By Audlem Webteam - 14th June 2012 12:23pm
In a moving ceremony at Audlem's cemetery, the new Memorial to Paupers' Graves was dedicated this morning.
Bill Cowen of Audlem Baptist Church, Helen Chantry of St James' Church and Andrew Gunstone of Audlem Methodist Church, conducted a short but very moving service dedicated to the sixty one names now engraved on the Memorial stone.
The stone's inscription says: 'Memorial to Unmarked Graves: Between The Years 1876 and 1951 Many Were Buried As Paupers, With The Fees Being Met By The Parish.
'These Graves Were Discovered In 2003 And The Ground Beneath Which They Lie Made Good. The Names Of These Forgotten Persons Are Inscribed Hereon — In Lasting Memory Of All Such Men, Women and Children. 2012 AD.'
The ages of those remembered range from just two hours to 89.
The joint service began with Helen Chantry saying: "We are here today to dedicate this memorial. The memorial remembers the lives of sixty-one local souls buried here and also represents the care and concern of those responsible for this place."
Andrew Gunstone then read Psalm 23 and Bill Cowen read from Romans 8. The service concluded with prayers from all three ministers.
Three sides of the Memorial list the names, ages and grave numbers of the sixty one now formally remembered.
The forgotten graves were discovered soon after Ralph Warburton became involved with the cemetery. He felt that the area to the bottom of the land, which was overrun by brambles and wild weeds plus a large rabbit warren, should be cleared.
Studying the registers, he realised that many forgotten graves lay under this uncared for area. This resulted in the listing of those now named on the new memorial stone.
They were originally buried in what was un-consecrated land which made up a large part of the cemetery. In the 1990s, the then Methodist Minister, Bill Seville, consecrated all the land.
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