Comments: The Church of England and HS2

I suspect that the HS2 petition is going to get a fairly dusty response.

I don't know about the ones south of here, but the Park St burial ground in Birmingham was closed for new ordinary burials in 1857, no further graves were opened after 1873, was converted into a park in 1879 and 1151 coffins were removed to Witton in 1894. Portions had been sold to the LNWR in 1846 and 1892 without much fuss; the eastern route out of New St station runs across its southern boundary.

As you can see from this aerial photograph, it's laid out as a park, and although if you walk through it there are a few grave slabs propped against the wall, it has obviously been cleared of all marked graves. Yes, there will be loose, unlabelled remains in the soil (probably quite degraded, as most soil in central Birmingham is wet and acidic), but given there hasn't been a fresh burial in 140 years and the site was cleared of remains in coffins 120 years ago, there will be no way to identify them. Given it was a pauper's graveyard (an extension of St Martins') the burials done without coffins will probably have been unmarked and possibly unrecorded, and if the church authorities were happy to sell land to the railways while it was an active burial ground, it seems a little excessive to worry about the same thing happening 130 years later.

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 2 June 2014 at 6:32pm BST

The whole thing is nonsense. There are surely perfectly proper procedures for dealing with burial sites. Crossrail has gone straight through plague pits and St Pancras is built on top of a cemetery (although I will admit that 19th century procedures were rather more rough and ready and Thomas Hardy protested at the treatment of the remains in Somerstown)

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 3 June 2014 at 12:38pm BST

As this item appeared on TA we were bidding farewell to an honoured guest who always leaves us enriched by his short stays. The Revd Dr Richard Buxton was my liturgy tutor at Salisbury and very good he was too. Dr Buxton worked as an engineer before training at St Stephen's House Oxford, he celebrated the 45 anniversary of his ordination during this visit.

Richard's great passion is the railway and he works hard at restoring and maintaining stretches of rail, stations and locomotives of a bygone era. Those who know this learned academic will remember him as a solid biblical preacher, and most of us will recall a celebrated sermon that demonstrated by careful biblical reference the unassailable fact that the ancient Hebrews had steam trains.

I am sure he will have much comment of an intelligent, informed sort, on this issue.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 3 June 2014 at 4:46pm BST

Entirely agree with Richard's 'the whole thing is nonsense'. How much longer ('quo usque tandem?') will our buffoonish leadership continue to bring us into disrepute?

Posted by John at Tuesday, 3 June 2014 at 8:10pm BST

Has the Church of England made a 'Grave' mistake?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 4 June 2014 at 11:10am BST
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