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The Wellingborough News, 4th November 1887, transcribed by Jim Hollis
The Proposed Cemetery for Rushden
Local Government Board Enquiry

Mr. Stephen Harding Terry, Associate Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and one of the Inspectors of the Local Government Board, held an enquiry in the Vestry Hall, Rushden, on Tuesday afternoon, with respect to the application of the Wellingborough Rural Sanitary Authority which, at the request of the parish, had applied to the Local government Board for sanction to borrow £1,700 for providing a cemetery for Rushden. The attendance of parishioners was not very large, the following being present:- Rev. Canon Barker (the rector), Rev. W. J. Tomkins, Mr. W. Wilkins (overseer), Mr. J. Margetts, Mr. G. Denton (guardian), Mr. C. Bayes, Mr. H. Packwood (way warden), and Mr. J. Sargent. Mr. M. R. Sharman was in attendance as clerk to the Wellingborough Rural Sanitary Authority, Mr. W. Packwood, the inspector of nuisances, and Mr. H. A. Cooper (architect) were also present.

Mr. Sharman read the notice convening the meeting, and said the same had been properly posted up in the place. – The Inspector asked for information as to the population and rateable value of the place. – Mr. Sharman said at the last census, in 1881, the population was 3,658. – Mr. Sargent, rate collector, who came in later on, said a great many houses had been built in the parish since he took the census in April of last year for the School Board. He thought the Inspector would not be far wrong if he put down the present population as 5,500. – Mr. Sharman said the present rateable value was £12,516, and Mr. Wilkins, one of the overseers, informed the Inspector that the local rates were about 4s in the £. – The Inspector elicited that there was no public water or any sewage works in the parish, and then remarked that considering this he thought the rates were rather high. – Canon Barker said they had spent a deal of money in sewerage in the parish. – The Inspector enquired as to what the acreage of the parish was, and he was informed 3,609 acres. – The Inspector said he supposed the application arose from the present condition of the churchyard. – Canon Barker said they might perhaps be able to go on burying in the churchyard up to next summer, but certainly no longer. – The Inspector asked if there was any other burial ground in the parish, and Canon Barker said they had a place belonging to the Old Baptist Meeting. – Mr. C. Bayes said that was nearly full. – The Inspector: Has Dr. Hoffman, from the Home Office, been down to inspect the churchyard. – Canon Barker: Nobody has been down with the view to closing the churchyard, but it is proposed to close it. – Plans of the land which it was proposed to purchase were then laid before the Inspector, who said he understood that there was a proposal to acquire a certain plot of land in a close for a cemetery, with a narrow slip for a second approach, and the second proposal was to do away with the narrow slip for the approach, and take the whole of the close. The amount they would have for burial purposes in the latter case would be nine acres. The Inspector said in view of the rapid growth of the place the ground would not be too large, especially if Rushden went on increasing as it had done during the last few years. – Mr. Packwood: Do you recommend nine acres? – The Inspector replied that the Local Government Board recommended an acre per thousand inhabitants, and the lowest they would sanction was a quarter of an acre per thousand. – Rev. W. J. Tomkins said if the scheme as first agreed upon was adopted, the sexton’s house and garden would be at the top part of the ground, and that would leave six acres free for burial, and that would give them two entrances, which would be a great convenience. The long approach might be made picturesque. – The Inspector said inasmuch as their soil was a very retentive clay the coffins, &c., did not become disintegrated so quickly as they would in a soft, loamy soil, and it was important that they should have more land that was usually necessary for a soft soil. In answer to a question the Inspector was informed that it was proposed to drain the cemetery. The ground sloped a little from the north-west to the south-east. – Answering Mr. Terry, Canon Barker said it was not proposed to have the cemetery consecrated. It was proposed to erect a caretaker’s cottage. It was also suggested that they should have a mortuary and a sort of “litch” gate. – Mr. Wilkins said it was probable there would be a chapel on the ground. The land in question was the private property of the rector. – Canon Barker said the land was formerly glebe, but it has been exchanged for land adjoining the Rectory House, which the Ecclesiastical commissioners had accepted. The land was freehold. – Mr. Wilkins said the price asked for the land was £100 per acre. – The Inspector thought that was a reasonable price. – Canon Barker said he did not think he was squeezing the parish. – Mr. Sargent said the parish considered the price very reasonable. – Mr. H. Packwood said some land had been sold at a lower price and some higher. – It was stated that if the whole of the land was taken the estimated outlay would be £1,100. – Mr. M. R. Sharman said he did not think the parish contemplated taking all the land. – Mr. Bayes said if they took the whole of the land Canon Barker would take £200 for the slip. – Mr. Sharman said there were four cottages within two hundred yards of the site, and the owners and occupiers consented to it. After a short desultory conversation, the Inspector said he understood it would be possible to drain the cemetery into a dyke, which would deliver the drainage into a brook that was already polluted. – Mr. W. Packwood said he did not think there were any wells near below the level of the brook. – The Inspector said he should require to have some details as to how they proposed to use the amount asked for. – If the parish wanted more than had been asked for it would not be necessary for the Local Government Board to hold another inquiry in the matter. He pointed out what the requirements of the Local Government Board were as to the fencing of the cemetery and as to the drainage and the necessity of providing a separate water supply for the caretaker’s house. He instructed Mr. Cooper, the architect, to send plans, specifications, and estimates of all the buildings that were proposed to be erected to the Local Government Board. Canon Barker said this would have been done by now, but the parish were afraid the go to any expense and then have the whole rejected. – In reply to the Rev. W. J. Tomkins, the Inspector said he thought six acres would be sufficient for the next thirty years if the place did not grow. Mr. Terry said if it would facilitate matters he might tell them that he should recommend the Board to give their sanction subject to the approval of the plans and estimates. – Rev. W. J. Tomkins did not think the matter had been sufficiently brought before the parish. A small committee had been appointed to take it into consideration, and they had recommended the purchase of six acres of land with three acres approach to it. A vestry meeting was called to consider the report of that committee, and at the meeting, at which only 15 were present, the recommendation of the committee were voted against, and the committee were asked to re-consider their decision. A great many now blamed the committee for giving up the approach. – After one or two other remarks the inquiry closed, and the Inspector then went and viewed the proposed site.

A meeting of the Parochial Committee has since been held, at which the recommendation of the Inspector in favour of two entrances was duly considered, and it was decided to buy sufficient only of the narrow field to make an approach from the Park-road.

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