Halifax Minster is open to visitors daily from 10am to 4pm during the Anne Lister Birthday Festival 2022. There’s no need to book, just turn up.
Anne Lister, along with generations of her family, worshipped at Halifax Parish Church (which was granted Minster status in November 2009) and Anne was baptised there. There are admiring comments about the high altar rail in her diaries and Anne so admired it that she modelled the staircase and gallery at Shibden Hall on it. Anne had a close relationship with the then Vicar Charles Musgrave and regularly visited him and his wife.
After her untimely death aged 49 from fever whilst travelling in Russia in 1840, Anne’s body was returned by Ann Walker, arriving back in Halifax on 24th April 1841.
Anne’s body was interred on 29th April 1841. Entries in Anne’s diaries, describing the burials of her Uncle, Father and Aunt describe the Lister Family vault as being located thus;
“Our burying place is in the south chapel, at the west end, next to the constable’s pew.”
From this it may be deduced that the Lister Family vault was at the west end of the Holdsworth Chapel, adjacent to the screen. Records at Wakefield prove that the Constable’s pew in Halifax Parish Church at that time was to the rear of the pews on the south of the south aisle of the nave. There is no sign of a vault there today; the area is covered with floorboards, probably dating from 1879.
However some doubt may be cast on this by John Lister of Shibden Hall (1847-1933), first president of Halifax Antiquarian Society, who recorded that, in his youth, Anne’s stone was “in the north aisle.”
During the Millennium restoration of Halifax Parish Church (as it then was) Anne’s broken, incomplete tombstone was rediscovered under wooden flooring in the north east corner of the church, having been lost since 1878/9.
Whilst it is not certain that Anne was buried where the stone was found, it’s possible that she was buried in a new grave, away from the Lister Family vault.
At the time of writing, the surviving pieces of Anne’s tombstone are displayed on a windowsill on the north side of the nave in Halifax Minster.