MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he has seen in The Essex Weekly News, of January 15th, a statement to the effect, that at the burial of Mrs. Grinter, of Springfield, Chelmsford, a Wesleyan, under the Burial Act of 1880, the grave was dug in an isolated portion of the burial ground, near a rubbish heap, and where the mourners had to stand nearly ankle-deep in mud; and also that the gates of the churchyard through which the burial ground is ordinarily approached were locked by order of the Reverend A. Pearson, the Rector, and the mourners wore obliged to enter through a gate used only for carts and workmen; whether ho will inquire into the facts of the case, and, should they be authenticated, if he will cause proceedings to be instituted against the Rector for obstructing the burial; and, if he will consider the expediency of including in any measure for improved local government the transfer of the control of parochial burial grounds to authorities elected by the parishioners?
THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. CHILDERS)
In reply to the hon. Member I have to say that I have received a Report from the clergyman of the parish, together with a map, showing the exact arrangement of the ground. It appears that the gate made use of on this occasion was certainly the nearest approach to the grave, and the only public entrance. Considering, however, the inclement state of the weather and the presence of the heap of rubbish, of which the clergyman said he was not aware, it would, no doubt, have been better if the gate had been unlocked and access allowed by the cleaner path. But it does not seem a matter for any further interference on the part of the Secretary of State. With regard to the last paragraph of the Question, I am not at present in a position to express any definite opinion.