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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Erosion at north Cumbria churchyard may mean graves have to move

Graves could have to moved because of growing fears about the impact of erosion in a churchyard.

Brampton churchyard photo
The grave of Eleanor Bamford-Hill has been damaged by erosion

Parish councillors have already asked the Bishop of Carlisle for permission to move one plot in Brampton Old Church’s yard.

And they might be forced to take further action if land that has already been subject to a partial collapse cannot be shored-up.

If a body or cremated remains are buried on hallowed ground, according to the rites of the Church of England permission – a so-called bishop’s faculty – must be sought to carry out an exhumation and re-interment.

Brampton Parish Council now wants to track down relatives of an Eleanor Bamford-Hill whose plot is on the outermost fringes of the graveyard and is most affected by the risk of slippage.

Clerk Allison Riddell said that attempts had been made to contact any surviving relatives but without success.

She added: “The churchyard is next to the river and there has been some erosion of the bank.

“There has been a massive collapse of the bank. It has fallen by about four feet.

“The one [grave] we are particularly concerned about belongs to Eleanor Bamford-Hill.”

More bishop faculties may have to be sought in future because the graveyard has been eroded by the nearby river and the ground, which has also fallen by several feet, is likely to prove difficult to shore up.

A council wishing to obtain a bishop’s faculty must complete an application form from the Bishops’ Registrar and gain the consent from the vicar who presides over the diocese where the remains are to be re-interred.

To make a cemetery consecrated a religious service takes place in the cemetery prior to burial by a Church of England bishop who administers the area the cemetery is in.

If the plot is from consecrated ground to unconsecrated ground both a Home Office licence and bishop’s faculty would be needed.

Had the grave been outside the consecrated ground no permission would have been required.

Relatives or anyone with information about Eleanor Bamford-Hill is urged to contact the parish council on 016977 3382.

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