The situation in Peel would appear to be equally bad as that which led to the creation of Braddan New Yard (opened 1848) but nothing happened until the new Cemetery on the Douglas road was open in 1853 (though burials continued in St Peter's until 1887). The petition was addressed to the Archdeacon, as, being a member of the legislative council, he was in a position to bring the matter to the notice of Government.
The extracts of editorials etc. are taken from the Manx Liberal (The Editor (signing himself Editor Manx Liberal) was Joseph Ritson Wallace]
[We think no apology necessary for inserting the following document a copy of, which is placed at our disposal.] E. M.L]
Draft of Petition to the Venerable the Archdeacon of this Diocese, Isle of Man, respecting a New Cemetery for the Town of Peel and the Parish of German, or for the, Town ship only, 31st December, 1847,
SHEWETH, That the present burial ground situated in the centre of the town of Peel, is altogether insufficient for the proper interment of the dead; that the heap of human mould in various places is six feet above the level of the street outside, and that the coffins being placed touching the walls of the Church, have brought the earth close up to the sills of several of the windows whereby the panelling of the pews adjoining are exposed to decay, to say nothing, of the entire flooring of the Chapel, which is. wholly beneath the level of the outside raised surface.
That, at sundry times, the remains of two or three bodies have to be disturbed for the burial of one; and your petitioners think, that another and larger burial-place should be chosen for the town and parish, or for the town only, to prevent this desecration.
That in case of any great increase in mortality,* your petitioners would be utterly at a loss where to lay their dead ; and they opine, that the New Cemetery should be fixed upon outside the boundary of the said town of Peel for the sake of the health of the inhabitants; and which must be deteriorated if the present baneful practice be persisted in, some of the coffins being not more than twelve inches under the sod.
Your petitioners therefore pray, that sepulture within the precincts of the town be prohibited and abolished, by law; and that they be empowered to proceed forthwith, to form a Necropolis outside the walls, for the due Internment of the remains of these dear to them, and which are supposed in all Christian lands to be entitled in a decent burial.
In furtherance of which object, we the undersigned parties have to request, that as Archdeacon of this Diocese, you will be pleased to lay the subject of this Petition before the Legislature, in order that the prayer therein may be embodied in the proposed Bill, regarding New Cemeteries for Kirk Braddan as a parish in itself, and. for the town of Douglas.
And your petitioners, as in duty heard, will pray
(Signed, and forwarded to the Venerable the Archdeacon, the 7th of January 1848.)
*The approach of the Cholera is probably alluded to and we are now in the midst of the Influenza, fatal beyond former experience. E.M.L.
The new cemetery seems the absorbing topic of the day It is likely that two distinct propositions will emanate from the Committee (which consists of the Vicar, six Wardens and five sidesmen) in their report to the adjourned special vestry; these persons seem to have a knotty question to unravel, they have met twice, 17th April, 2nd May, and are to assemble on the 11th. The original movers proposed to obtain a necropolis outside the boundaries, to erect a chapelry for the burial service, to wall in the ground, and make good the road ; this at a convenient distance from the town, and towards the parish on the main line of highway, as a mutual accommodation. The secondary project is by the purchase of adjacent ground to enlarge the present inadequate churchyard at a comparatively easy cost, say one-half or one-third. It will be perceived that as a sanitary and lasting measure the prior is the more eligible, the second being merely a palliative ; and it must be acknowledged we have proceeded quite far enough in that direction, when it is known that here are already three grave-places within the precincts of the township, and that we have no law to prevent as many more ; the trine[sic treen ?] burial grounds, one to three quarterlands, are obsolete in the country; we hope they are not to be revived inside the walls, It is surmised that about £120, sterling, would be inquired for the intramural additional place, and that it will be but a quarter job when completed; whereas, by taking the long headed view, those who come after us will see that we considered them as well as ourselves. Certainly the opening of spots for internment should not be optional in the midst of a town, putting the parish out of the question, for if we choose to risk burying our own there is a double danger and hardship to the parishioners bringing their dead and laying them at our doors.
If burial within townships be connived at, and suffered without permission of an authority in Church or State, any man's garden may be his cemetery, and we may be encumbered therewith, provided a profitable. investment: could be anticipated; but the prime consideration of the: public health should supersede this doing "what we like with our own." Some persons maintain that many grave plots are lapsed as heirship, and intimate that it in best to bury therein by rotation ; if so, when these are filled up you may by the same rule venture to occupy those which are not full to the sod and; the conclusion to be drawn is that we must inter the deceased according to turn, and as having graves in common. When our parish churchyard is insufficient other apace must be had either in or out of the town, and it may be mentioned that the surface stands 2½! feet above the sill of the chapel door, opposite the north wing, At all events decent sepulture must be provided for, and quickly, or our hidden evils may arise until a pestilence be the sequel of our willful blindness to even common forecast. It is a heavy responsibility, and which in the first symptom of its being incurred would at once be disavowed by the opposers of the sanitary scheme.
It may make no difference to many parties where they are laid, whether in consecrated ground or otherwise, but we have hitherto appeared satisfied to submit to a charge of desecration and incongruity, We profess a deep regard for the departed, and then give them an unchristian burial. whereby is shown a recklessness for the health of the living; and to fine a contempt of the first law of nature, for secure interments are the consistent act of self-preservation. The voluntary system of contributing to the parish cemetery is permissible as an aid, and more especially. in lack of a new regulation, but not as the ruled maintenance. If the monies leviable be for repayment by sale of graves they would amount to something like a nominal assessment and with good management might be made so . This seems the common sense view ; but as noticed in a leading article, Liberal, 22nd April; if the parishioners desire to build a new church to replace the old, they cannot hasten the event more than making us proceed with burials in contact with the walls, by refusing us spouts to throw off the rain drip from the roof and a stove to save the interior, the plaster, the panels, and the floor ; this sequel is so apparent to even casual observers, that we see surprised at the vestrymen, who see their own interests as they fancy, so clearly, should blink the extravagant entail of their negligence. No man in his senses would treat his own domicile after this fashion, with the idea of its lasting and standing ; the church and the homestead are of like materials, and subject to damage from exposure to ...
Three grave yards within precincts - the largest was that of St Peters, there was also some burials in the old Cathedral on St Patrick's Isle (mostly it would seem Roman Catholics and shipwrecked mariners) and also some in the yard at Atholl Street Methodist Church.