HC Deb 01 May 1884 vol 287 cc1024-5

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he has seen a statement in The Maidenhead Advertiser of 19th March, that, at the burial by a Nonconformist minister, in the churchyard of All Saints, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead, of a girl named Annie Barnes, the funeral party were not allowed to enter by the churchyard gates, but had to enter through an opening in the churchyard fence, which had been made for the purpose; whether he is aware that this is the second occasion on which the same obstruction has been offered to a Nonconformist burial in All Saints' churchyard, and that the vicar, the Rev. A. H. Drummond, has declared his determination to pursue a similar course in future; and, whether he will cause inquiry to be made into the facts; and, if they prove to be as stated, will give directions for instituting legal proceedings against the vicar?


said, he would ask, in reference to the same statement, Whether it is the fact that the church, vicarage, schools, and curate's house form a quadrangle, out of which a path leads through and under the church tower to the churchyard, which lies entirely on the other side of the church, and that, consequently, this path is only used by funerals which go to the church; whether the "opening in the churchyard fence," referred to in The Maidenhead Advertiser, is an entrance which has existed for many years, with gravel properly laid up to it, giving direct access to the churchyard; and, whether at the time of the funeral the gates of the quadrangle were unfastened, and many of the attendants actually went through them?


I have received a communication from the Vicar, from which it appears that the facts are correctly stated in the Question of the noble Lord. I may state that the Vicar writes that he has already written to inform the Bishop that he is willing, in deference to his Lordship, in future to permit such funerals to use the entrance through the gates of the quadrangle if it is desired. I hope this will put an end to any further difficulty.