§ MR. J. A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the Rev. W. H. Hills, the rector of Little Canfield, Essex, recently refused to read the appointed burial service of the Church of England on the 1365 burial of Mrs. Morton, a parishioner, on the ground that, although a church-woman, she was not a communicant, he at the same time expressing his willingness to read an alternative service, and that, in consequence of such refusal the gravedigger refused to dig the grave and the services of a gravedigger of another parish had to be secured, and the service had to be read by a Nonconformist minister; and, if so, whether any steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence of such an incident.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.)I have made inquiries into this rise. It does not appear that in is one in which I have any jurisdiction, and I understand that the matter is before the Bishop of the diocese. In these circumstances I do not propose to discuss the facts of the ease or how far they are exactly represented by the term- of the Question.