 1955, he’d returned to Liverpool and established himself as a sculptor, working at a variety of jobs, from stage hand at the Liverpool Playhouse to park policeman in Sefton Park, to fund his life and work.

He had converted to Catholicism while in the Army, and was also a devout communist, but in later years, he turned away from both his faith and his political allegiance. Despite this, he retained strong views about both and is perhaps best known for a number of religious works, including The Stations of the Cross for St Mary’s Church in Leyland, The Risen Christ in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral and The Resurrection of Christ at Princes Park Methodist Church in Toxteth.

Politics remained at the heart of his work throughout his life and in later years. Becoming something of a personality, he often appeared on national television, not only promoting his work but also his strong views on the plight of the working classes in his home city. He was an ardent campaigner for the redevelopment of the South Docks, the abolition of high-rise housing and ongoing support for the long-term unemployed.

In 1974, he created the much-loved tribute to the Beatles in Mathew Street, a sculpture picturing the Madonna and the band with the inscription ‘Four Lads Who Shook The World’ beneath. In the 80s, his work grew less fashionable, but he himself continued to be energetic in his two favourite causes, establishing a workshop for the unemployed in Kirkby and helping to found the Liverpool Academy of Arts.

He died suddenly in 1994, having given away much of the money he had earned throughout his lifetime. His workshop remains preserved as he left it, in memory of the great man himself, and short videos from 2008 can be seen here.

Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.

Memorial to William Abdullah Quilliam

Memorial Plaque to a Muslim convert and Liverpool lawyer who opened the first mosque in England

William Abdullah Quilliam

William Abdullah Quilliam

William Quilliam was born on 10 April 1856 into a wealthy local family, prominent Methodists and established watchmakers in the city of Liverpool. Qualifying as a solicitor, he began a successful legal practice in the city in 1878 and developed a stout reputation as someone who fought for the rights of the city’s poor.

He had become interested in Muslim teachings while in Morocco, convalescing from an illness. In 1887, at the age of 31, he became the first Christian to convert to Islam in Victorian England.

On Christmas Day 1889, he opened England’s first mosque at 8, Brougham Terrace, later adding the surrounding buildings which became a boarding school, lecture rooms and orphanage. In 1893, he began a weekly magazine, The Crescent, and then subsequently a monthly publication, Islamic World, which was distributed in over 20 countries. The copies which survive today provide a valuable record of British Muslims’ life in Liverpool and beyond at the time. As well as welcoming visiting wealthy Muslims, Quilliam also promoted the welfare of Asian and Arab Muslims who served as deckhands on the many steamships to arrive at this, the Empire’s second most important port.

He also wrote prolifically, including the book ‘The Faith of Islam’, which was translated into 13 languages and is said to have been read by Queen Victoria herself, who also ordered additional copies for her grandchildren. His promotion of the faith led to around 600 people, some ordinary citizens, some learned and prominent scholars, to embrace Islam.

Inevitably, a certain amount of controversy and hostility from wider society tinged an otherwise successful career; and Quilliam eventually left the country abruptly in 1908 on hearing that he was about to be struck off as a solicitor, apparently for presenting facts in a divorce case that he knew to be wrong in court. Without his leadership and financial investment, Liverpool’s Muslim community dispersed, many moving to England’s first purpose-built mosque in Woking, Surrey.

He returned to the UK in around 1914 under an assumed name. On his death, he was buried in Brockwood Cemetery in Woking alongside fellow Anglo-Muslims, many famous, as he had been, for spreading the faith throughout England.

Memorial Plaque on the site of the country's first mosque

Memorial Plaque on the site of the country’s first mosque

The buildings which constituted England’s first mosque were for a time used as a register office by the Council, then fell into disuse. In recent years, the Abdullah Quilliam Society has successfully reopened the mosque and continues to fund-raise for the restoration of the remainder of the buildings.


Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.

Titanic Memorial for ‘Captain’ Henry Tingle Wilde

Henry Tingle Wilde

Henry Tingle Wilde

Henry was born and brought up in Walton, Liverpool. After apprenticing at sea with Messrs James Chambers & Co, Henry learned quickly and rose through the ranks to become a junior officer with the White Star Line in July 1897.

After time served as Chief Officer on RMS Olympic under Captain Edward John Smith, future captain of the Titanic, it appeared he was due to take up command of a ship of his own. Instead, he received orders at the last minute to join Smith on the Titanic on her maiden voyage.

Though the Titanic was virtually identical to her sister ship, the Olympic, Wilde wrote while on board to his sister: “I still don’t like this ship – I have a queer feeling about it…”

He was off duty when the ship struck the fateful iceberg at 11:40pm on 14 April 1912, so his recorded movements in the early stages of the disaster are not entirely clear. What is certain is that he was instructed to oversee the loading and lowering of the even-numbered lifeboats in the port-side of the ship. Amid the panic and confusion, an eyewitness and fellow officer stated, Wilde had been first to suggest they should arm themselves with standard-issue revolvers to act as a deterrent against those who sought to save themselves at the expense of others. These were needed later when he had completed his work on the port-side and then turned his attention to loading collapsible D on the starboard-side. Crowds of distressed passengers threatened to interfere with the rescue attempts and Wilde ordered a ring of men to surround the boat so that it could be loaded safely.

Some reports say that the final sighting of him was of him smoking a cigarette, waving farewell to a fellow officer while making no attempt to save himself. The reasoning behind this was said to be that, in late 1910, he had lost his wife and twin sons, possibly to scarlet fever; and had been heard to state that since his wife had died, he no longer cared ‘how he went or how soon he joined her’. However, many have since discounted this theory as unlikely.

Henry Tingle Wilde Gravestone

Henry Tingle Wilde Gravestone

It’s believed instead that he was last seen trying to free collapsibles A and B from the roof of the officers’ quarters and later died of hypothermia in the icy waters.

His body, if recovered, was never identified. However, he is remembered on the family grave in Kirkdale Cemetery, marked by an obelisk and gravestone. The inscription simply reads “Also Captain [sic] Henry T. Wilde, RNR Acting Chief Officer Who Met His Death in the SS Titanic Disaster 15th April 1912 aged 38 years. ‘One of Britain’s Heroes’”.


Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.



Captain William Thomas Turner

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the sinking of RMS Lusitania, one of the worst casualties of WWI in which 1,198 people lost their lives.

Capt William Turner

Capt William Turner

Captain William Thomas Turner was her commander when she sank, torpedoed by a German submarine. This was just one incident in a life full of adventure and bravery, but one that haunted him until his death.

Born in Clarence Street, Everton in 1856, Will Turner followed in his father’s footsteps, embarking on a life at sea as a cabin boy at the age of just eight. When the barque he was on was wrecked in a gale off the coast of Ireland, he refused all offers of help and swam to shore himself. Over the coming years, he would escape further disasters, including being swept overboard, shipwrecks and yellow fever, but never lost his boyhood dream of becoming a ship’s captain.

He became known for acts of bravery, putting himself at risk to save others in danger, and won various accolades throughout his career from the Humane Society and the government for his role in the Boer War.

Finally in 1903, he achieved his goal, becoming captain of Cunard’s ship, the Aleppo. While he was loved by the men who served under him, Cunard often didn’t know what to make of him. His bosses respected his ability, but disapproved of his gruff and dismissive way with the passengers. For instance, he often refused to carry out the custom of dining with them at the Captain’s table. Oddly, though, this only seemed to endear him to the travelling public even more and they actively asked to sail with him! He built a reputation for the fastest sailings, with the quickest turnarounds at ports, too.

Will first took command of the Lusitania in 1907, and then after promotions to captaincy of the Mauretania and Aquitania, resumed his command over the doomed vessel in April 1915 after her previous captain had retired due to nervous exhaustion from the constant threat from German U-boats. Less than a month later, RMS Lusitania, with Captain Will Turner at her helm, fell victim to German submarine U-20. A significant factor in her terrifyingly fast sinking was thought to be the substantial cargo of munitions she was secretly carrying in support of the war effort. Another element was the fact that the Admiralty had seen fit to withdraw Lusitania’s escort ship, HMS Juno, despite being aware of the German presence in the area.

Memorial to Capt William Turner, Rake Lane Cemetery, Wallasey

Memorial to Capt William Turner, Rake Lane Cemetery, Wallasey

Reluctant to accept responsibility, the Admiralty openly and loudly blamed Turner, even going so far as to say he was in the pay of the Germans and had sabotaged his own ship. Although he was later cleared of guilt by the Mersey Inquiry and Mayer hearings, and awarded the OBE in 1918 for his war efforts, controversy dogged him even in retirement. Hounded by the press after Churchill repeated the allegations against him in his memoirs, he sadly died almost a recluse, bitter and still living in the shadow of the disaster, in 1933. He is buried in Rake Lane Cemetery in Wallasey.



Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.

First World War Memorial Roll of Honour of Liverpool’s Military War Dead

Hall of Remembrance, Town Hall, Liverpool

Hall of Remembrance, Town Hall, Liverpool

There are many memorials to those who died during the Great War. One of the most notable ones in Liverpool is the First World War Memorial Roll of Honour of Liverpool’s Military War Dead. This is located in the Hall of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall in the city centre.

The original list was started during the war itself, when the names of locals who had been killed in combat were posted in a window overlooking Exchange Flags. As relatives were notified of their lost loved ones, they queued to add their names to ensure they were remembered for their sacrifice. Many served as members of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool), although there are also men with local connections who died in service in the armed forces of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and beyond.

The roll now stands at well over 13,000 names, all of which have been added to a searchable database here.

Among the names listed are many of Liverpool’s brave VC winners, such as:

  • Captain Noel Chavasse, the only man to be awarded the VC twice in WWI and who died from wounds sustained on the battlefield while rescuing wounded comrades at Passchendaele;
  • Lieutenant Edward Felix Baxter of the Royal Engineers, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, a former Isle of Man TT rider who lost his life at Arras, but not before he had won a VC for cutting barbed wire in front of German trenches for two nights running and leading a raiding party on the third; and
  • Sergeant Thomas Neely, who won a posthumous VC for rushing several enemy machine gun positions, single-handedly killing or capturing their operators and silencing their fire. He was killed four days later in the field while advancing on German positions at Rumilly.

Sadly, the list is by no means complete. Because entry onto it depended on relatives making the notification, there are of course many who have been missed, for various reasons However, year on year, people continue to add their ancestors’ names, making it a living memorial to those who died so that we could live in peace. This year alone, at least a further 37 names have been added as keen historians and genealogists discover more about their forefathers and seek to get them recognised for paying the ultimate sacrifice.

You can have the name of your relative added by applying to the Town Hall with evidence of his connection with Liverpool.

Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.