Stone Monument to Anne Lister at Shibden Hall

About the project

The monument in celebration of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall (1791-1840) was built by the Women's International Stone Alliance (WISA). It was opened by Anne Lister biographer Helena Whitbread on the 11 September 2022.

WISA worked with Master Craftsman and designer, David Griffiths, to design and create this monument. It sits within the world-class dry-stone exhibit at Shibden Hall which was created by the Dry Stone Walling Association. This opened in 2013.

WISA have also provided opportunities for women to learn from other women in traditional stone trades. Thirty-six women participated in carving workshops led by Antonella Tiozzo or dry-stone walling workshops led by .

Anne Lister Monument Under Construction surrounded by guard rails. On the guard rails is a sign that reads "Stone of arc Dry Stone Walling 0432 350 125"
A crowd is gathered at the Anne Lister Monument for its unveiling
WISA posing next to the Anne Lister Monument

About the monument

The monument has several components that work together to celebrate Anne and her life. It’s a showcase of different traditional stone trades. The cantilevered benches are supported by traditional dry-stone walls. These are built into large stones that have been carved with different motifs representing important parts of Anne's life.

The monument, when viewed from the upper monolith is in the shape of a ‘W’. This represents formidable women everywhere; past, present and future.

The monolith was one large stone cut into three. The lower monoliths were cut in half and are book-ended. The stone used for the three monoliths was generously donated by Traditional Stone located in Horbury Bridge, Wakefield.

The stone used for the wall above and below the benches was donated by local carver and dry stone waller, Simon Lumb.

Monolith at the top of the Anne Lister Monument
A digger parked behind a large stone
A large boulder being cut in two by machinery
A man stood between a large rock that has been cut in two.

The wall that creates the space within and around the monument was built using traditional dry stone walling techniques. The wall below the benches acts as a retaining wall. The benches double as through stones. The wall on top of the benches rises out of the earth creating a space that is both open but intimate. The wall is completed with two different styles of cope stones, which are used to cap the walls.

The Carvings

Numerous carvings are found throughout the monument. The carvings found on the monoliths were carved by Antonella Tiazzo.

The wagon wheel embodies many things, including Anne's love of travel and the importance of a life lived in constant motion. The wagon wheel carving also features branches of an oak tree in winter, without leaves.

The pocket watch is an ode to Anne's obsession with time and her detailed recording of the passage of time in her journals. The pocket watch carving features branches of an oak tree in summer, complete with unfurled leaves. The time carved is six minutes past five, to represent the five women who worked on site for the project and a sixth member of the team in touch from Australia.

The coded diary quote on the upper monolith is an excerpt from one of Anne's journals, ‘let not your spirit turn coward’. The quote is taken from Anne’s diary entry for the 16 May 1834, ‘Cheer up - rally round you all those hopes that are scattered rather than destroyed - let not your spirit turn coward, but gather together your resources - calculate them fairly - manage them well.’ The translation is below the quote, as is a heart with the initials of Anne Lister and Ann Walker, carved by Simon Lumb.

The funeral hatchment is copied from Anne’s displayed within the Hall. It is carved on the front of the centre monolith reclaiming the idea that Anne was unmarried when she died. We know from her diaries that Anne did have a marriage ceremony with Ann Walker in 1834. This would not have been officially recognized at the time. Some coal was placed on the small flower bed in front to note her coal mining endeavours.

The benches are carved with the maker’s mark and date.  

There are also four images copied from the housebody window in Shibden Hall.

WISA Carved into the stone bench


Anne Lister Monument bench carving
Anne Lister Monument bench carving
Anne Lister Monument bench carving

Further reading