HL Deb 03 June 1867 vol 187 c1477

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, Bunhill Fields, which occupied a space of about four acres in Finsbury, would fall into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the course of the present year, and the Bill before the House proposed to sanction an arrangement which had been entered into between the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the Corporation of London, by which it was proposed, in order to preserve the site of this celebrated burial ground as an open space and as an historical record, to transfer the management of the property from the former to the latter body, subject to certain conditions calculated to secure the interests of the public; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners reserving to themselves power of resuming the management if they should think fit. The property had been held for the last 200 or 300 years under lease by the Corporation of London, who had granted a sub-lease of it to the Dissenting body. During that period no less than 120,000 bodies had been interred in the burial ground, and among other celebrated personages who had been buried there were Defoe, Bunyan, Lieutenant General Fleetwood, son-in-law to Cromwell; Dr. Isaac Watts; Ritson, the antiquary; John Horne Tooke; Dr. John Owen, chaplain to Cromwell; Dr. Gordon; the Rev. Dr. Neal, the author of the History of the Puritans; Dr. Gill, and Dr. Nathaniel Gardner. A spot so remarkable as containing the ashes of not a few of those to whom, among others, we are indebted, under God, for our civil and religious liberties, ought, for ever, to be preserved from desecration.

Motion agreed to: Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed.