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Crisis over graveyard maintenance - Discuss

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A conference is taking place to discuss what is described as a crisis in the maintenance of graveyards.
English Heritage says Britain has the world's best graveyard heritage, but that gravestones are deteriorating through weathering and vandalism.
The meeting in Oxford will discuss how the neglect of the sites also means a decay of their social history.
English Heritage hopes renewed public interest in genealogy will improve conservation efforts in cemeteries.
Britain has thousands of parish churches with graveyards dating back to Medieval times, which English Heritage says are repositories of a rich social history.
BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott says so many people have been buried and slowly decayed in churchyards that they are often conspicuously higher than surrounding ground.
He said collections of stone monuments and gravestones have been built up over the centuries, often bearing colourful inscriptions.
But they are slowly succumbing to weathering and the onset of undergrowth, and many gravestones have been removed by local authorities concerned for public safety, our correspondent added.

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We have discussed this problem in our graveyards previously here on the FHUK Website and forums and no doubt we will do so again...


The problem is compounded by outmoded burial laws which make it an offence to tamper with a grave.
The Burial Act of 1857 made it illegal to disturb bodies without a special licence from the Home Office.
The law dates back to the days of Burke and Hare when grave robbers pillaged tombs for bodies.
Today the exhumation of both buried and cremated remains requires a Home Office licence unless the site is to be cleared for development.


So we really should have someone to look after the maintenance - such as English Heritage with the obvious funds to maintain them. If we do not soon, we will have no graveyards and certainly no headstones.........


Regards,
Dave
 

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