Couple may both have to die in the next 12 years to be buried in churchyard near King’s Lynn

All Saints Church, Ashwicken. Picture: Ian Burt

All Saints Church, Ashwicken. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A couple may both have to die in the next 12 years to be buried with their family, after their bid was foiled by church leaders.

Dora Carter, 75, and her husband Michael, 76, want to be laid to rest in a country churchyard at Ashwicken, near King's Lynn.

While the couple now live in Hampshire, Mrs Carter comes from Ashwicken and generations of her family are buried in All Saints' churchyard where she and her husband have grave space reserved, but only until 2027.

Because of a lack of grave space in the churchyard, a limit of 12 years has been imposed, which means the couple would need to die before the deadline to be guaranteed a spot.

Mrs Carter sought an extension of the deadline from the Church of England's Consistory Court which has jurisdiction over decisions involving churches and consecrated ground.

But Ruth Arlow, chancellor of the diocese of Norwich and a judge of the Consistory Court, said 'no', as there were no 'exceptional circumstances' to enable her to grant Mrs Carter's wish.

In her application Mrs Carter wrote: 'It is very important to me to believe I should be buried with the rest of my family, since my mother, father, sister, aunt and grandmother are all buried in the same area.'

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The Revd Jane Holmes, rector of All Saints, said: 'There is very little space left in the churchyard, which is not likely to be open in 12 years' time. There are also people who have lived here all their lives, who wish to be buried there.'

Have you been involved in a dispute with the Church? Email

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