VOLUNTEERS have helped to tidy up the final resting place of a former Baptist preacher who died more than 300 years ago.

Bury Voluntary Ranger Service restored the grave of Roger Worthington, which lies in a field off Hawkshaw Lane, on December 28.

Little is known about Mr Worthington other than the fact he preached in the isolated moorland area around Hawkshaw and Edgworth from about 1680 into the 18th century.

He died in 1709, and, having loved the moorlands throughout his lifetime, expressed a desire to be buried on them.

His wish was granted when he was laid to rest in the corner of a small field close to Holcombe Hey Farm, where he used to live.

The grave fell to ruin in the years that followed, but was renovated in 1935.

Raffaele Tuccillo, the chairman of Bury Voluntary Ranger Service, said: “A couple of weeks before Christmas, Christine Taylor, a member of the Ramblers Association and a member of the Local Access Forum asked me if the Volunteers could clear up Roger Worthington’s grave.

“As I’d never heard about him previously I was quite intrigued and even more so when Christine told me that his grave was in the corner of a field at the far end of Hawkshaw Lane in Hawkshaw.

“I visited the grave with a volunteer colleague and was amazed at what we found. The grave plot was about the size of an average home sitting room and surrounded by a drystone wall with an entrance off the lane.

“The plot offered fantastic views of the countryside around it - possibly some of the area that, as a preacher, he ministered to. However, the plot was, quite sadly, seriously overgrown.

“It took us minutes to decide that we would clear the plot and people visiting the site since then have commented on how good it now looks.”