Monday, May 30, 2016

Viscount Bolingbroke and the Burial Ground saga

By 1880 the churchyard at St Mary's was pretty much full up ...

Parish of Lydiard Tregoze

A Vestry meeting of the Ratepayers of this Parish will be held, God willing, in the Vestry Room at the Church on Lady Day, March 25 at eleven o'clock a.m.

The following is the business to be transacted:-

1.     Election of Churchwardens for the ensuing year
2.     Election of Guardian, Overseers of the Poor and Waywarden.
3.     To consider the matter of providing additional burial ground for the Parish
4.     Election of two gentlemen to represent the Parish as a Ruridecanal Conference to be held in the           Spring.

March 13th 1880     T.T. Shipman M.A. Rector
                                 H.A.E. Slade )
                                 Walter Ody    ) Churchwardens

The bulk of the meeting was to deal with routine Parish business, but there was one pressing matter up for discussion.

After the appointments were announced the question of providing additional Burial grounds was then considered and the following resolutions were passed.

1.     That in the present overcrowded state of the Church yard it is imperative that immediate steps taken to provide additional burial ground.

2.     That an earnest request be presented to the Patron, Viscount Bolingbroke, that he would be so good as to grant an enlargement of the present ground on the conditions that the old ground be closed for burial and that the Parish defray all necessary expenses.

But despite the obvious need matters remained unresolved eight years later.

23rd February 1888

At an adjourned Vestry meeting held this day pursuant to notice duly given
Present Lord Bolingbroke
Messrs G. Ody, W. Ody, J.C. Humphries, W. Kinchin, T. Kinchin, J. Habgood, H.E. Slade, E. Willis, J. Edwards, G. Price, W. Large, J. Smith, W.O. Collingbourne, T. Knighton and the Rector with W. Bevir of Wootton Bassett by invitation.

It was unanimously resolved
That a Committee consisting of
Lord Bolingbroke
The Churchwardens and Messrs. Large and E. Willis with the Rector
be appointed to obtain a specification of the work necessary to be done in preparing and enclosing a site for a new Burial Ground with a Mortuary Chapel; and to ascertain if the requisite funds necessary to defray the cost of the same can be met by Voluntary contributions; and to report the result of their efforts to this Vestry Meeting, which for this purpose shall stand adjourned until Tuesday 6th March next at half past ten o clock in the Vestry Room.

Lord Bolingbroke offered to give a half acre of land at Hook for the purpose and promised a subscription of £80 towards the expense of inclosure, laying out for the same.

Henry G. Baily (Rector)

But you get the impression that perhaps the local residents didn't quite believe him and they expressed their feelings in a petition.

We the undersigned inhabitants of Lydiard Tregoz considering the extremely painful position in which the Parish is placed by having had no place provided for the interment of the dead since the 1st January last, when the parish churchyard was closed by an order in Council; and knowing that the great distance of the site proposed for the new Burial Ground from the Parish church, will necessitate the outlay of a very large sum of money to provide a chapel for the performance of the service; while a further and considerable amount will be necessary to pay for the deep drainage of the ground, in addition to levelling and enclosing it; and being assured that the very large expenditure which will be incurred hereby cannot be met by voluntary subscription, do hereby request you to call a vestry meeting at an early date, to consider and determine what steps shall be taken to provide additional Burial ground for the Parish.

To the Rector & Churchwardens of Lydiard Tregoz

There were more than 20 names on the petition, including Richard Strange from Mannington Farm, Hercules H.E. Slade from Spittleborough Farm, William Kinchin from Windmill Leaze Farm and George Ody from Wickfield.

At a meeting on 28th May 1889 it was resolved 

i    That a burial ground under the Burial Acts shall be provided for the Parish of Lydiard Tregoz 

proposed by Walter Ody
seconded by W. Collingbourn
carried unanimously

ii    That a burial board consisting of six members be appointed for this parish; and that one third of the members of this Board shall go out of office annually on the Thursday immediately preceeding the twenty fifth of March every year.

proposed by Mr W.J. Large
seconded by Mr Slade
carried unanimously

iii   That the Rector with Messrs W.J. Large, E. Willis, W. Rebbeck, H. Slade and J.Edward be and are hereby appointed Members of the Board.

Proposed by Mr Walter Ody
seconded by T. Kinchin
carried unanimously

But Lord Bolingbroke dragged his heels and the scandal of the Burial Ground rumbled on until the Vestry Meeting of March 26, 1891 when the Rector Henry G. Baily recorded:

A letter was read from Lord Bolingbroke to the Chairman of the Burial Board informing him that his Lordship would give to the Burial Board for the purpose of a Cemetery half an acre of land part of a field at Hook called "Ables" which site had been approved by the Local Government Board and it was Resolved.

But was that the end of the matter ...

Martha Hale from Creeches Farm was buried in Radnor Street Cemetery

Rector T.T. Shipman, was also  buried in Radnor Street Cemetery.
Hook Burial Ground

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