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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Graveyard solution

A church warden hopes a solution has been found to solve the problem of space running out at an historic graveyard.

Arthuret Parish Church, near Longtown, may run out of room within two years unless action is taken.

James Bell, the rector’s warden, has come up with an idea which he put to the community at a public meeting on Wednesday.

He said: “There is a lot of space on the paths at the back of the church. That should give us an extra 12-15 years.”

Dr Bell, 62, who lives in Gretna, added that the idea went down well with an audience of about 16 people and he will now take this feedback to a church council meeting next week.

However, he acknowledged this would be a short term answer and suggested that the issue would need to be revisited in about 10 years.

He is aware of the options that will be discussed then. One will be to buy new land but he does not believe this would be the best option because it will add costs to the church and more land will need to be purchased once this has filled up.

Dr Bell believes this would happen after 10 years. “We don’t know what sort of position the church is going to be in then,” he added.

His alternative is to revisit parts of the churchyard which have been used before.

Currently, there are two areas for burials, in the north and south of the grounds.

The southern part contains more graves but nobody has been buried there for more than a century.

Many date from a time when more than one person, often from the same family, would be buried in an individual plot. Dr Bell believes this part of the graveyard could once again be used for burials.

In many graveyards each grave can only be purchased as a plot for a limited time, after which others can be buried on the plot.

However, this has not been Arthuret’s policy for some time. Dr Bell believes it may be worth revisiting this.

“After 100 years, there’s little if anything left,” he said.

“They are hard choices but at the end of the day I am not prepared to walk away from the hard fact that we might have to reuse the old graveyard.”

Dr Bell said he will always in involve the community in future discussions

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