Jabez & Arthur Bancroft…..Wesleyan Chapel Sextons

We were recently lent the old Grave Books for the Oakworth Wesleyan Chapel, listing burials from 1862-1917. Here at Dockroyd graveyard was where Jabez Bancroft was the Sexton, and on his death his son Arthur took over the job.

Jabez was listed as Sexton from 1884 to his death in 1898.

Arthur took over after his father’s death in 1898 to 1938.

Many will wonder what exactly the duties of a Sexton were. They were:

1- Grave digging

2- Maintenance of the graveyard….generally keeping it tidy….grass cutting, hedge trimming etc

3-General maintenance of the chapel grounds.

The record of Jabez’s burial is listed in the following entry halfway down this page in the grave book, and just underneath the entry is a note saying that his son Arthur took over as grave digger.

The cost of obtaining a grave is shown in the books as 2/- per plot or 5/- for a double plot, and it looks as though this charge went towards paying for the wages of the grave digger because shown below is a record of Jabez receiving payment for his work.

Both Jabez and Arthur were buried in the family grave (37P/37Q) shown below.