Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A DOOMED CHURCHYARD IN BIRKENHEAD

A great view of the old Churchyard.


The Sphere Newspaper 19th January 1957.



A DOOMED CHURCHYARD IN BIRKENHEAD Beyond the precincts of St. Mary's Church in Birkenhead, Cheshire, rise the cranes and sheds of Cammell Laird, the shipbuilders. In the centre background can be seen the prow of a ship taking shape. The churchyard has been bought by Cammell Laird for the construction of a new dry-dock.
A churchyard in Cheshire is to suffer the unusual fate of transformation into a dry-dock. St. Mary's is a parish church in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula opposite Liverpool. Just beyond the precincts lie the workshops, docks and cranes of the busy shipyards of Cammell Laird. The site of the church has been a place of worship for hundreds of years and about 1,900 people have been buried in the churchyard since 1719. The area involved is 3,100 square yards, about two-thirds of the churchyard. This land has been acquired from the church authorities for Cammell Laird under a compulsory purchase order of the Birkenhead Corporation, for the construction of a dry-dock which will be able to accommodate some of the biggest oil tankers afloat. Workmen wearing special clothing and supervised by medical and ecclesiastical officials will undertake the task of disinterring and removing the remains of the buried dead. These will be reinterred in a neighboring cemetery. St. Mary's Church was consecrated in 1821, but the grounds contain the ruins of a priory which was founded in the middle of the twelfth century by Benedictine monks. This foundation survived 400 years, to be dissolved by Henry VIII at the Reformation. The ruins will not be displaced in the construction of the shipyard.

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