Public to have a say on burial ground in Fleet

Volunteers put on this year's flower festival at St Mary Magdalene Church, Fleet, where members will be asked whether a new area of the churchyard should be used for burials.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Volunteers put on this year's flower festival at St Mary Magdalene Church, Fleet, where members will be asked whether a new area of the churchyard should be used for burials. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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Church members in Fleet are to be asked for their views on using part of the churchyard for burials before running out of space.

Leaders at St Mary Magdalene Church, Fleet, are looking at the possibility of re-using an area of the churchyard for graves in the future.

Whilst there are no memorial stones in the majority of the area we hope to use, it is possible that it has been used for burials in previous times

The Reverened Adrian Mason, rector of St Mary Magdalene Church, Fleet

Notices have been put up asking for villagers’ views on the move before asking the Diocese of Lincoln to go ahead, having taken into account the likelihood that the area concerned may have previously been used for burials centuries before.

The Reverened Adrian Mason, rector of St Mary Magdalene Church, said: “The Parochial Church Council of Fleet Church (St Mary Magdalene) is seeking permission to use a different area of the churchyard for burials.

“Whilst there are no memorial stones in the majority of the area we hope to use, it is possible that it has been used for burials in previous times.

“We are therefore going through the process of seeking faculty (church planning) permission and are at the stage of public consultation.”

Mr Mason revealed that similar plans were under way at St Mary Magdalene Church, Gedney, for which church permission is still awaited.

According to the Diocese of Lincoln Churchyard Regulations 2008, any land used for burials in a churchyard is “consecreted ground” and has “special significance” as an area “set apart for sacred use forever”.

The regulations state: “Our churchyards, like our churches, form part of our heritage as a community of Christian people.

“So it our duty for the sake of generations to come, to preserve the churchyard’s distinctive character as a resting place for the dead of the parish and also as the setting for the physical presence of the church in the community.”