GALLERY: Operation ‘clear- up’ at March cemetery following collapse of two trees onto graves and head stones

PUBLISHED: 16:59 18 August 2014

Treet damage, St John's graveyard, March (Photo Sarah Cliss)

Treet damage, St John's graveyard, March (Photo Sarah Cliss)

Archant

Council contractors moved into a March cemetery to clear remove two cedar trees had toppled over, causing extensive damage to headstones and graves.

First photos of the fallen tree at Station Road, March, cemetery (Photo: Sian Bond) First photos of the fallen tree at Station Road, March, cemetery (Photo: Sian Bond)

Council contractors moved into a March cemetery to clear remove two cedar trees had toppled over, causing extensive damage to headstones and graves.

Fenland District Council has responsibility for the closed churchyard at the 19th century St John’s Church, Station Road, March, and inspected the damage within hours of it being reported.

A council spokesman said: “Officers and arboriculture specialists from The Landscape Group (TLG), our grounds maintenance contractors, have been down at the cemetery.

Clearing fallen tree at Station Road Cemetery March. Picture: Steve Williams. Clearing fallen tree at Station Road Cemetery March. Picture: Steve Williams.

“Two trees have come down. We are also going to fell another one nearby.

“They will all be removed by cutting them into manageable sections. The work will be carried out by TLG and is likely to take several days.

“Both the trees that have come down were healthy and strong. The cause is likely to have been the torrential rain last Friday softening the ground around the tree roots.”

Clearing fallen tree at Station Road Cemetery March. Picture: Steve Williams. Clearing fallen tree at Station Road Cemetery March. Picture: Steve Williams.

A church official said the graveyard was no longer used for burials although occasionally a family grave would be used. Responsibility for maintenance of the graveyard now rests with the council.

Sian Bond, who took some of these photographs, said: “One of the big trees in Station Road grave yard has fallen over and opened a few of the old graves.”

She said she had reported it to the council “and hopefully they will get it sorted soon”.

Clearing fallen tree at Station Road Cemetery March. Picture: Steve Williams. Clearing fallen tree at Station Road Cemetery March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Local historian Jennifer Lawler said Kelly’s Directory of 1900 shows that the three-and-a-half acre cemetery opened in 1867.

The directory described it as “beautifully laid out, and has a mortuary chapel, with tower and spire: adjoining the cemetery are two acres of land reserved for the purpose of extension. The cemetery is now under the control of the Urban District Council”.

Mrs Lawler also referred to documents held by the council which show the gate piers, gate and wall, cemetery chapel and mortuaries, and cemetery lodge, are all listed buildings.

Clearing fallen tree at Station Road Cemetery March. Picture: Steve Williams. Clearing fallen tree at Station Road Cemetery March. Picture: Steve Williams.

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