Rejection for grave application

Photo Ian Robinson Consistory court at St Lawrence's Church in Longridge.
Photo Ian Robinson Consistory court at St Lawrence's Church in Longridge.
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A church court has rejected a request by a non-parishioner to reserve a grave next to her parents.

Blackburn Cathedral Canon Andrea Titterington had asked for the plot at St Lawrence’s Church in Longridge, to keep her family together “in death as in life”.

A consistory court was held last month to hear the case, which was opposed by objectors, and now the application has been turned down.

A spokesman for the Blackburn Diocese said: “As the established church, the Church of England is governed by the law of the land in all that it does.

“This includes churchyards.

“Occasionally there are complex matters which arise in relation to churchyards that need legal clarity.

“Recently, one such matter arose at Longridge and this meant that what is known as a consistory court had to be convened.”

He added: “The chancellor of the diocese, His Honour Judge Bullimore, received evidence both written and spoken over a request to reserve a grave­­­ space in the churchyard.

“By the very nature of churchyards they are charged with history and emotion and Judge Bullimore listened carefully to all parties before coming to his final decision.

“In a detailed and carefully written judgement he ruled that the applicant’s request to reserve a grave would not be granted on this occasion.

“We acknowledge that judgement and it would not be appropriate for the Diocese to comment further.”

The hearing, held at the Longridge church in March, was attended by dozens of people from the community.

The court had heard that Canon Titterington’s parents had attended the church for a number of years, and her mother was now buried in the grave yard.

But, speaking at the open court hearing, the vicar, Rev David Anderson, said: “The issue is, should Canon Titterington be able to reserve a grave within this church yard where she would like?

“I think the issue is no one else in this church has that right.”