The Churchyard Question At Swinton

Saint Margaret's Church, Swinton

Saint Margaret’s Church, Swinton



On Thursday, Dr. Hoffman, who had been instructed by the Secretary of State to report on the Swinton Churchyard, attended to inspect it and to take evidence. There were present to meet the Inspector – the Rev. J. Levett (Vicar), Dr. C. S. Blythman (Medical Officer of Health), Mr. E. T. Harrop (Guardian), Mr. Thos. Hattersley and Mr. G. Shaw (Overseers of the Poor), Mr. J. C. Haller (surveyor to the Local Board), and a few other gentlemen. Neither of the churchwardens were present. – Dr. Hoffman remarked that he had sent notices of his visit to the overseers, as well as the churchwardens, because he considers that Dissenters had an interest in the matter, and in fairness they ought to have such notice as well as Churchmen, though his predecessor had only made it a practice to send notices to the Church parties. Evidence was then given by the sexton as to the present capacity of the churchyard, and by Dr. Blythman, who said he could not condemn the burial ground from a sanitary point of view, as it was not injurious to health, being favourably situated. The Inspector then examined the plans prepared by the surveyor, of the enlargement that has just been carried out by the Local Board, also the piece of land that has been added,, and which now forms part of the churchyard. A discussion ensued respecting the consecration of the new portion, the vicar stating that there was no title to it, and Lord Fitzwilliam, he thought, would not be willing to give one. Dr. Blythman was of opinion that Lord Fitzwilliam need not be consulted on the matter, as he had given the land years ago to the parish. – The Vicar contended that it was only given as an approach to the churchyard, and should be used for that purpose. – Dr. Blythman maintained that it was a bona fide gift, and had been in the possession of the parish for a great number of years. – The Vicar thought the Archbishop would consecrate it without title after the lapse of 12 months. – The Inspector said he should report to the Home Office favourably as to what they had done. He saw no necessity to order the churchyard to be closed at present. The land they had added would probably tide them over four or five years, taking into consideration the remaining space at disposal in the old yard. There was nothing to hinder them in the meantime from looking out for another piece of land.

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