Montpelier Conservation Group
Bristol Evening Post 1969
Transcript of an article concerning Montpelier which appeared in Bristol Evening Post in 1969.
Transcript of an article in Bristol Evening Post: 15 September 1969
Bid to save family graves as church is demolished
By RICHARD BROOKS
As St Andrew's Church, Montpelier, stands in ruin under the demolisher's axe, the ritual visit of one Bristol man to his family grave is in jeopardy.
Mr. Ernest Sutton was baptised and confirmed there, is a former choirmaster, and still regularly tends the family tomb where two grandparents and two great-grandparents lie.
Now he fears the grave will be taken away and the last link with his family's past will be severed.
The dangerous structure of the church caused services to be stopped seven years ago. Demolition work, which started two months ago, should be finished in about ten days.
Mr. Sutton, of St. Andrews's Road, Montpelier, said: "I wrote to the Church Commissioners when they first wanted to take the church down, but it had no effect.
"But nobody seems to know what is going to happen to the graves. They are already becoming overgrown and neglected, it would be terrible if we lost them for ever."
Mr. Sutton, a former scoutmaster of St. Andrew's group, added that two former vicars, including the Rev. G. B. Harvard Perkins, who was rector for 60 years, are buried there.
The Ven. L. A. Williams, archdeacon of Bristol, said: "The future of the church is uncertain, but we had to take it down as it was in a dangerous state."
He added that the church yard will be cleared, and if the ground is sold, the graves will be reinterred elsewhere on sacred ground.
The law states that surviving relations of anyone buried must be contacted and notified, and that property must not be disposed of unless reinterred.
Mr. Frank O'Sullivan, foreman of H. and F. Demolition, of London, said: "We still see the odd person come in to look at a grave, and one or two are looked after."
He added that there had been some trouble with vandals who had been stealing metal and lead from the church. "We have also got to watch out in case any children get injured in the ruins," he said.
The Rev. R. G. Wolsey, vicar of St. Andrew's and St. Bartholomew, said: "I've only been here three years but am still officially vicar of the two churches.
"We have a number of former worshippers from St. Andrew's come to our services, and some of them have relations buried there."
Mrs. R. M. Hood, who lives opposite the church in St. Andrew's Road, said: "It's in a ghastly state now, all we get is dust from the demolition work.
"I'm sure they could have done something without taking it down."