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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cemetery

Dulverton Cemetery and All Saints Churchyard

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For the past 85 years the Cemetery in Dulverton has been managed by, formally Dulverton Rural District Council and latterly by Dulverton Town Council. The ground of approximately one acre, was donated by the Herbert family from the nearby Pixton Estate, to the town for when they wished to bury a person of a different religious order than Church of England. Subsequently when the burial ground next to All Saint Church was filled, it became the burial ground for all denominations. The building to the right of the entrance gates was built by the well known local firm of G B Fisher, who has since ceased trading.

After many generations the site has little available space, and we anticipate that within the next three years, the Town Council will have to find another plot of land providing facilities for burials. Not only does land have to be purchased, but also there are associated works that have to be addressed, such as provision of access from the road, car parking, fencing and paths, amounting to considerable extra costs. As everyone knows the purchase of land is an expensive exercise and your Council will be looking at ways to fund this purchase.

This rural Cemetery is one of many that are situated in idyllic country surrounds with pleasant views and very little of the noise that comes with modern living. The Council is responsible for the upkeep of this peaceful spot and spends approximately £4,000 every year, (a figure that increases annually), with many hours given voluntarily to maintain it in a tiptop condition. This site comes also with many of the problems of a quiet location, such as wild life thinking it is entitled to a free lunch of flowers, which relatives thoughtfully have placed on loved ones’ graves We have the problem of trying to cope with the variations of animals and birds such as red deer, squirrels, rabbits, pheasants and even crows, not to mention mice, all which have been seen munching away at expensive flowers. This Council is very aware of the distress this destruction causes to the relatives who spend time and money on the upkeep of the family graves, consequently methods of controlling further damage are constantly being reviewed. We are however very limited as to what can be done to curb the natural activities of our local wildlife.

Members are obliged to acknowledge that the cemetery is a shared public space and therefore have to consider the feelings of all those who visit, many of whom consider  grave yards to be a place of peace and dignified contemplation.

It is for this reason that all those who purchase a plot are required to sign a form stating that they agree to abide by the rules and regulations that are in place.

 The Town Council is now responsible for the maintenance of All Saints Churchyard. You might wonder why the Council has taken on this additional responsibility. An ancient Act of Parliament permits the Church to hand over the maintenance of a "closed churchyard" to either the District Council or the Parish Council. A closed churchyard, by way of explanation is a churchyard that has no more spare ground for burials. A consortium of two members of the Parochial Church Council and two members of the Town Council currently manage it, with finance being provided by both parties. Already, we have had to have a survey done on the thirty four trees as part of an assessment for the future, and steps are being taken to improve the visibility through to the Church by removing overgrown shrubs, diseased trees and unwanted limbs.