A senior Lincolnshire churchman has overridden normal rules that a last resting place must be just that.
He has given a 92-year-old widow permission to have her husband’s ashes exhumed from All Saints churchyard at Barrowby so they can be sent to Italy to be put in a family mausoleum where, when her time comes, she can be reunited with him in death.
Rare permission for exhumation was granted by Mark Bishop, Chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln, in his role as a judge of the Church of England’s Consistory Court, which has to approve all major requests relating to churches and concecrated ground.
Italian-born Mrs Giusepphina Glover sought consent for the ashes of her late husband, Cyril Glover, who died 25 years ago in 1990, to be exhumed and taken to the family mausoleum at Bisceglie, Puglia, in the heel of Italy.
She sought permission for the move on the basis that when she dies there will be no-one left in England to care for the grave but that in Italy the family will continue to tend the mausoleum there.
In his decision, Chancellor Bishop said that the presumption is that burial of human remains in consecrated ground is permanent unless there are exceptional circumstances.
He continued: “The principle of permanence can only be departed from if there are special circumstances which justify an exception to the principle that Mr Glover was laid to rest in 1991 and his remains should not now be disturbed.”
But he said that Mrs Glover has said that the exhumation of her husband’s ashes to the family grave in Italy and knowing that her ashes would eventually be placed there, too, would give her great peace of mind given that that there is no one in UK now to tend their graves in Barrowby.
And in this case he relaxed the normal rules to allow exhumation. He said: “I am satisfied that this is one of those exceptional cases where I can authorise the exhumation of the cremated remains so that they may be reinterred in the family grave in Italy.
“I accept that Mrs Glover is concerned about what will happen to her husband’s plot, and her own, after she has passed away. I am sure that that Mr and Mrs Glover’s graves would be properly cared for in those circumstances by the PCC ensuring that the churchyard was tended, but I recognise the distress she feels about no family member being around to care for their plots and visit the graves.”
He added: “I wish Mrs Glover well.”