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Woman's ashes to be exhumed and re-buried with husband's remains

By Carl Jackson | Pelsall | News | Published:

A woman's ashes are set to be exhumed so they can be re-buried next to her husband in the same graveyard, following a landmark court ruling.

St Michael & All Angels Pelsall Parish Church

The remains of Joyce Vincent were laid to rest at St Michael and All Angels Pelsall Parish Church in 1991. Her husband Ronald had been unhappy about the way the ashes were buried at the time and the lay-out of the memorial stones.

But he had to reluctantly settle for it because he was determined for them to be located in the yard and due to the church rules at the time.

He recently died and his own ashes were buried in another part of the ground earlier this year.

But the couple’s grieving children fought for the right for their parents’ ashes to be re-united and now a judge has ruled in their favour.

Exhumation is rarely granted permission. The Church of England philosophy is that the last resting place for human remains should be just that, and they should stay in their original place unless there are exceptional circumstances.

But Stephen Eyre QC, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield who is judge of the Church’s Consistory Court, has determined the normal rule can be overridden in this case.

He took into account Mr Vincent’s original objections when his wife’s ashes were buried as well as the fact churchyard policy has since changed.

The judge also declared the exhumation would effectively create a family grave.

He said: “It must always be exceptional for exhumation to be allowed and the Consistory Court must determine whether there are special circumstances justifying the taking of that exceptional course in the particular case.

“In this case there are special circumstances justifying exhumation and that the proposed exhumation and re-interment is a course which the Court should authorise.”

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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