Friday, 9 August 2013

Disturbing the Dead

Greetings in Christ, Your Grace, I was just today made aware of the fact that human remains are being excavated in London in order to build a new railway. Here is the article:

The 118-kilometer (73-mile) Crossrail line is Britain's biggest construction project and the largest archaeological dig in London for decades. In the city's busy business core, archaeologists have struck pay dirt, uncovering everything from a chunk of Roman road to dozens of 2,000-year-old horseshoes, some golden 17th-century bling — and the bones of long-dead Londoners.
One afternoon this week, archaeologists were unearthing newly discovered bones in a pit beside Liverpool Street rail and subway station, while living city-dwellers scuttled by, oblivious, a few feet away. The remains belong to a few of the 20,000 people interred in a burial ground established in the 16th century.
"Everyone's been running around in Liverpool Street for years and not thinking that they've been walking around on bodies from one of the densest burial grounds in London," said Nick Elsden, a Museum of London archaeologist helping to oversee excavations that go along with the work on the Crossrail line.
The 2,000-year history of London goes deep — 5 to 6 meters (16 to 20 feet) deep, the distance between today's street level and sidewalks in Roman times. Crossrail is providing archaeologists with a chance to dig down through those centuries — and even beyond, to prehistoric times.
"This site is a rare, perhaps unprecedented opportunity," Elsden said as he watched museum staff gently brush dirt from newly found bones and a skull in a hole that will soon house a maintenance shaft. 

"This is a major roadway outside one of London's busiest railway stations. You don't get to dig that up normally."

I am personally distressed by the fact that Christian graves are being dug-up like this, and I pray that it may be stopped. 

Something similar happened near my home, when a graveyard was dug-up in order to widen a road. What is His Grace's opinion on these matters? I thank His Grace for his time and consideration.

In Christ,
Theodore Conrath

I have fought most of my life to try and prevent old burial grounds and kindred sites from being destroyed by whomever. The introduction by the Tory government in 1981 of the Disused Burial Ground Amendment Act, which allows developers to demolish graveyards where fifty or more years have elapsed after the last interment, witnessed me enter politics as an independent cemetery preservation campaigner at local government level. Since then I have given my name to countless campaigns to try and stop the tranquility of the tomb being disturbed by those seeking to profit out of such desecration. Our heritage is also being destroyed, of course, but it is the fact that to lay a loved one to rest in perpetuity, as once was believed to be the case, can no longer mean in perpetuity. It simply means until fifty years have passed and that is all.

Furthermore, I do not feel that just because a considerable amount of time separates us from the discovery of remains where digging takes place we should treat those remains any differently to a newly interred body.

If you know of any disused or closed
burial grounds in the UK please help
us to update our register so we may
monitor their status and take action to
preserve and protect them.

Disused cemeteries become overgrown and vandalised. It is disrespectful and a sad state of affairs when the Church or the Local Authority do not maintain them in perpetuity.

1 comment:

  1. I thank His Grace for his kind response. I completely agree with His Grace's views on these matters. May Our Merciful Saviour put an end to these desecrations.

    In Christ,
    Theodore Conrath