Bishop consecrates graveyard extension

Thursday 19th May 2022 5:00 am
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The new burial ground is consecrated by the Bishop of Tewkesbury, Rt Rev Robert Springett (Clive Barzillia )

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FAMILIES in Ruardean will still be able to bury loved ones they have lost in the village after an extension to the churchyard at St John the Baptist was consecrated.

The Bishop of Tewkesbury, Rt Rev Robert Springett, conducted the ceremony on Wednesday (May 11).

After a service in the 900-year-old church, there was a procession to the new burial ground at the rear with pupils of Ruardean Church of England Primary School carrying the cross and water used in the ceremony.

Bishop Robert led the children in the traditional walk around the perimeter of the new ground.

He then performed the consecration, making the mark of the cross in the ground and sprinkling water using a sprig of rosemary – a herb which is associated with remembrance.

Some of the children also sprinkled water over the ground.

Bishop Robert said: “A huge thank you to all those who have brought this project to fruition.

“To those who have been planning for a number of years and those who have traced out the ground and done the measurements and worked their way through the faculty system of the Church of England.

“What we do today is deeply significant for the life of this community.”

The new extension was needed because space in the churchyard for new burials was running out, said Rev Clare Edwards, the Rector of Drybrook, Lydbrook and Ruardean.

“We’ve probably only got space in the churchyard for another three burials.

“The new extension should be sufficient for several hundred and should be enough for 20 years.”

Rev Clare Edwards leads the procession from St John the Baptist church (Clive Barzillia ) (Clive Barzillia)

Without the extension, families would have to find alternatives outside the village such as Yew Tree Brake Cemetery in Cinderford.

The church bought the former farmland some 20 years ago but the decision to have it consecrated was made in 2018.

Apart from specialist services such as an archaeological survey, all the work was carried out by volunteers, including levelling the ground.

Native saplings of crab apple, hazel, dogwood and hawthorn, which came from the Woodland Trust, have been planted.

Benches with views over the surrounding countryside and offering space for reflection and remembrance are also being installed.

One corner of the new burial ground is being retained as a wildlife area.

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