Saturday, January 30, 2016

Row over the 'African grave' at Bishop's Castle

There are some remarkable graves in Bishop's Castle churchyard in Shropshire.

One of them, as this video from the Shropshire Star shows, is currently the cause of controversy:
A wood and perspex cover protecting the Grade II-listed “African grave” may have to be removed as it does not have permission to be there. 
But the locals who made the cover and put it there to save the 200-year-old monument say action needs to be taken now to stop it eroding further. 
The grave belongs to a man only identified as ID, who is said to be a native of Africa who died in Bishop’s Castle on September 9 1801.
Such monuments have to be looked after, but the locals say the cover is only temporary.

It is hard not to see this incident as a new Ealing Comedy. An inspector, perhaps played by Raymond Huntley, is dispatched to Shropshire to call the locals to heel.

Once there he is plied with beer from The Three Tuns, shown the wrong churchyard and sent back to Whitehall defeated.

And this part of Shropshire is one of the few places in England where you can still imagine this happening.

I recently saw an old episode of The Green, Green Grass of Home, which is set in the county. An American who had been stationed there as a serviceman decades before wanted to go round the village to see how it had changed.

"Oh it's not changed, sir," came the reply. "If anything it's more like it was now than it was then."

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