Wakefield Catacombs

On my way to the Chantry Chapel in Wakefield (see earlier post) I spotted a banner for Heritage Open Day on a small Georgian chapel set back from the road, so I thought it would be an interesting detour. It was – and is still – the Unitarians, an affluent and benevolent group who hit well above their weight in civic improvements. In the USA they were the group that runaway slaves sought out when Quakers were not available to support and protect them.

chapel entr

When I entered I was greeted by a line of people across the front of the chapel, all smiling. Not creepy at all. Then a man asked me if I’d like to see the catacombs. How could I turn that down?

This is the chute down which the coffins reached the catacombs. But several of the coffins and their inhabitants were huge. Nobody knows how they got them down there.

coffin_shute

The image on the right was taken though an inch wide hole. Oh the wonders of smartphones!

A lot of the visitors were spooked by the place, but I find them fascinating. So much history, so many families who were important to the city.

The catacombs filed up and the above tunnel was used to transport coffins to the graveyard in the adjoining block. It had been a summer house, and was more recently an arts centre.

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