150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 1 - Consecration of the Cemetery (Transcript Page 12/13)

  • 27 Jan 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
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The portion of ground which, through the liberality of Mr. Laslett, MP, and the meritorious exertions of the local Board of Health, has been appropriated for use as a Public Cemetery for the inhabitants of this city, was solemnly set apart for its intended purposes on Tuesday last. The Episcopalian Chapel with its burying ground was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, and that of the Congregational Dissenters of various denominations was solemnly inaugurated. The weather proving favourable there was a numerous gathering of spectators from the city and neighbourhood, who watched the proceedings with deep interest. Having in the Journal of September 18, given a full description of the chapels, grounds, &c, it will be unnecessary here to enter into any recapitulation.

The Lord Bishop arrived about eleven o'clock, and a procession, marshalled by R. J. Bennett, received his Lordship, and moved into the Episcopal Chapel in the following order:-

Architect, Clerk to the Works, Councillors, Aldermen who have past the Chair, Aldermen who have not past the Chair, The Mayor and Town Clerk, Magistrates and others officially connected with the city, General Body of the Clergy, Clergy and other gentlemen officially connected with the Works, The Lord Bishop, The Visitors.

The small chapel of course proved quite inadequate to accommodate the numbers who attended the ceremonial.

Prayers were read by the Rev. W. Crowther, of Claines, in whose parish the Cemetery is situate, the first lesson being read by the Rev. H.G. Pepys, Vicar of Hallow, and the second by the Rev. R. Sargeant, who officiated as pro-chancellor. At the conclusion of the morning prayer the congregation left chapel, and his Lordship had then presented to him a petition as customary, praying him to consecrate a portion of the New Cemetery, which was read by the Deputy-Registrar of the Diocese, J.H. Clifton, Esq.

The Bishop having signified his assent the procession was reformed, and proceeded around the ground, the right rev. prelate and the clergy (attired in their gowns) repeated alternately the 49th and 115th psalms; the sentence of consecration was afterwards read by the pro-chancellor, and the appointed prayer said, the ceremony concluding with the benediction. The Dissenters chapel and burial ground were opened with what was termed an inaugural service, which consisted of singing hymns appropriate to the occasion, rendering a lesson from Holy Scripture, Genesis, c.23, and prayer in the chapel, and on the ground of more singing, and the delivery of an address by the Rev. T. Dodd, minister of the Countess of Huntington's Chapel, Bridport.

His Worship the Mayor, and the members of the Corporation and other city officials, were present at the delivery of the address. The speaker observed that in the few remarks which he was about to make, he wished distinctly to be understood as desiring to commit no party or any denomination to his views and feelings, but to offer a few comments of a general nature. Diversity of opinion in religious matters must be expected to prevail in a country like this, where the right of private enjoyment was enjoyed, and must be respected. The setting apart of these chapels and of these spacious grounds, melancholy in some respects, beautiful in others, was an act of peculiar solemnity. It had always seemed to him a strange thing that the English people, so distinguished for their varied attainments, should have been so regardless of sanatory considerations in so long permitting the burial of the dead in the midst of crowded cities. It was not till lately that the British Parliament had taken the matter in hand, and decreed that in future interments should take place at a distance from the cities and towns. They might have learnt to do this long ago, merely from consulting the pages of God's Holy Book, and the practise of the Jews 2,000 years ago served admirable to show the importance of setting apart places for burial. After alluding to the ample and satisfactory provision made in the Cemetery for members of various religious opinions - Churchmen, Nonconformists, and Roman Catholics, he went on to observe that he thought all present would agree with him in deeming the Cemetery and its buildings an ornament to the city of Worcester. It would be wrong in him were he not to make allusion to the munificent gift of the site presented by one of the city members, who had thereby embalmed his memory for generations yet to come; and he could not but feel when he looked round on these  chaste and elegant buildings, the design and execution of which reflect so much credit on the architect, builder, surveyor, and all who had been engaged in them, that in after times they would be regarded as highly creditable to the city and to those who had the care of its government. In concluding attention was drawn to the startling calculation that each period of 30 years, 30,000 persons might probably be interred in the Cemetery. An earnest exhortation was given to improve opportunities of grave now afforded, before they were entirely taken away.

After the termination of the address, the Mayor declared the Cemetery duly opened, and the large company retired to their homes.

Among the official personages who took part in the proceedings were the Mayor, L. Stallard, Esq, the Sheriff, T.R. Hill, Esq, W. Laslett, Esq, M.P, Revds. Canon Wood, B. Davis (St George's), G. Hodson (St. Andrew's), W. Elliot (All Saint's), D. Wheeler (St Paul's), R. Sarjeant (St. Swithin's),          E. Faulkner, J. Adlington &c, H.G. Pepys  (Hallow), W.Crowther (Claines), Alderman Weaver, Goodwin, Lewis, Chamberlain, Corles, Councillors Lea, Wood, G. Joseland, Bozward, Southall, Bird, Haigh, Pidcock, Ward, Humphryes, Hughes, Norris, Giles, T.P Watkins, W. Webb, W.Watkins, Hanson, Grainger, Lingham, Barnes, J. Bennett, H. Bennett & c. Mr. J. HIll, Town Clerk, Mr. J. H. Clifton, Mr. C. Evans, Mr. J. Croucher. Among the general company were Messrs. S. Purchas, R. Wood, E. Tree, E.W. Elmslie, L.I.Parry, C. Jones, W.Deighton, D. Everest, S. Danks, R. Clarke, Hilton, F. Coker, C.H.Birbeck &c.   




( Please note some spelling variations took place not being errors)