COATHAM – Churchyard Closed

Accreditation Cleveland Standard 18/08/1945  

Coatham Churchyard

   The time has come for me to say definitely that the Churchyard must be regarded as closed for burials, except where there are single spaces available to those who have relatives buried in a double grave – in these words the Vicar of Coatham (The Rev F. Cosgrove) writing to parishioner in his magazine brings to a head the question of Coatham Churchyard for he goes on to point out that the sum of at least £1,000 will be required if the problem of an extension is to be tackled.

   The vicar states – “”I want to make it clear that nobody owns a grave in a churchyard; only some right or claim is established when a headstone or curb is erected for which permission has been granted and a fee paid.

   “At the time of burial the comparatively small fee paid through the undertaker, includes the digging of the grave, tolling the bell, attendance and service. All graves should be kept in a tidy condition by relatives of the deceased, and if they cannot do the work themselves arrangements can be made with the Verger on payment of a small annual charge. Or I am willing to receive capital sums of not less than £100 in favour of (and to be invested by) the Vicar and Churchwardens with a request that any particular grave to which the gift refers may be attended to under their supervision.

   “It won’t be fair to future generations to place the burden of the upkeep of the then old, closed Churchyard largely on the shoulders of the subscribing congregation, for they will probably have more important obligations to meet and I think it is right to ensure –as far as possible – that the cost of labour required will be met by the interest of money invested for this specific purpose. At present the yard is more than a full-time job for one man, and I wish we could afford and obtain extra help.

   “The extension of the Churchyard is a problem which cannot be tackled now for obvious reasons; and it will never be done if it is left as a burden on Church people only, when every resident in Coatham and Warrenby has a right of burial whether or not he or she is still a member of the Church of England; unless all residents (and therefore, parishioners) are willing to subscribe and raise the Fund to at least £1,000., and no further action is likely to be taken until the money is in sight. No doubt, many of you are keen and will help the Church to maintain the respect which Christians rightly feel is due to the memory of their dear ones departed this life.”


Lol Hansom May 15, 2013 Coatham