§ MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts,) Mansfield
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, since the 28th of December, he has received a communication from the husband of the deceased regarding the refusal of the Vicar of St. Thomas, Ashton-in-Makerfield, to permit the interment of Mrs. Merry in the new graveyard of the parish, in which communication Mr. Merry has denied the truth of the Vicar's statement that he (Mr. Merry) had the choice of a grave either in the old or the new ground, and that he had selected the old because his relatives had two graves there; whether Mr. Merry has re-affirmed the statement that the Vicar, on learning that a. Nonconformist service was intended, distinctly refused a new grave, and that in consequence the burial had to take place in an old grave in the old churchyard; whether the Vicar has been made acquainted with Mr. Merry's communication; and, if so, with what result: and whether the Government will consider the expediency of adopting measures to prevent incumbents defeating the intention of the Burial Act of 1880?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MR. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
A communication has been received since the 28th of December last from Mr. Merry contradicting the statements made by the Vicar, and re-affirming the truth of his own. A further communication has also been received from the Vicar, but I am of opinion that no useful purpose would be seined by my interfering any further in the matter, which simply involves the question as to which party's statements are true, and is one which I have no power to decide or to deal with, and I have informed the Vicar that I decline to continue the correspondence. I shall always exercise the powers vested in me to enforce the carrying out of the provisions of the Burial Act, 1880. Certain cases which have come before me and in which the exercise of the rights intended to be secured to Nonconformists by the Act of 1880 has been impeded or inter fered with by clergymen, point to the possibility that further legislation in this direction may be required. But I trust that the necessity will not arise.