Steps have been taken to close the churchyard to future burials at historic St Mary’s in Weston.
The churchyard, which is believed to date back to the 1100s, is almost full and an application has been put forward by the Parochial Church Council to begin the process of closure.
Weston Parish Council is hoping to be able to use a piece of land adjacent to the church as an additional burial ground.
Clerk at the parish council Susan Wilson said: “Some years ago the parish council were fortunate to be able to secure a small piece of land adjacent to Weston’s Churchyard with the intention of providing additional burial ground for the Parish in the event of the Parochial Church Council applying to the Ministry of Justice for the closure (for future burials other than in existing graves or reserved plots) of the Churchyard.
“The Parochial Church Council has now made this application which has yet to be determined by the Ministry of Justice. If the application is granted the Parochial Church Council can then choose to apply to the parish council to take over the maintenance of the Churchyard.
“Discussions took place in 2016 and, in principle and subject to certain provisos, the parish council are willing to take over the maintenance of the churchyard, however the ongoing costs involved in this will fall to the council tax payers of Weston and Weston Hills.
“The Parish Council are now seeking advice on the process of opening up the additional land as a burial ground.”
Under UK law, if a churchyard no longer has space (except in family graves) for further burials, it may be appropriate the make more formal provision for closing the churchyard and its further maintenance. This must be put to the Ministry of Justice to approve.
The Rev Adrian Smith, for the Diocese of Lincoln, said: “The churchyard at St Mary’s Weston is almost full in terms of space for burials and so is seeking to close, formally. It is important to note that the church will not be closing.”
In addition, he said: “The churchyard at Sutton Bridge (St Matthew) is now full, with a new cemetery being opened for burials for the people of Sutton Bridge.”