Updated 29 Mar 2009

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Preserving Inscriptions

Ever wondered whether Memorial Inscriptions get recorded when graves are removed from a graveyard? Fred Dawson, a Parish priest, gave some useful info. to DERBYSGEN

From:  Fred Dawson {freddawson@ukonline.co.uk}
Subject:  [DBY] Shirland Churchyard 
Date:  Sun, 9 Feb 2003

Dear listers,

Valerie Jones wrote recently about the notice in Derbyshire Times re the
changes proposed in Shirland St Leonard churchyard.

I am a parish priest with a large churchyard, still in use and these
observations arise from my experience.

A 'Faculty' (the Church of England's version of planning permission, a
process in law) will be required to undertake the work and the giving of
public notice is required when a Faculty is sought: hence the notice in
Derbyshire Times. I suggest that interested parties locally should request
that a thorough detailed recording of all the monumental inscriptions be
made as a condition of the Faculty. If this is done, there will be a legal
responsibility upon those concerned (local authority and/or Parochial Church
Council) to meet this condition. But time is of the essence. The person to
write to is: The Registrar of Derby Diocese, Derby Church House, Full
Street, Derby DE1 3DR. Nomally there is a 28 day 'window' when
representations can be made - and that could be at any stage, or gone.

Some years ago (before our arrival here) many kerbs were removed from our
churchyard by the PCC, following the granting of a Faculty. But no
conditions were made about recording inscriptions, or disposing of the kerbs
properly and many just ended up being dumped in a waste heap. Learn from our
mistakes !

Fred Dawson
Fred writes again:
I've been "in holy orders" for 34 years, man and boy almost, so I've had a
lot to do with Faculty procedure and could write on it/be consulted about it
in greater detail if required. Not that I'm a church lawyer, just a jobbing
parish clergyman. My wife who is also a 'Derbyshire Lister' suggested I
wrote about it - though actually she could have done so just as well,
knowing every bit as much about it as I do.

One aspect of the story that interests me is the relationship between the
Shirland incumbent/PCC and the local authority. Forgive me if you know all
this stuff already, but here's the standard deal: when a churchyard no
longer has space for new graves to be dug (as opposed to reopening old ones
for second burials), then it can be "closed" by Orders in Council (that's to
say, at central government level). Once a churchyard is thus closed, there
is a statutory duty on the local authority to take on responsibility for
maintaining it, subject to certain conditions at the time of the
'take-over'. However, ownership of the churchyard does not change, the
authority's responsibility is simply to maintain it. It appears in the
Shirland case that the district council are wanting to make their lives
easier, understandably, by moving kerbs which making mowing difficult. Well
and good, subject to the legal constraints. However, the local church still
has responsibility for what happens. I hope they are asserting themselves,
not just rolling over & leading it all to the Dictrict Council. End of soap

Incidentally, although I've never been in ministry in a Derbyshire parish, I
am in fact a native of Ashbourne (smashing place to have grown up). One of
the routes I used to know best of all was that between Ashbourne and
Wirksworth, via Kniveton, Carsington, Hopton and the old Cromford & High
Peak railway. Then, round the corner, the Via Gellia - splendid! Of course
that Ashbourne route has changed so much now, with the coming of the
Carsington reservoir & I probably wouldn't know it any more.

Any way, keep up the good work!
Fred writes again:
Further to the previous, I have spoken to the Derby Diocesan Registrar, who
assures me that the inscriptions on the kerbs etc (which NE Derbys District
Council hope to remove, by Faculty) have already been transcribed & the
details submitted with the application. I understand too that these kerbs,
if the Faculty is granted, will be buried in the churchyard - which to me
seems appropriate.

It never does any harm to be vigilant but I think in this case 'all the
bases have been covered' and appropriate action planned.

Fred Dawson

Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2003, John Palmer, All Rights Reserved.