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Posted by TonyFlynn on 27th August 2009 at 04:54 PM
Developer's Barton graveyard controversy - Part 1

By Tony Flynn and Tony Thornborough

In this first episode of a two-part series we look at The Barton Wesleyan Chapel, which was built in 1796 and demolished in 2001 to build the Maranatha Court block of flats.

The controversy surrounds the development on the Wesleyan graveyard off Barton Road, which was bought for 75,000 in 2001 by property development company Abbotsound Ltd, run by Les Hampson.

Promises were made at the time regarding the creation and upkeep of a memorial garden for the gravestones that Abbotsound needed to remove so they could build the flats and car park.

But many headstones were removed and allegedly recycled for Hampson's profit. Accusations also arose that headstones were moved around by Abbotsound during the development so that no graves could be reliably identified.

Mr Hampson said at the time: "No graves will be disturbed. There are one or two headstones that might be affected and we will do whatever the families concerned wish."

Hampson was also at the centre of a row in 2002 with Hope residents when Abbotsound bought property on Lancaster Road, and planned to convert the area into a halfway house rehabilitation centre housing single men. Local residents thought the plan would put children at risk.

The Cemetery still has the remains of 6,500 people and once had over 1,200 gravestones with such local families interred there as the Heatons, Shawcrosses, Bethels and Blears.

In the second part of this video we will talk to Eccles resident and local historian Eric Heaton, who has 26 ancestors still buried in the Wesleyan graveyard.

Watch: Barton-upon-Irwell graveyard controversy - Part 2

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Country Boy ( member )  12th June 2011
I recently had some Americans over to visit us in Stalybridge, They are doing their and My family tree. Some of our ancestors were we believe buried in the Barton Upon Irwell Methodist Graveyard. We watched your video, and visited the site. Our American guests were appalled at the lack of reverence and the condition of the remaining graves. During the video Eric Heaton was interviewed and he stated that he had recorded all 6,000 names of persons buried. Could you either give me a contact email address for Eric, so I can investigate if any of the persons he has identified are in our family tree. They have now returned home and I promised I would continue the search for information.

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Country Boy ( member )  12th June 2011
I recently had some Americans over to visit us in Stalybridge, They are doing their and My family tree. Some of our ancestors were we believe buried in the Barton Upon Irwell Methodist Graveyard. We watched your video, and visited the site. Our American guests were appalled at the lack of reverence and the condition of the remaining graves. During the video Eric Heaton was interviewed and he stated that he had recorded all 6,000 names of persons buried. Could you either give me a contact email address for Eric, so I can investigate if any of the persons he has identified are in our family tree. They have now returned home and I promised I would continue the search for information.

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Guest  25th September 2010
suggest the police get involved

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by TomSO ( member )  25th September 2010
Hi to the guest below. Please email editor@salfordonline.com and we'll try to help you out. We do have a lot of ex-pat readers who love our videos so you should be able to view them on SalfordOnline.

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Guest  25th September 2010
any other way of seeing the video I am not in Europe and could not get it here, tried downloading the Firefox but still no luck.there are some great videos here and I wish I did not have to miss out because of where i now live.

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Guest  28th February 2010
Hello Tony Yes St Catherines church was where my Mother and Father were married although I am not from Salford I have been looking for pictures of the church and have aquired a few but would like more and also would like to know where were the door entrances into the church.The out-line of the church walls are still there from when it was pulled dowm in 1973 but I cannot fine where the church doors where sited.Does anyone have any pictures of the church showing the doors please. Thanks very much,yours Rekabynysddu18

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Guest  4th September 2009
I am not a local person but have done a lot of family history research in the area.Sadly the same is happening everywhere, but thanks for bringing it to light. Jess

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Guest  29th August 2009
Nearly forgot, a lovely video by the way.

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Guest  29th August 2009
Too true about Les Hampson, he demolished The Widows Rest in Weaste and it is now an empty site, apparently he owns The Langworthy pub as well which has been left empty and neglected for years. To read that he has flattened a graveyard comes as no surprise, at least you are making people aware of what is going on in Salford. Pete Davies.

Report as offensive or innapropriate Comment by Guest  29th August 2009
The more I read about Les Hampson the angrier I get, he rides roughshod over the people of Salford, to remove the gravestones is a sacrilege and typical of the man. Many people could walk/drive past this block of flats and not realise the history that is hidden away there never mind the vandalism that he has carried out in the name of progress or should I say profit. Congratulations to everyone at SalfordOnline for highlighting this shocking case.

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