Ashwicken grave deadline confirmed by judge

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A judge has ruled against a plea by a couple who want to be buried alongside other members of their family at Ashwicken.

The couple had been seeking an extension of the length of time they can reserve grave space in the churchyard.

Because of diminishing grave space in All Saint’s churchyard a limit of 12 years has been imposed on the length of time that grave space can be reserved.

To guarantee that they get their wish, Dora Carter, 75, and her husband Michael, 76, would need to die before the deadline.

The couple now live in Hampshire, but Mrs Carter comes from Ashwicken and generations of her family are buried in the church yard where she and her husband have grave space reserved, but only up to the 12-year limit.

She sought an extension of the deadline from the Church of England’s Consistory Court which has jurisdiction over decisions involving churches and consecrated ground.

But Ruth Arlow, chancellor of the diocese of Norwich and a judge of the Consistory Court has said ‘No.’

In her application, Mrs Carter wrote: “It is very important to me to believe I should be buried with the rest of my family, since my mother, father, sister, aunt and grandmother are all buried in the same area.”

Chancellor Arlow, however, ruled that there were no “exceptional circumstances” to enable her to grant Mrs Carter’s wish.

In her decision she says : “I know that this decision may be disappointing to Mr and Mrs Carter but I hope that that disappointment will be eased by remembering that there is still a good likelihood that they will ultimately be interred with Mrs Carter’s family in Ashwicken churchyard.

“They have the benefit of a reservation of their chosen plot for a period of 12 years.”

And she added that if grave space still remained after the 12 year deadline had expired, they could again apply for an extension – although she said she could not pre-judge the outcome of any such application.