THE graveyard surrounding St John's Church in Worsthorne includes the graves of some very important people associated with the history of the village.

Past the lychgate, one of the graves to the right of the path is that of the Rev Henry Stephens. He is the only former vicar of St John's Church who is buried in the graveyard. He was the vicar from 1874 to 1881. He was born in Wales in 1843 and died in 1898.

A parishioner described him as "a wonderful preacher, a good man, generous to a fault and of broad sympathies."

Henry Stanworth was the choirmaster at the church for more than 25 years. He too died in 1898. Stanworth had an important building firm. His firm was responsible for buildings such as the former Burnley Grammar School and Cliviger Mill.

Jeffrey Uttley was a well known farmer in Worsthorne until he retired in 1962. He died in 1977. On his gravestone are carvings of two of his horses. He was quite an important horse dealer.

Near the church is the grave of William Simpson. He succeeded Henry Stanworth as the choirmaster. William Simpson was the choirmaster from 1899 until his death in 1911.

John Crabtree was a landlord of the original Crooked Billet pub in the late 19th century. It was mostly rebuilt in 1913.1

On the opposite side of the graveyard is the grave of James Shackleton who was one of the last landlords of the original Bay Horse pub. This pub was rebuilt in 1899.

On the same side of the graveyard where John Crabtree is buried lies the grave of John Crowther. He lived at Jackson House, in Gorple Road -- around 20 yards from the church.

Jackson House, a farmhouse, was built in the late 16th Century. The first owner was called Jackson.

The church and part of the graveyard stand on the site of the old village green where cock fights and bull baiting used to take place. The last bull baiting event here was in 1834. Bull baiting was banned in this country in the following year, in 1835. St John's Church was built in 1835 too. The graveyard also dates from 1835.

There was a good view of the bull baitings and cock fights from Jackson House. An early 19th century owner of the building, who was called Cunliffe, used to watch bull baiting events from the bedroom window.

John Crowther died in 1887 after being struck by lightning in a storm. He was leading his sheep down Gorple Road. He is buried quite near the grave of the rather eccentric antiquarian, Tattersall Wilkinson, who died in 1921 at the age of 96. Tattersall Wilkinson often wore a velvet smoking cap with a tassle and rode about on a donkey. Wilkinson wrote a book called 'Memories of Hurstwood.'

The next few people I will refer to are buried on the opposite side of the graveyard.

William Whittaker was a warden of the church. He died on February 21 1903 at the age of 35. His wife, Hannah, died just two days later.

George Hitchon Cudworth was the head of a building firm in Burnley. In 1882 Cudworth gave up the building trade and became the landlord of the Spread Eagle Inn, which was in Temple Street, Burnley. He died in 1903, aged 59.

Henry Cudworth was a son of George. He was the leading batsman of the Burnley cricket team over its most successful period. He won six Lancashire League championship medals with Burnley between 1897 and 1913. Cudworth was the top run scorer in the Lancashire League in 1906. He died in 1914 at the age of 40.

William Gray Leaver was the farm bailiff to the Thursbys of Ormerod House from 1883 until his death in 1911, at the age of 55. He was a close friend of Tattersall Wilkinson. He was also the godson of the Rev William Thursby, who was the first vicar of St John's Church from 1835 until 1869. The home of Willian Gray Leaver was Higher Red Lees Farm.

A nephew of William Gray Leaver was the distinguished artist Noel Leaver.

The part of the graveyard behind the church dates back to 1900. The graves here include the grave of Daniel Pickles. In about 1897 he started Worsthorne Laundry which was in Gorple Road. He died in 1909.

Another person buried in this part of the graveyard is James Hargreaves Heap.

He was the first landlord of the present Bay Horse pub from 1899 until his death in 1928 at the age of 54.

John Ormerod was a farmer at Old Hall Farm. He died in 1904. Old Hall Farm takes its name from Worsthorne Old Hall, which stood near it, partly on the site of the social club on Clegg Street. The hall stood from 1638 to 1896.

This building ended its days as a slaughter house. An archway that stood near the building now stands by Old Hall Farm.

Another person who is buried in the part of the graveyard behind St John's Church is Joseph Scriven. In January 1937 he was one of three people who were murdered in an incident at Saville Green Farm.

Joseph Scriven and the daughter and the father-in-law of the owner of the farm, Foulds Wilkinson, were shot and killed by a farm labourer who had been sacked by Wilkinson. Joseph Scriven was the cowman at the farm.