He Bought a Cemetery

Richard Hopkins is a Welshman interested in genealogy. He was appalled by the condition of the former Babell Chapel cemetery in Cwmbwrla where five generations of his family were buried. Even worse, he learned that the cemetery was up for auction. He realized that real estate developers might purchase the cemetery and “repurpose” it for other uses, such as a housing development or a shopping mall. The “problem” of the cemetery being up for auction turned out to be the solution: Richard Hopkins purchased the cemetery.

Mr Hopkins said it would be a “long-term project” to clean up the cemetery and to restore it to the condition it once was. He continued:

“It’s my intention to take on repairs for the graves of my ancestors, and if anyone wants to repair their own ancestors’ graves I won’t stand in their way.

“We are also looking at the ecological benefits with wildlife coming into the site, and I hope to have an almost urban meadow so people can enjoy it from an educational standpoint.

“It is a long project but it will look in much better shape.”

You can read much more in an article in the Express web site at: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/919760/Graveyard-Babell-Chapel-cemetery-Richard-Hopkins.

13 Comments

Loved the article re. “purchasing one’s own ancestral cemetery!”
Actually that is something I would do — just ask my family., i.e.,” I never met a cemetery that I didn’t like!”

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    This must be fake news. You cannot buy a cemetery. Land (plots) have been bought and paid for through the years by families. You do not own their bit of land. Wildlife coming to the site? Who wants animals walking over the graves of your ancestors? If churches or cities do not maintain their cemeteries then the county is required by law to maintain the cemetery.

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    It is not fake news. Many cemeteries are privately owned. Thousands of cemeteries are owned by individuals, churches, fraternal organizations, and by corporations. For details, see https://cemeteries.uslegal.com/public-vs-private-cemeteries/

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    gramdakota – it is very unlikely that a grave is owned by (for example) the family whose relation is buried there. Payment is normally only for a licence for a limited time. This gives you a right of burial, but does not confer ownership. Ownership of the land remains with the Church or a civil body such as a County Council.

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In trying to restore a 150 year old abandoned African American cemetery, we ran into the problem of ownership. We could not get permission to work on the cemetery because no one could find out who owned it. Luckily, working with county government, we eventually were given a quit-claim deed, so yes, now we own the cemetery!

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Richard Hopkins is a Welshman with a world of good intentions and good sense. Hooray for him taking over the cemetery with plans to restore it ! Go for it !

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Do we know from which Thomas family members are buried there? Are there people in the US and Canada who might also have relatives/ancestors buried there?

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Hopkins is a real man he respects his ancestors!

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ROBERT ERIC PENTECOST February 28, 2018 at 12:21 am

In America back in the mid 1950’s my parents purchased on a time payment plan 2 cemetery plots in our city from a the company who had purchased and developed the land into a long use cemetery. My Dad died in 1963 and my sister in 2002. Due to her financial circumstances she chose cremation. My Mother asked us to accompany her to the offices of the company with her paper work in hand to see about burying my sister’s ashes on Mom’s side, then when Mom died and was buried the three of them would be in the same place. Not only would they not do that – to have my sister’s ashes buried there we would have to buy the plot at today’s prices and pay the rest of the fees associated with it. Needless to say the family decided against it. My parents had paid for and owned the right to be buried there and for the visitors to their plots to enjoy well kept surroundings I guess until we all are dead and gone or the place falls into disrepair or is abandoned or auctioned or sold to who knows who. They “owned” the plots but they or their heirs don’t own it.

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Could Mr Hopkins use some volunteer labor on a regular basis. Some will not be allowed to use chainsaws, weedeaters, tractors, etc without express permission from their Mission leaders; others would be his neighbors of all ages and skills. I have a strong Thomas line with possible Welsh ties. Wish I could have a hand in the work; even take a ‘working vacation’ there. Will closely monitor Dick Eastman’s column. Thanks for your work!

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I live in the U.S. and have Thomas ancestors there. I have been following this closely. Check the website for updates. Babell-chapel.com.
Volunteers needed for the planned clean-up day of April 21.

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