Closed churchyard

Wellow churchyard was closed on 31st July 1900 with notice of the closure being published in The London Gazette, January 5, 1900.

The history of the grounds maintenance has been the subject of much discussion and research. Initially it appeared that the Parish Council had taken over maintenance of the churchyard in 1951 when notice was given to remove all headstones and level mounded graves in the Northern area to enable easier grass cutting. However, subsequent letters would seem to indicate that the Parish Council was acting on behalf of the Parochial Church Council (PCC), or the two bodies consisted of the same people, as a letter written by the PCC to the Parish Council in 1979 clearly gives notice of their intention to transfer maintenance to the parish. And a subsequent letter transfers it on to the District Council within the three month window required by law - at the time to Wansdyke District Council, devolving to Bath and North East Somerset Council in 1996.

 

Maintenance of grounds

The Parish Council has continued, and continues, to arrange for the maintenance of the churchyard immediately around the church with the support of grants.

However, maintenance of the north field is subject to a management plan being prepared by Bath and North East Somerset's Bereavement Services. The recent collapse of a vault grave beneath mowing equipment has now been remedied by in-filling, but inspection of the fragility of the construction of the vault has raised concerns for the safety of the whole site.

 

Graves

Bereavement Services carries out a 5 year rolling programme of memorial testing to ensure that memorials are preserved as well as possible. The council does not have the right to restore memorials, but it does have the responsibility to make the cemetery a reasonably safe place to visit which enables it to lay down any memorials in danger of falling. Safety in cemeteries has improved so much since such programmes were introduced, that now the main benefit from testing is to ensure that  memorials are not left to rot until they fall smashing themselves, or neighbouring memorials, or both, in the process.  

 

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