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Old 14-07-2011, 15:18   #1
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Angry Where have all the graves gone?

As a keen historian I am disappointed and extremely bemused at the seemingly callous way that grave stones from former church yards have been removed. I understand that in the recent past St James Parish church in Accrington ended its burial policy and its former residents [corpses] were transferred to Christchurch; with the exception of a handful. Records describe the remains being in the church's vault but I have asked people who attend the church and ministers where it is and they say there is no vault. An old Accrington newspaper report states that most of the coffins were in good repair and able to be relocated. Only one, that of thomas Hargreaves was broken and that was re-encased and remained in the vault where it lay! Look at any old photos of the church and you can see the number of gravestones there used to be at St James.

The same applies to Christchurch. I find it unbelievable that the graves were uprooted and a children's playground created over the area
When I broached the subject with the present minister he was very quick to say that everything was done according to the law and that records of the deceased would have been transferred to Lancashire County records office in Preston. What gets me is the fact that the funds for building churches like Christchuirch came from generous benefactors whose memory and munificence one would expect to be respected. Having no doubt paid a fee to be buried in the church's grave yard, simply because they no longer have any family left in the vicinity they feel they can discard them as they please. OK, so the records may be at Lancashire County records office but where are the headstones? Had they have been left around the edges of the church grounds at least ancestors looking for past relatives could see some evidence of their existence on site. I just think the churches have acted disgracefully and without any respect for their former benefactors and church members.

Again, as with St James, on old photos of Christchurch you can see the number of grave stones towards the rear of the church, where the play area is now but where would they have gone? Surely not destroyed
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Old 14-07-2011, 17:32   #2
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikejoe View Post
As a keen historian I am disappointed and extremely bemused at the seemingly callous way that grave stones from former church yards have been removed. I understand that in the recent past St James Parish church in Accrington ended its burial policy and its former residents [corpses] were transferred to Christchurch; with the exception of a handful. Records describe the remains being in the church's vault but I have asked people who attend the church and ministers where it is and they say there is no vault. An old Accrington newspaper report states that most of the coffins were in good repair and able to be relocated. Only one, that of thomas Hargreaves was broken and that was re-encased and remained in the vault where it lay! Look at any old photos of the church and you can see the number of gravestones there used to be at St James.

The same applies to Christchurch. I find it unbelievable that the graves were uprooted and a children's playground created over the area
When I broached the subject with the present minister he was very quick to say that everything was done according to the law and that records of the deceased would have been transferred to Lancashire County records office in Preston. What gets me is the fact that the funds for building churches like Christchurch came from generous benefactors whose memory and munificence one would expect to be respected. Having no doubt paid a fee to be buried in the church's grave yard, simply because they no longer have any family left in the vicinity they feel they can discard them as they please. OK, so the records may be at Lancashire County records office but where are the headstones? Had they have been left around the edges of the church grounds at least ancestors looking for past relatives could see some evidence of their existence on site. I just think the churches have acted disgracefully and without any respect for their former benefactors and church members.

Again, as with St James, on old photos of Christchurch you can see the number of grave stones towards the rear of the church, where the play area is now but where would they have gone? Surely not destroyed
Well if the gravestones have gone so have the graves, which would suggest they were moved together
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Old 14-07-2011, 17:43   #3
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

You shouldn't regret their moving.
When bodies are well rotted and graves never visited they shouldn't occupy land that could be better used.
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Old 14-07-2011, 18:10   #4
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

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Originally Posted by Mikejoed View Post
As a keen historian I am disappointed and extremely bemused at the seemingly callous way that grave stones from former church yards have been removed. I understand that in the recent past St James Parish church in Accrington ended its burial policy and its former residents [corpses] were transferred to Christchurch; with the exception of a handful. Records describe the remains being in the church's vault but I have asked people who attend the church and ministers where it is and they say there is no vault. An old Accrington newspaper report states that most of the coffins were in good repair and able to be relocated. Only one, that of thomas Hargreaves was broken and that was re-encased and remained in the vault where it lay! Look at any old photos of the church and you can see the number of gravestones there used to be at St James.

The same applies to Christchurch. I find it unbelievable that the graves were uprooted and a children's playground created over the area
When I broached the subject with the present minister he was very quick to say that everything was done according to the law and that records of the deceased would have been transferred to Lancashire County records office in Preston. What gets me is the fact that the funds for building churches like Christchuirch came from generous benefactors whose memory and munificence one would expect to be respected. Having no doubt paid a fee to be buried in the church's grave yard, simply because they no longer have any family left in the vicinity they feel they can discard them as they please. OK, so the records may be at Lancashire County records office but where are the headstones? Had they have been left around the edges of the church grounds at least ancestors looking for past relatives could see some evidence of their existence on site. I just think the churches have acted disgracefully and without any respect for their former benefactors and church members.

Again, as with St James, on old photos of Christchurch you can see the number of grave stones towards the rear of the church, where the play area is now but where would they have gone? Surely not destroyed
No reburials have ever taken place at Christ Church, I've lived in the area for 80 years, all the burials in Christ Church, which was full years ago, have been recorded, the Vicar lent me the 3 books of burial records, which I indexed. With the aid of Atarah holding one end of a tape measure, and numbers marked on the surrounding walls, I was able to draw a plan of the Church yard, and all the grave sites. No bodies have been exhumed either. As for St James, don't know of any exhumations there either, some years ago some one stole the map of the grave yard from a book in Accy Library, with the aid of a photograph I was able to draw a new one, most of the grave stones were just moved to form a path way round the church yard. The only reburials in the past 50 years were the Oak St Congregationalist, they were reburied in Accy Cem. The other one was the old Macpelah on Hyndburn Rd. Jack Broderick & I spent two days filming them, not all the remains from there were reburied, some just had bags of lime tipped in, and recovered, quite a lot were moved to Accy Cem. Most of the grave markers in Macpelah were taken to New Lane Ossy, but several were cracked by the bulldozer drivers ignoring the requests to preserve them. Atarah & I cleared all the gravestones in Macpelah some 30 years ago, and I photographed them all.
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Last edited by Retlaw; 14-07-2011 at 18:18.
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Old 14-07-2011, 18:20   #5
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

Walter - have you ever come across any evidence of an ossuary in Accrington (apart from the aptly named Ossy, that is)?
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Old 14-07-2011, 18:53   #6
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

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Walter - have you ever come across any evidence of an ossuary in Accrington (apart from the aptly named Ossy, that is)?
Apart from Ossy no. One thing has puzzled me for years, when I indexed the parish registers for Church Kirk, St James Altham, St James Acc, & St Bartholomews Gt Harwood, from the number of burials, why the ground isn't 6 ft higher than it is.
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Old 20-07-2011, 17:19   #7
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

Whether the corpses were removed or not the Headstones most definitely have been and these were historical evidences that should have remained at the church. I understand there was quite a huge memorial headstone dedicated to Robert Hargreaves, one of the major benefactors to Christchurch and its day school.

I will scan the newspaper clipping that I have that reports the exhumation of the corpses at St James and their transferral to Christchurch. It also states that most were in good repair with the exception of Thomas Hargreaves', whose coffin was re-shelled and left where it was in the vault.
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Old 20-07-2011, 19:02   #8
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

Rev Logan, recently retired vicar of Ch Ch, is likely to back up Walter's thoughts on the matter. He may know more. Still lives locally.
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Old 20-07-2011, 20:58   #9
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Rev Logan, recently retired vicar of Ch Ch, is likely to back up Walter's thoughts on the matter. He may know more. Still lives locally.
He is the one who lent me the burial records, he is also the one who said there would be nothing left to re-bury.
If that is so what the eck do Time Team keep find during their excavations.
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Old 20-07-2011, 21:22   #10
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

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Whether the corpses were removed or not the Headstones most definitely have been and these were historical evidences that should have remained at the church. I understand there was quite a huge memorial headstone dedicated to Robert Hargreaves, one of the major benefactors to Christchurch and its day school.

I will scan the newspaper clipping that I have that reports the exhumation of the corpses at St James and their transferral to Christchurch. It also states that most were in good repair with the exception of Thomas Hargreaves', whose coffin was re-shelled and left where it was in the vault.
There is nothing in the Christ Church burial records, to show any remains transferred from other places.
Atarah has pictures of Christ Church grave yard when all the grave markers were still in place, there was hardly room between graves, in fact some of the burials of young children, are shown as between known graves.
The last burial in Christ Church was in Nov 1966, Justin Wenter ex Vicar of the church.
During the 1950's there were only 10 burials + 2 cremated remains, & only 3 in the 1960's.
The grave yard was then closed for any further burials.

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Last edited by Retlaw; 20-07-2011 at 21:26. Reason: spelling
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Old 21-07-2011, 09:40   #11
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Where have all the graves gone?

Mike, we will never stop old graveyards being used for other uses. Its just what you call progress. Whats done is done!

Digressing slightly, but, as a further example, take a look at this photo. If you think about it, you will recognise its where property is now built. (once Church property) - At the time of demolitioning it, people were probably up in arms also.
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File Type: jpg NewJerusalemoriginalschool.JPG (18.3 KB, 55 views)

Last edited by Atarah; 21-07-2011 at 09:43.
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Old 21-07-2011, 09:50   #12
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

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The same applies to Christchurch. I find it unbelievable that the graves were uprooted and a children's playground created over the area

TOTALLY INCORRECT MIKE! Believe you me, the gravestones were taken away LONG LONG before a children's nursery in part of the church was even thought of. (The play area is on a small area too, not the whole grassed area). I too had misgivings when I realised what they had done. They have even put tarmac over an area, where as a kid, I played on the old gravestones, but ... unfortunately its happened, so .......
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Old 26-07-2011, 11:52   #13
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Unhappy Re: Where have all the graves gone?

I visited Christchurch Sunday morning gone. Whilst there I spoke at length with a former deacon who was most helpful.

It seems as part of the Church's new modern image they have made several changes in recent years. looking at some old photos inside the church I noticed that not only had they removed the gravestones they have also removed the memorial plaques that were on the walls inside the church.

Retlaw, I have the greatest respect for you but I do wish you wouldn't keep refuting my report on re-internments at Christchurch. I am only repeating what I have read in the attached newspaper clipping from the library. [Hope the upload shows I've never attempted this before].

Amongst the photos inside the church there was one that clearly showed headstones, some quite big, in the area where the childrens play ground is now. The former Deacon suggested the grave stones were laid flat and covered up with soil on the site. This doesn't satisfactorily explain what happened to the monuments, such as the huge one dedicated to Robert Hargreaves and referred to in R S Crossley's writings. I suggested they could have placed the headstones around the church walls so that anyone seeking information for their family tree could still see them. However, they were afraid they might fall over on someone and rather than respect the memory of those who had contributed to the upkeep of the church in past years by securing them to the walls they prefferred to just bury them. Utterly disgraceful. Without such people in the past there would be no Christchurch. Easy come, easy go I suppose for some.

Of course times move on Atarah and as the Deacon rightly corrected me 'The Church is there for God's glory as a place of worship to Him, not to man. That it is a church and not a museum'. However, people carrying out ancestry searches rely quite heavily on churches as places of accurate record keeping. In the case of Christchurch they will now have to hike to the records office of Lancashire County offices in preston.

The only evidence I found left to the Hargreaves family support of Christchurch is in one of the stain glass windows which was dedicated to the memory of Robert and Louise Hargreaves by their daughter louisa.

I'll perhaps find out where Rev Logan lives, Bob, and enquire with him as to the desecration of the graves at Christchurch.
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Old 26-07-2011, 12:47   #14
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

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Originally Posted by Mikejoed View Post
I visited Christchurch Sunday morning gone. Whilst there I spoke at length with a former deacon who was most helpful.

It seems as part of the Church's new modern image they have made several changes in recent years. looking at some old photos inside the church I noticed that not only had they removed the gravestones they have also removed the memorial plaques that were on the walls inside the church.

Retlaw, I have the greatest respect for you but I do wish you wouldn't keep refuting my report on re-internments at Christchurch. I am only repeating what I have read in the attached newspaper clipping from the library. [Hope the upload shows I've never attempted this before].

Amongst the photos inside the church there was one that clearly showed headstones, some quite big, in the area where the childrens play ground is now. The former Deacon suggested the grave stones were laid flat and covered up with soil on the site. This doesn't satisfactorily explain what happened to the monuments, such as the huge one dedicated to Robert Hargreaves and referred to in R S Crossley's writings. I suggested they could have placed the headstones around the church walls so that anyone seeking information for their family tree could still see them. However, they were afraid they might fall over on someone and rather than respect the memory of those who had contributed to the upkeep of the church in past years by securing them to the walls they prefferred to just bury them. Utterly disgraceful. Without such people in the past there would be no Christchurch. Easy come, easy go I suppose for some.

Of course times move on Atarah and as the Deacon rightly corrected me 'The Church is there for God's glory as a place of worship to Him, not to man. That it is a church and not a museum'. However, people carrying out ancestry searches rely quite heavily on churches as places of accurate record keeping. In the case of Christchurch they will now have to hike to the records office of Lancashire County offices in preston.

The only evidence I found left to the Hargreaves family support of Christchurch is in one of the stain glass windows which was dedicated to the memory of Robert and Louise Hargreaves by their daughter louisa.

I'll perhaps find out where Rev Logan lives, Bob, and enquire with him as to the desecration of the graves at Christchurch.
When you started this thread, you made it appear as if it those reburials had hapened in the past few years, now the news cutting shows a date of 1874.
There is nothing in the Christ Church records to show any burials/reburials in the mid 1800's on any of the names mentioned, Grace, Arthur, Charles & Sarah Hargreaves. There is no mention of them in the burial book or the burial register.
As for the grave stones being laid flat and covered with grass, no way, I've lived across from the church for near 50 years, those stones, the supporting pillars etc were removed. As for asking Kevin Logan, the grave stones had gone long before he came to the church, George Storey the previous vicar would be the one to speak to.
Where your mysterious Hargreaves went to will have to remain a mystery, Have your asked yourself, why would they remove the remains of just 4 Hargreaves, & put one back, then move the 4 to Christ Church, they could have just reburied them at St James.
Retlaw

Last edited by Retlaw; 26-07-2011 at 12:49. Reason: Spelling
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Old 26-07-2011, 13:22   #15
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Re: Where have all the graves gone?

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Retlaw, I have the greatest respect for you but I do wish you wouldn't keep refuting my report on re-internments at Christchurch. I am only repeating what I have read in the attached newspaper clipping from the library. [Hope the upload shows I've never attempted this before].
I am not refuting your report, I work from documentry evidence, those burial registers for Christ Church are documents recording all the burials, and internments, if your newspaper report doesn't agree with official records, then which are you going to accept. A local chip wrapper. There should also be further records as in Bishops Transcripts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikejoed View Post
However, people carrying out ancestry searches rely quite heavily on churches as places of accurate record keeping. In the case of Christchurch they will now have to hike to the records office of Lancashire County offices in Preston.
There is a copy of all my work on that church in Accrington Library

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The only evidence I found left to the Hargreaves family support of Christchurch is in one of the stain glass windows which was dedicated to the memory of Robert and Louise Hargreaves by their daughter Louisa.
The two people that stained glass window refers to are.
Robert Hargreaves age 45 of Bank House buried 31-5-1854.
Louisa Hargreaves age 77 of 53 Porchester Terrace, London, buried 13-1-1894.
They are not the same Hargreaves's family buried in St James.
There were several prominent Hargreaves family's in Accrington back then.
Retlaw.

Last edited by Neil; 18-08-2011 at 01:16. Reason: fix quote
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