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exhumation of ashes church

Exhumation of Ashes, Rounders and Drug Dealing

If you have buried ashes and you want to move them it can be difficult if not impossible, particularly if they the ground they are buried in has on blessed (consecrated ground). In which case it is up to the Church of England’s court to decide whether they can be removed. And they don’t like moving ashes unless there are exceptional circumstance.

Over the past few years I have reported on a lot of cases where people have sought ashes removed. Some have been successful and a some not. It is interesting to see what the court deems exceptional circumstance.

This case was reported in the Telegraph. The family argued that where their father who is buried – at the church of St Mary the Virgin’s in the village of Deane near Bolton, had become has become “derelict” with “dubious and unsavoury characters hanging around, possibly drug dealing”.

The story as reported stated the one of the sons had visit his father’s grave but was prevented as there were a group of people there playing rounders at the graveside.

The family wanted the ashes removed so they could be place in a plot with his wife who was set to be buried at a site near Warrington. Where they could be together.

The church didn’t accept the agreement, the judge thought it was an argument solely to get the ashes to be located somewhere more convenient for visiting, and that if they wanted to put the husband and wife together then they could do this where Mr Humphreys was currently buried.

The judge a Mr Tattersall said: “On the facts here I am not persuaded that, in the exercise of my discretion, I should find that sufficient special circumstances exist to justify my making an exception from the norm that Christian burial is final.” And went on to say: “I think that the real reason behind this application is not that the Petitioner`s parents` cremated remains be interred together, because that can still happen in Deane, but is to inter them together in a locality where most of the family are currently located and can conveniently visit,”

The family thought the whole think was unfair and  have accused the church of having “a lack of empathy”

Whether I think the church’s stance is fair is neither here nor there. It is their stated position, so I am not surprised the outcome was as it was.  I feel a bit sad that family’s  lawyer encouraged them to pursue this, from the way it has been reported they were on a losing wicket from the start.

On a final note and I wonder if the reporter from the Telegraph was being a little naughty presenting an imagined link between people playing rounders and antisocial behaviour / drug dealing. I my Venn diagram of Life these circles rarely if ever overlap…


6 thoughts on “Exhumation of Ashes, Rounders and Drug Dealing

  1. Reply
    Donna - 22nd October 2021

    Hi, my mum has just passed and we want my mum and dad to be together , would we be able to exhume my dads ashes so we could put him and my mum together in a double casket and put them both back in the plot?

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 1st November 2021

      Hi Donna
      In truth I am not sure, I will ask and get back to you.
      Kind regards

  2. Reply
    Ruth Tansley - 29th July 2021

    Since having my husbands ashes buried n the village church in Hordle, Lymington Hants i have moved to Wokingham in Berks. Would it be possible to move his ashes here ?


    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 29th July 2021

      In all honesty Ruth – sadly not – Please see this section it gives most of the circumstances they will and wont allow it

  3. Reply
    Margaret - 21st February 2021

    Can my dad’s 2nd wife’s cremated remains be stopped before internment in the same plot as my dad,.
    She has caused emmence distress to the whole of dad’s family throughout the marriage and on the evening of his funeral the whole of dad’s family received vile abusive phonecalls. No one was allowed any input in dads arrangements, so before she dies can we ( his daughter and son) stop her remains going in with dad’s at our family churchyard

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 22nd February 2021

      Dear Margaret
      This does sound very distressing. It depends who owns the plot, so if you dad bought it solely in his name and his estate passed to his second wife then it is unlikely you would be able to do anything. However if it is a family plot it may require all those with an interest to say that they are happy. I would find out whose name is on the documents to start with, if it is at a churchyard I would approach the vicar to start with.
      Hope it goes well.
      Kind regards

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