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Room for eternity

10 October 2014

A NINTH-century cross stands in the churchyard of St Paul's, Irton, in Carlisle diocese, showing that there has been a Christian presence in Irton for more than 1000 years. No wonder the original churchyard and its "new" extension have become fully occupied by past parishioners, and more cemetery space is needed.

Fortunately, a parishioner gave an adjoining field to the church as a new burial ground in memory of his wife, Marjorie Electra Pollard. But a change from grazing to Christian burial requires a consecration, and the Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Revd Robert Freeman, came round the Cumbrian mountains to be welcomed by bells and the parish priest, the Revd Brian Wheelhouse, and to lead the outdoor service.

After an opening hymn and prayers, the Bishop led the congregation round the perimeter of the new field reciting psalms, to the amazement of a group of bullocks that lined the fence to watch. The Deed of Consecration was read, and the deed was done.

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