THE grieving children of a man whose cremated remains are buried in Bourne Abbey churchyard have won exceptional permission from a court to have them exhumed so he can spend eternity with his recently deceased wife in Harlow.
Mark Bishop, Chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln and a judge of the Church of England’s Consistory Court, has given the go-ahead for the exhumation of Alan Peglar’s cremated remains and the their reinterment in a “family plot” in Harlow, despite the normal legal rule that Christian burial in consecrated ground should be final and the remains should not be moved.
In a petition supported by Father Atkinson, the vicar of Bourne, Mr Peglar’s children applied for permission for their late father’s cremated remains to be exhumed and reinterred at Parndon Wood Cemetery, where their mother’s cremated remains were interred following her death in September 2011.
They argued that Mr and Mrs Peglar lived their lives in Essex and moved to Bourne following their retirement in 2007, but shortly thereafter Mr Peglar became ill. And, when he died in August 2008 and his remains were interred in Bourne Abbey churchyard on September 4, 2008.
Mrs Peglar fell ill two years later but her ashes were interred in a family plot in Parndon Wood Cemetery.
Ruling that the circumstances of the case were sufficiently exceptional to grant a “faculty” – Consistory Court permission – for the exhumation, the judge said: “In my judgment, this application can be granted on the basis that Mr Peglar’s ashes be placed in a family plot together with Mrs Peglar’s ashes.
“The condition of this exhumation is that they are being placed together in one place. It is because this is an application for a family grave that it is granted.”
He said Mr and Mrs Peglar’s links with Bourne had been “shortlived”, that plainly the whole focus of the family was in the Harlow area, that the immediate family all live nearby and that they wished to be able to visit their parents’ graves together.
However, he added: “If the application had been simply on the basis that it was inconvenient for the family to visit Bourne, or distressing because of the associations, this would not be sufficient to disturb the grave where the presumption in Christian burial is permanence.”