THE Anglican Church has issued a response to a villager’s anger after they reported that headstones in a Whitegate churchyard had been lowered.

The resident, who did not wish to be identified, revealed that St Mary’s Church had lowered headstones and placed them face down.

They also branded taping notices onto the headstones, which stated that the headstones were loose and had been placed face down to preserve the inscription, as ‘disgraceful’,

And they noted how the church had been removing items from graves ‘without warning for a while’ and ‘dumping them at the bins’.

But the Diocese of Chester, which oversees Anglican churches in Cheshire, says that the actions were necessary to ensure the safety of the churchyard.

A diocesan spokesperson said: “Together, the Parochial Church Council and memorial owners ensure a churchyard is a safe and welcoming place for all.

Northwich Guardian:

“If a memorial is found to be loose or dangerous, the PCC will attempt to make contact with memorial owners and advise them that urgent maintenance is required.

“Laying a headstone flat is a last resort, and only carried out if the headstones are deemed to be dangerous.

“All memorial owners agree to follow the diocesan churchyard regulations, which are on constant display in the porch of St Mary’s.

“Occasionally, items left by visitors fall outside of the regulations and have to be removed.

“They are left at the back of the church for a time to allow owners the opportunity to reclaim them.

“The intention at St Mary’s is to preserve the dignity, peace and safety of the churchyard for all to enjoy, and it has received many compliments that the churchyard is being kept in very good condition.”