First body to be lifted is that of First World War soldier
Gravestones piled by the perimeter fence by St Lawrence's Church
The exhumation of graves in the burial ground of St. Lawrence’s Church has begun this Monday morning (28 June).
Diocese of London has said that the first body to be lifted was that of a soldier who died during the First World War.
A representative of the Diocese was present but members of the community were not able to attend.
The remains of approximately 845 former parishioners will be exhumed during the process and that they will be re-interred at Brookwood Cemetery near Woking.
The Diocese has said that there will be a proper ceremony at the receiving burial site in due course and it is in negotiation with developers Ballymore to make sure there is suitable memorial at both St Lawrence's and the receiving burial ground.
The majority of the exhumations are deemed to be necessary in preparation for the building of a block of 18 flats.
Jim Storrar of Brentford Voice said, “Brentford Voice is determined to do all we can to ensure that the ancestors of our community are remembered and memorialised. We will seek to ensure that remaining headstones will be placed around the perimeter of the site and that the Ronalds family tomb is retained in situ. We will also press for appropriate memorials to the dead from the Battle of Brentford in 1642, the families of those who worked on the Grand Union Canal, and the Commonwealth War Graves of the two servicemen who died during the First World War.”
A spokesperson for Ballymore said, "We have undertaken a significant notification process ahead of beginning these works. The exhumations are necessary to bring forward the approved planning permission, the legislation stipulates that all bodies within the new graveyard are to be moved as part of the process.
"Those families who have come forward and requested their ancestors are reburied elsewhere are being accommodated. All remaining bodies will be moved and reinterred at Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey.
"As part of the wider transformation of Brentford’s town centre and high street, the deconsecrated St Lawrence’s Church will be sensitively restored, with plans for it to become a community hub and space to host pop-ups, events and shows. The gardens of the church will also be reimagined as a new landscaped space for residents and locals. "
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June 29, 2021