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Neglected churchyards … No respect … !

[I must emphasise, before you read on, the rants contained herein are solely the opinion of the author!]

A couple of weeks ago, I visited the churchyard at Barham in Kent to seek out some more graves, since sources indicated that I would find BALDOCKs. I could not believe my eyes on arrival, to find that around 75% of the churchyard was void of headstones, their place being taken up with mole-hills … hundreds of them! All and any headstones which may have been respectfully locating graves were now stacked like dominoes against the back wall of the churchyard, with only the front row showing their inscriptions.

I realise that moles are difficult to eradicate – my father had a devil of a job to get rid of them from our back lawn many years ago, but he did it. And (for all you animal welfare nuts out there) they can be trapped successfully, or even killed humanely.

Walking around the remaining cemetery investigating the graves which were left (locating possible FAGG relatives), I could feel how spongy the grass was, suggesting the problem may see the end of the complete churchyard!

I realise maintaining such places can be expensive, but remedial work at this late stage will be even more costly! And where do relatives now go to pay their respects? Ancestors should not be forgotten just because they died 100 years ago?! After all, isn’t that why we’re all in the genealogy game? I didn’t know how much pity/sorrow/respect I would find myself feeling for long-lost relatives until I started. Tracing family on the internet is all well and good, but visiting their graves makes it all very personal, however distantly they may be related. After all, DNA makes us a part of them…

Maybe it is not considered a priority now that there is a second cemetery on the opposite side of the road where I found more FAGGs (but not necessarily related yet) – but how long before this is affected if moles find the area so homely … ?

Please, Barham Parish Council, or Dover Borough Council, or Canterbury City Council, or Kent County Council, or even Kent Archaeological Society, do something to curb the problem.
Even the dead deserve respect – and their families would expect it!

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Published in: Genealogy | on March 12th, 2009 | No Comments »

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