Cromford grave neglect is ‘disrespectful’

Cllr Garry Purdy and parish cllrs Russ Boyack and Joyce Pawley in St Marks Cemetery
Cllr Garry Purdy and parish cllrs Russ Boyack and Joyce Pawley in St Marks Cemetery

Concerned villagers claim the council’s cost–cutting measures mean an historic graveyard is being left in a shabby state – disrespecting the memories of those buried there.

Almost 170 Cromford residents have signed a petition calling for Derbyshire Dales District Council to reconsider its decision not to mow the grass around the old graves in the graveyard of the former St Mark’s Church, in Cromford.

The church was originally built for the workers of Arkwright’s Mill in the 19th Century, but was pulled down in the 1960s when it got into a state of disrepair, and now just the graveyard remains.

Addressing the authority’s full council in a meeting on Thursday, Cromford parish councillor Joyce Pawley said: “When you consider what Cromford stands for, not only locally but worldwide, the people of Cromford can’t understand that you can’t find enough money to respect the graves that are in that cemetery. We have found hundreds of thousands of pounds to restore the stones and mortar of Cromford Mill but we can’t find a few thousand for the graves of the people who worked there.”

She said the council has been mowing the grass of the newer graves in the cemetery every two weeks but leaving the older graves.

Councillor Pawley suggested the authority could come up with more imaginative ways of addressing the problem, for example using ornamental grass, which does not have to be mowed as frequently, or mini flower meadows.