Railway navvies had a tough, physical job and most were unmarried men in their twenties. Their pay was relatively high, but it was also a life threatening job. Plenty of men thought it was worth the risk and travelled across the country for work. 21 of the navvies who died during the building of the Settle section of the Settle to Carlisle Railway are buried in Settle churchyard, with many more in other graveyards along the railway.
Thomas Burton was one of many Irish navvies who had come over to England to find work. He died in an accident on the Settle-Carlisle railway at Helwith Bridge, crushed between two wagons, where he was sheltering to protect himself while a charge was being detonated. He was 35.