Church Graveyard: correspondence relating to an extension

Churchyard Correspondence: 1885 - 1927
Churchyard Correspondence: 1885 – 1927

Collection of Documents Relating to Hickling Churchyard, a possible extension (and the neighbouring cottage and land) 1885 – 1929

Rectors of Hickling:

  • Edward Anderson 1820-1841
  • William Henry Walker 1841-1857
  • William Henry Edwards 1857-1875
  • Canon Skelton 1875-1905
  • Canon Ashmall Hickling 1905-1927

A bundle of papers (probably from The Rectory) has been found to include fragments of correspondence, plans and diagrams which give an incomplete record of property transactions relating to the possible extension of the graveyard. The earliest correspondence is from 1885 but there are also references back to transactions involving the Rev’d Edward Anderson in the 1820s and 1830s.

Churchyard Correspondence: annotated envelope 1885 & 1894
Churchyard Correspondence: annotated envelope 1885 & 1894

1885 and 1894:


  • Hickling Churchyard Enlargement 1885 & 1894
  • Spilsby postmark – possibly 1893
  • Revd Canon Skelton
  • Hickling Rectory
  • Melton Mowbray

Correspondence: 20th March 1885

Hickling Churchyard Enlargement

Hickling Rectory Melton Mowbray 20 March /85

My dear Archdeacon

The Churchwardens of Hickling in their annual returns to you have reported the Churchyard’s condition as unsatisfactory from want of room for fresh interments.

A piece of ground adjoining the Churchyard, that would probably suffice for the next 10 or 12 years is now and may not be in future, for sale.

Before taking any steps for the purchase of it, may I ask you

  1. If the Bishop of Lincoln’s refusal to consecrate fresh Burial Grounds is maintained by the Bishop of Southwell, and if, in consequence, there are no further expenses than those attending the purchase and transfer of the land: and
  2. If the conveyance should be made to the Rector (as freeholder of the present churchyard) or Rector and Churchwardens, or the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, or other trustees

Yours’ very truly

J Skelton


The Ecclesiastical [Commission] for England are willing to accept a Conveyance of land for Burial Ground on condition that a satisfactory title to the land in question be shown, and that the costs defrayed by the Promoters of the measure.

From [printed] letter [form] of the Ecclesiastical Commission

Correspondence 21st March 1885.

Farndon Vicarage

Near Newark

Notts March 21st 1885

My dear Canon Skelton

Your letter received this morning enters into matters which I think you had better have legal advice upon – will you please to call and see Mr Walton at the archdeaconery offices 15 Weekday Cross – I have forwarded your letter there.

The Bishop of Southwell does not wish to consecrate – but would prefer [blessing] the ground this applies to cemeteries what he would do in the case of an addition to the old churchyard I do not at present know – I should myself ask you to consider in the present, and probable future, condition of churchyards whether it is advisable to add to the churchyard at all – the movement that was made [and] the act of Parliament itself of 1880 only indicate to my mind a thinly disguised attempt to get into the Church itself – therefore I should advocate the procuring a burial ground near the church so as to be within walking distance but not an addition to the churchyard itself –

Believe me to be

Sincerely yours

Brough Maltby


To the Reverend Canon Skelton RD (RD = Rural Dean)

(Notes: There was a series of new Burial Acts in the 1850s through to the 1880s – further research is needed to see why the correspondent felt that a ‘land grab’ might be a concern. When the cemetery is purchased in the 1950s it is owned by the village and not the church)

Correspondence: 23rd March 1885.

Diocese of Southwell

Registrar’s and Secretary’s Offices

15 Weekday Cross


23rd March 1885

Dear Sir

The Archdeacon has sent me your note of the 20th inst: for reply.

The Bishops will consecrate an addition to a churchyard. If this land actually adjoins the churchyard the expense is very small, the petition and registration of the […] about £2-

The conveyance may be made to the Commissioners or to the [Corporation] sole or aggregate in whom the present churchyard is [vested vide] […]

Yours faithfully

[John] Watson

The Revd Canon Skelton

Churchyard Correspondence: plan (1885)
Churchyard Correspondence: plan (1885) – addressed to Rev’d Skelton on reverse.

Correspondence (linked to diagram): 15th April 1885.

Hickling Rectory

Melton Mowbray

April 15.1885

To the Bursar of Queens’ College Cambridge

My dear York,

I am writing to you about the land + premises adjoining Hickling churchyard stated to be purchased by a former Rector, Revd Mr Anderson and handed by him to the College. I write to you as having once visited the spot and better able to explain anything relating to it to the President and Fellows.

Owing to the overcrowded state of our Churchyard it was decided at the Easter Vestry to appoint a Committee to take into consideration the enlargement of the Churchyard. This Committee met on 13th and proposed to enlarge in the direction of the College property and requested me to write to the College on the subject.

The above plan will explain.

The red line bounds the College property. The portion purchased by Mr Anderson also included the cottage and garden marked A; but owing to a lawsuit between the late Rector and a man named Magson, A came into possession of the latter. This man’s son T. Magson is now willing to sell the portion A for £15. This the Committee are willing to buy and request in addition the portion B as a free gift from the College.

The extent of these pieces is A. about 280 B. about 220 Total 500 square yards estimated enough for a generation.

The College has given me verbally almost full permission to deal with these cottages and gardens as may seem best. I shall therefore not oppose the cession to the parish of the portion B either by sale or gift provided I be authorised to define the boundary and conditions so that no detriment or inconvenience be caused to the remaining property in the interests of either landlord or tenant.

Believe me yours very truly

J Skelton Rector of Hickling

Correspondence: 9th May 1885.

Queens’ College Cambridge (embossed)

9 May 85

My dear Skelton

Your application was considered in College Meeting today

The College considering itself a guardian of the cottages and gardens for the benefit of the Rector does not feel at liberty to give away any portion of the property even the smallest for any purpose whatsoever. The College is willing to sell any part of the cottage garden which may be needed for the increase of the churchyard at market price and will apply the sum received to the Rector’s benefit.

I am […] yours

[JM Campion]

Churchyard Correspondence: record of internments to1885
Churchyard Correspondence: record of internments to1885

The Revd Skelton.

Record of internments:

Churchyard Correspondence: newspaper clipping - Colwick
Churchyard Correspondence: newspaper clipping – Colwick

Handwritten (legible & not transcribed); Hickling interments by year 1860 to 1884, demonstrating requirements for expanding the churchyard capacity (average 9.6 burials per year).

Newspaper cutting about the enlargement of the churchyard at Colwick – describes the consecration ceremony in detail. Note: Colwick is referenced in the Bill/Receipt.

Parochial Church Council Meeting Reports (1894):


At a Vestry Meeting held in the Board Schoolroom on Thursday 8th March 1894 a Committee was appointed to consider the enlargement of the Churchyard.

The following were proposed

The Rector

Mr William Collishaw

Mr George H Collishaw

Mr George Simpson

Mr Henry Edgson

Thursday March 15th 1894

The Committee at 2 o clock on the Churchyard

Present. The Rector in the Chair

Mr W Collishaw

Mr GH Collishaw

Mr G Simpson

Mr H Edgson

1 With respect to Mr J Magson’s small plot of ground abutting on the churchyard it was unanimously agreed that it was desirable to purchase that portion with the view of adding it to the churchyard for the purpose of burials.

11 The correspondence with Queens’ College Cambridge in 1885 bearing on the same subject was laid before the committee and perused.

111 The Committee agreed to meet again on Monday evening March 19th at 7.45

Read and confirmed 19/3/94 T Skelton Chairman

Monday March 19th 1894

The committee met at 7.45pm all members being present

1 the minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed

11 the question having arisen with reference to the acquisition of Mr Magson’s plot and any other adjacent ground to the south and west that the consent of adjoining landlords and tenants may have to be first obtained it was agreed to postpone a decision till the Act relating to additions to churchyards (Churchyard Act 1867) be obtained and consulted

111 While it is agreed that the best provision would be an entirely new burial ground and the committee are debarred from recommending it only on the ground of its great expense, they consider the next best plan to be the raising of the eastern portion of the present yard without or with Mr Magson’s plot.

Read and confirmed 26/3/94 T Skelton Chairman

Monday March 26 1894

The committee was to meet on the churchyard at 6pm Two members were then present. By half past 6 the following three were present and adjourned to the Rectory

The Rector

Mr W Collishaw

Mr H Edgson

1 The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed

11 information having been obtained from the Bishop’s Secretary Mr D’Oyly Ransom was given to the following effect. In the case of addition to churchyards, the consent of neighbouring owners and tenants was not necessary and no Faculty is required and consecration is inexpensive. But for any alterations in a consecrated churchyard a Faculty is required of which the cost is 5Gs (guineas)

111 after discussion of the schemes already proposed for increasing the burial accommodation without deciding in favour of any the committee was adjourned to Thursday next 29th inst at 7.30 at the Board school room for a fuller attendance.

Read and confirmed 29/3/94 T Skelton Chairman

Thursday March 29th 1894

The committee met at half past 7 in Board School Room all the members being present

I. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed

II. It was agreed that the plan of levelling up the East End of the churchyard is impracticable owing to the large amount of material estimated to be necessary

III. It was unanimously agreed to submit two schemes to a Parish Meeting

  • The addition of Mr Magson’s plot to the present churchyard
  • The purchase of a new piece of ground for a cemetery

IV. It was agreed to call a Parish Meeting for the purpose of submitting this question on Wednesday next 4th April at half past 7 and the Rector was requested to draw up a Report to be rendered to the meeting with the signatures of all the members appended.

Read and confirmed at same time T Skelton Chairman


The Churchyard Enlargement Committee appointed by the Hickling Vestry at its meeting of 8th March 1894 report as follows:-

The Committee met on four several occasions to discuss various schemes for providing additional space for burials. They could not determine on any plan as suited both to the permanent need and to the present financial resources of the Parish. But they unanimously resolved to submit to a Vestry Meeting of the Parish for its judgement two possible schemes:-

  • The addition to the Churchyard of the small plot now in the possession of Mr John Magson
  • The purchase of an entirely new and separate piece of ground for a Cemetery

Signed by the Committee this 30th day of March 1894

T Skelton Rector and Chairman

William Collishaw

Henry Edgson

George Simpson

George H Collishaw

Churchyard Correspondence: Parochial Church Council meetings 1894
Churchyard Correspondence: Parochial Church Council meetings 1894
Churchyard Correspondence: Parochial Church Council meetings 1894
Churchyard Correspondence: Parochial Church Council meetings 1894
Churchyard Correspondence: Parochial Church Council meetings 1894
Churchyard Correspondence: Parochial Church Council meetings 1894

(See also gallery, below)

1896 onwards:

Churchyard Correspondence: plan (after 1896)
Churchyard Correspondence: plan (after 1896)

A+B+C = site now in Rector’s hands.

A= Cottage, stable &c  the property of the College, purchased by a former rector and conveyed to College

B in blue = site of a garden purchased by the late rector, Rev. Canon Skelton. I am enquiring to whom conveyed.

Red outlined portion wanted for addition to the churchyard.

C= portion of garden wanted from the College property

(diagram of churchyard & proposed new burial area – undated but later than 1896 when the Magson land was gifted to the Church)

Correspondence: 12th June 1916

Copy of letter to Messrs Thorpe and Perry [solicitors re garden sale]

June 12.16

Dear Sir

In 1894 or soon after a [small] property in this [parish] was sold by a [Miss/Mr] Magson I believe to my predecessor the Revd Canon Skelton

Can you give me any information concerning the sale and the person to whom the property was conveyed? Do you know to whom the title deeds were handed over? I shall be […] of any information you can give that will enable me to trace the exact status of this property.

Believe me

Yours faithfully

FJ Ashmall

Messrs Thorpe and Perry


[…] Gate


Correspondence: 16th June 1916

Copy of letter to Queens’ College re College property addition to churchyard

June 16 1916

Dear Mr [Munro]

  1. I send you a [rough] plan of the property belonging to the College which will I think explain the position. The […] of the churchyard as a burial ground demands further [provision] of burial accommodation and of the [portion outlined in red] could be added to the churchyard  ample accommodation could be provided for the next 25 years.
  • I desire to point out that the giving up by the College of the ground [marked] will not to any appreciable extent reduce the value of the property, the rent will remain the same – and the rector will secure no damage.

The Cottage is liable to be [floored/flooded] is thatched [now] or unless it is [repaired] it will soon fall into complete decay. It is proposed to put on a new roof with tiles and to strengthen the walls

Churchyard Correspondence: plan (probably 1916)
Churchyard Correspondence: plan (probably 1916)
  • Will the College sanction this scheme for enlarging the churchyard and also
  • The re-roofing and general renovation of the property scheme by a loan of £100?

Undated diagram on small piece of waxpaper (accompanying correspondence of 1916)

  • On a wax paper drawing of the churchyard and Glebe Cottage; the cottage and land to the roadside of the churchyard are shown in the occupation of Thomas Wiles. Mr TW Collishaw is owner of the land neighbouring the churchyard and east of Glebe Cottage.
  • 280sq yards on the north side of the Glebe Cottage property are shaded in red; this is the area intended for the graveyard extension.

Correspondence: 17th June 1916.

Thorpe & Perry Solicitors

(printed letterhead)

Friar Lane, Nottingham

17th June 1916

Dear Sir,

Property at Hickling

In reply to your letter of the 12th inst we have referred to our papers and find that on the 4th day of Sept 1896 Miss Emma Magson of Hickling conveyed to the Presidents and Fellows of Queens’ College Cambridge a piece of land at Hickling adjoining the churchyard containing 280 square yards – […] Skelton Esquire Solicitor then of 52 Lincolns Inn Fields (the son of the Rev Canon Skelton) acted for the Purchasers and the Conveyance was handed over by us to him on completion viz on the 4th Sept 1896. We enclose you a tracing of the plan on the conveyance which may be of some assistance to you.

Yours truly

Thorpe & Perry.


The Rev F J Ashmall

Hickling Rectory

Melton Mowbray

(tracing doesn’t seem to be included in this bundle of papers)

Correspondence (undated – following completion of work?):

Fees – S [Dickson] Southwell Diocesan – Calendar 237

Consecration of addition[to a] Churchyard                 1.15.0

Faculty for alterations in churchyard                             2.2.0

Petition for ditto                        £1.1.0 x 5/-                    1.6.0


etc conveyance                          £4.16.0

Colwick churchyard Plan required. Sanitary Authority […] White & Miller

Solicitors to […] Whitehall Place

6th July 1917 (Belvoir Angel Headstones):

Telephone Nos 25 & 26

Everard, Son & Pick

Civil Engineers

Architects & Surveyors


S. Perkins, F.R.I.B.A.

Bernard Everard, M.A..A.M.I.C.E..P.A.S.I.

Wm Keay, A.M.INST.C.E.,P.A.S.I.

6, Millstone Lane


July 6/17.

Dear Sir

Please accept my best thanks for your letter.  In due course I will send to you some particulars of slate headstones.  The slates themselves came from Charnwood Forest and the best work is confined to the Midland Counties accessible from that district.  During the 18th century slate cutters arrived at a marvellous state of perfection and during the 19th century the art deteriorated until every vestige of interest died out.

The raised letter slates are, with rare exceptions, confined to a few villages in your neighbourhood and it is quite evident that they are due to one of two village craftsmen of the district.  The lettering is very beautiful and the work unique.  I wondered if there would be any reference in the registers of a slate cutter who may have died about 1740.  If so, one might reasonably conclude that we should be able to fix upon the genius who did this work.

Yes, Dr Stewart and myself came to Hickling some time ago and took a few photographs.  I called at the Rectory but you were out at the time.

Your faithfully

S Perkins Pick […] BJ […]

Rev FJ Ashmall

Hickling Rectory

Melton Mowbray


Undated Plan: graveyard extension proposed – 680sq yds including a section behind Glebe Cottage.

This is likely to date from the 1920s but there is no accompanying correspondence; the use of this land (marked red) to extend the graveyard did not go ahead.

Churchyard Correspondence: undated plan (likely to be 1920s)
Churchyard Correspondence: undated plan (likely to be 1920s)

May 1926:

Bingham Rural District Council

Bingham Notts

May 15th ‘26

O. Eaton D.P.H. Camb.

Medical Officer of Health

Telephone No 12.

Dear Sir,

On Saturday May 8th I inspected the proposed site for a new Burial Ground at Hickling.

In my opinion the proposed site is in every way satisfactory from a public health point of view.

Yours faithfully,

O. Eaton

F. [Caute] Esq