§ MR. CALEB WRIGHT (Lancashire, S.W., Leigh)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has now received from the incumbent of the parish of Holy Trinity, Ashton - in - Makerfield, an acknowledgment that it has been notified to the inhabitants that breadths or graves are appropriated in the churchyard" only on condition that no other than the Church of England service is ever used;" and whether the incumbent has been informed that such an intimation is opposed to the intention of the Legislature, as indicated by the Burial Act of 1880?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
The rector does not deny that the condition quoted is attached to certain charges made for particular interments; but in all the cases where such condition is appended the burial was according to the rites of the Church of England, and in none of them was the rector asked to apply the provisions of the Act of 1880. The rector holds that he has an absolute power to order the position of every interment, and, moreover, that he cannot be compelled to sell or appropriate a grave to any one. These are questions 714 of law as to which it is not my duty to express an opinion. I have written to the rector to say that, in my opinion, to stipulate beforehand that a grave where the Church service is used shall be in any respect superior to a grave where the Church service is not used appears contrary to the spirit of the Act of 1880. In reply the rector assures me that in his churchyard all graves are alike as to position, and no one grave is in any sense superior to another, whether the Church of England service is used or is not used.