A FAMILY's desire to have their father's remains exhumed from a
cemetery that was "a bleak and dangerous place to visit", and
reburied in a different cemetery, was not a sufficiently special
circumstance to justify the making of an exception to the norm that
Christian burial was final, Chancellor Geoffrey Tattersall QC ruled
in the Consistory Court of the diocese of Manchester.
The petition for a faculty for exhumation was brought by Sylvia
Hill. She is the foster-daughter of John Albert Corry, who died in
1993, and his wife, Elizabeth Corry, who died in 2011. The petition
was supported by Mrs Hill's adopted siblings, and sought authority
for the exhumation of Mr Corry's remains from Southern Cemetery,
Manchester, for re-interment in the same grave as his wife in Mill
Lane Cemetery, Stockport.
Mrs Hill said that, at the time of Mr Corry's death, his wife
was upset that he could not be buried at Stockport Borough
Cemetery, which had closed for burials, and so she agreed to his
burial at Southern Cemetery. Mrs Corry felt unsafe, however, when
visiting her husband's grave. She said that it was not "a restful
place for anybody to go and pay their respects to a loved one".
The Chancellor said that he could not grant the faculty for
exhumation on the narrow basis of a mistake. It was not a mistake
in the administration of the interment, such as interment in the
wrong grave, or lack of knowledge that the interment was in
Christian consecrated ground.
It was 19 years since Mr Corry's death, and, for more than 17
years, no contemplation was given to the possibility of an
exhumation. Before Mrs Corry's death, no indication had been given
by anyone concerning the prospects of success of an application to
exhume Mr Corry's remains. So it could not fairly be said that Mrs
Corry was buried at Mill Lane Cemetery in any real expectation that
Mr Corry's remains would be exhumed and re-interred with hers.
The faculty was refused.