This is the building that was the Zion Sunday School in Attercliffe. Joseph Read had was a major funder when Zion Chapel in Attercliffe was rebuilt in 1802 and his wife Elizabeth Read was Sunday School superintendent with her five daughters as assistant teachers. When they moved to Wincobank the children insisted on coming back to help at Zion and despite setting up a chapel in the coach house and Sunday School in the laundry at Wincobank Hall for the local people, the family continued to worship at Zion Chapel throughout their lives. The newspaper report of Mary Anne’s funeral states that she was buried in the family vault at Zion Chapel, Attercliff with her parents and other members of the family.
Originally a very plan building, similar to the Sunday School only larger, the chapel was rebuilt in 1862 and gained an elegant angular spire , a beautiful interior and a fine pipe organ. Click here for link to Picture Sheffield / Zion Chapel Attercliffe . The chapel fell into disuse as houses in Attercliffe were demolished. The area took on a more industrial character and the building was used as a warehouse until it burnt down in 1987 after soon after it was demolished. Eventually the land where the building stood was purchased by Riley’s Machine Tools who owned a nearby shop. The land was fenced in for security and over time became a small forest.
Earlier this year the local paper reported that the graveyard was up for sale and so the trail started to hunt down the owners, key holder and finally the grave. By amazing good fortune, heavenly guidance or the sixth sense of volunteer Dave Roberts, we found the Read family gravestone lying flat beneath four inches of dust and ground cover.
The inscription lists the family members interred in the vault beneath the two huge stones: baby daughter Julia Read who died 1818 aged 11 months, Sarah who died aged 23 in 1829, Joseph Read 1837, his wife Elizabeth 1865, daughter-in-law Sophie, Catherine 1867, Emily 1883 aged 75, and finally Mary Anne in 1887 aged 85. The only son Edmund Read died abroad in 1873. The only family member not buried here is Eliza Wilson who despite ill health gave birth to nine children before she died in 1851 at the age of 48. All the other Read children died childless, Mary Anne’s own daughter Lizzie having died in Capri in 1862 aged 33.
There are many other graves smothered in foliage. Each of these people had an interesting and important life and deserves to be remembered, their resting place respected. If you know of a relative buried there or are a descendant of any of the grandchildren of Joseph and Elizabeth Read, descendants of Henry Joseph Wilson, or John Wycliffe Wilson, please get in touch through this website even if you have contacted us before. It doesn’t matter of you are far away we just need to be able to contact you to prevent the graves being built over. Thank you.