Tunbridge Wells cemetery: Bodies exhumed in plan for new depot

Tunbridge Wells Cemetery Image copyright Google
Image caption The pauper's graves are around 200 years old and will be reinterred elsewhere

A baby is among 15 bodies due to be exhumed as part of plans to build a new depot on a graveyard.

The paupers' graves at Tunbridge Wells Cemetery are unmarked and date back to the 1800s, but records show their names.

The borough council has issued a public notice, as per its legal obligations, of its plans.

A spokeswoman said the remains would be treated "with dignity" and reinterred elsewhere in the cemetery.

The current contractor's depot on the site is "no longer adequate for its use", the council said.

A section of land has also been earmarked for new homes, although no plans have yet been submitted and the council said "no specific details have been agreed".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The depot on Benhall Mill Road is used for storing equipment for maintaining the graveyard

A council spokeswoman added: "We will ensure that all found remains are treated with dignity and we plan to reinter them in another part of the cemetery and ensure they are suitably and respectfully marked."

Relatives of those buried have two months to contact with the council if they wish to make their own re-burial arrangements.

Lawrence Heasman, councillor for Pantiles and St Mark's ward, where the cemetery is based, said he had no idea there were graves at the site.

"There has been no inquiry or visits to this part of the cemetery for a very long time," he added.

Names and burial dates of those to be moved:

  • George Langridge, 1873
  • Frances Sarah Day, 1873, (baby)
  • Maria Thompsett, 1873
  • George Payne, 1873
  • Richard Geer, 1874
  • Dennis Geer, 1873
  • Rebecca West 1873
  • Joseph Austen, 1874
  • Charles Lee, 1874
  • Sarah Morley, 1877
  • William Henry Everest, 1879
  • Martha Wheeler, 1875
  • Maria Batting, 1875
  • Thomas Batting, 1918
  • Sarah Batting, 1928

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