Pensioner upset over graveyard space

A PENSIONER has said how sorry she is she might be one of the last people to be buried in a parish churchyard which is threatened with closure.Lyn Mathams, 65, who lives off Love Lane in Brightlingsea, said she though there was enough space to keep the graveyard open for the foreseeable future.

A PENSIONER has said how sorry she is she might be one of the last people to be buried in a parish churchyard which is threatened with closure.

Lyn Mathams, 65, who lives off Love Lane in Brightlingsea, said she thought there was enough space to keep the graveyard open for the foreseeable future.

Miss Mathams' family goes back at least eight generations in the Essex town and many of her ancestors are buried in the grounds of All Saints' Church.

But recently the local vicar, Richard Salenius, supported by church authorities, applied to close the churchyard on the grounds there is no space left for new graves.


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The move met with opposition from some residents, including members of Brightlingsea Town Council.

"I have been fighting for the retention of our churchyard for about two and a half years," said Miss Mathams.

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"There are three areas in the graveyard which have been proven to be virgin land.

"They could take around 150 graves. They should be used up first.

"There's one area, a pathway, which we know is virgin land. The church's objection is that new headstones wouldn't match the old ones.

"I find that rather stupid. I spoke to a firm of stonemasons who said you can still get the old headstones."

Miss Mathams said she would be buried in the graveyard after her death because she had reserved a plot at the time her father died 16 years ago.

However she said she felt people living in Brightlingsea should have the right to be buried in the church grounds.

But yesterday the Reverend Salenius said he disagreed.

"It is not the church's responsibility to provide burial ground. Why should a small congregation of 200 have to fund a churchyard for a town of 8,500 people?" he said.

"When has Miss Mathams ever managed a churchyard? We have six acres. "There is no way we are going to buy any more land, because we don't have the capital.

"Although we've said it again and again and again these people don't listen. To be honest I have given up trying to talk sense."

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