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Support us in protecting the sacred ground of the deceased in St Georges

This petition had 149 supporters


This is a petition to oppose the plans by St Georges Parish C of E Church to relocate 7 gravestones to another part of the church yard.

Please pass on far, and, as wide as you can. We would like to connect with many descendents of the graves affected including the deceased Cpl John Cope, a Crimean War Veteran, who passed in 1914. For more information on other affected headstones please visit  Martin Jame's Web Site Blog:-

The proposed plan intends to make way for a Community Village Green. Although residents have petitioned against this to the Diocese of Lichfield full permission has been granted under the conclusion that:-

“... a serious assessment of the needs of the local community has been made ...... they (the petitioner's, The Reverand and Church Warden) have also made an assessment of the role of the church in meeting those needs......their assessment is clearly shared by the local council (Telford & Wrekin) because that council is prepared to provide grant funding (Pride in Your High Street) for the works. It is a significant feature of this case that the elected representatives of the local community welcome and support the proposed use of the churchyard”. (Stephen Eyre, his Honour Judge Eyre QC, Chancellor 21st November 2016)

It is clear that the petitioner's are not listening to the wider community or that all "elected representatives" do "support the proposed use of the churchyard".

We now need your support to sign this petition so that they are aware this project is not wanted by the majority of local residents, visitors and ancestors of the deceased resting at St Georges Parish Churchyard.

Opposition Background:-

In January 2016 it was publicised that the church was awarded a Telford & Wrekin Council (TWC) Pride in Your High Street (PIYHS) grant to create a village green under an application made by Community Interest Company PISCES WM (Graham Bould). The application was made as part of a wider project “Operation Facelift St Georges” supported by the St Georges Partnership.

Opposition to the publically funded project was opposed on social media and by email to "elected representatives" due to the following reasons:-

·         The wider community, including the voluntary group The Friends of St Georges Church and the Church congregation, were not involved in the community engagement for the PIYHS application and public funding of such

·         Other green and open spaces in St Georges (within the remit of the PIYHS mapped area’s) need work and attention without creating a new space to look after

·         Other areas of the churchyard needing work had not been prioritised:- churchyard flooding and general maintenance

·         There are access issues for people with mobility disabilities leading up to the church from different parts of St Georges. (Poor and uneven pathways and dangerous roads)

At this time the community were unaware that the relocation of headstones was part of the proposed project.

Notices giving information on relocation appeared on 7 gravestones in June 2016.

It became clear that this work was proposed to make way for the TWC PIYHS funded Church Village Green. The local media got involved and TWC released a press comment that 4-6 headstones would be relocated as part of the PIYHS funded work.

7 residents’ wrote letters to the Diocese of Lichfield opposing this work and collectively raised additional concerns and opposition to the project:-

·         Resident’s do not want a village green on top of the deceased as they feel it is disrespectful and in poor taste

·         Ancestor’s of the deceased resting in other parts of the church yard are distressed that in the future the church may decide to move the headstones of their relatives and more distressing their children’s headstones who have sadly passed before them

·         The gravestones have a significant historical importance to the community of St Georges

·         The churchyard has been used by many to research their ancestors and to visit the area where they rest. If headstones are removed then there is a concern that families will not know the exact resting place of their ancestors

Resident’s also contacted their elected representatives and attended St Georges & Priorslee Parish Council Meetings to speak out about their concerns, distress and opposition to the planned PIYHS Church Village Green project.

Local resident Genealogist and family historian, Martin James, has carried out extensive research of the deceased resting on the proposed village green.

The seven affected graves represent 5 known families (2 headstones belong to same family) plus 1 unknown grave as headstone eroded away:-

John & Jane Cope - Cpl John Cope Coldstream Guards a Crimean War Veteran, wounded at Sebastopol lived until he was 86

William & Hannah Jeffs  - William was a local Ironworker

Mary Swift & 4 year old daughter Janetta – wife & daughter of Richard Swift a local ironworker

Charles Kinsey & Brother Sidney – young sons of Joseph & Mary Kinsey, Joseph was an Enginesmith at local colliery

Joseph & Eliza Howells – Joseph was a Chartermaster at local colliery

Corporal John Cope fought for his country, getting severely wounded in the process, now 102 years after his death we need to fight to keep his memory alive and his memorial in its rightful place above his grave alongside the graves of the Jeffs, Howell, Swift and Kinsey families.

For more information on the deceased laid to rest please contact Martin James :-

Image Credits:-

Organisation profile image - St Georges C of E Church, Frank Meeson (Resident)

Petition Image - Louise Bremner (St Georges Community Group) Image of Ken Lewis (resident and churchyard volunteer) tendering Cpl John Cope's headstone and logging memorial inscription.

For more information on the history of this campaign please visit :-

Today: Friends of St Georges Church & St Georges Community Group is counting on you

Friends of St Georges Church & St Georges Community Group needs your help with “Support our community in protecting the sacred ground of the deceased in Churchyards.”. Join Friends of St Georges Church & St Georges Community Group and 148 supporters today.