Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1870 & 79

Rev. William Henry Walker (1811 - 1878)

 The Reverend William Henry Walker was the first Registrar of Salford Cemetery at Weaste, a position he held for 21 years, from its opening in 1857 until his death in 1878. He was also the Chaplain for the Dissenters (Non-Conformist) portion and a preacher, trustee and leader of the Liverpool Street Methodist Free Church in Salford.

He was born in 1811 in Liverpool. Not a lot is known about his early life, but at some stage he must have entered into a Methodist Seminary and graduated, as he became Minister of the United Methodist Church in Rochdale, Lancashire. In 1945 he married Helen Rigby (born 1817 in Liverpool) by Registrar in Liverpool. In 1851 the couple lived at 4 Livesey Street, Manchester where William was aged 40 and described as Wesleyan Methodist Ministry Association. Helen was aged 34 and a son William jnr (born 1836 in Liverpool) was aged 15. The 1861 census shows that the family lived at the Cemetery Registrar's House, Cemetery Lane, Pendleton, Salford. William was aged 50 and gave his occupation as Registrar and Minister to St Ann's Methodist Church, Helen was aged 44 and William Jnr was aged 25 and a Commercial Clerk. Newcomers were: Helen Rigby (born 1851 in Manchester) aged 10, Henry (born 1855 in Rochdale) aged 6 and Arthur (born 1858 in Salford) aged 5. Sadly, in August 1864 Helen Rigby Walker died of tubercular meningitis aged just 13 and was buried at Square 32/DISS/7827 of Weaste Cemetery. In 1871 in the Cemetery Lodge, William Henry was aged 60, Helen was aged 54, Henry was aged 16 and Arthur was aged 13. There is no sign of William jnr, probably married.

Salford Cemetery was very busy, as not only Salford people were buried there, but people from a wide area around. Manchester had no Corporation cemetery until 1886 when Philips Park Cemetery at Bradford, Manchester was opened. Prior to that, about a third of interments at Weaste Cemetery were from Manchester. It was a very desirable place to be buried as it was laid out like a park. However there were letters to the papers about the different cost of burial depending on whether you lived in Salford or not. The front page of the Manchester Guardian of 5th September 1857 displayed the burial rates as First class grave: Salford £3-3-0, others £4-4-0; second class grave: Salford £2-2-0 others £3-3-0; third class grave: Salford £1-1-0, others £1-11-0. There was also a cost for burial in a public (common) grave with outsiders being charged 50% more. A Salford person 16 years and over would cost 8 shillings (i.e. 40p).

William Henry Walker died at home on 28th August 1878 from chronic bronchitis and paralysis, aged 68. He was buried in grave 32/DISS/7827 with his daughter Helen Rigby. The Salford Weekly news of 7th September 1878 had reported that at the request of his widow, only the family were to be present at the funeral service, which was read by the Rev.Joseph Batten, Minister of Liverpool Street Methodist Church.

William Henry's son Henry Walker succeeded his father as Registrar of the Salford Cemetery and continued to live in the cemetery lodge. Henry gave 48 years service in this role and retired in February 1927. He died on 7th April 1943 aged 88 and was buried in grave 32/DISS/2885 at Weaste Cemetery.