Unconsecrated Burials

A cemetery is a consecrated ground used by the Established Church of England. Centuries ago there was often an unconsecrated section in which burials took place of the less fortunate although the ground could be consecrated prior to each burial. Such graves often have no marker and may hold unrelated burials.

In medieval times, witchcraft and devil worship, execution of criminals, and death achieved by suicide were reasons to withhold a religious burial. These rules were most likely created by the Church to strike fear into the congregation and ensure their adherence to a pious life.

The practise of burying unbaptised babies in unconsecrated ground was very common in Ireland. The burial method of stillborn children was often at the discretion of the parish priest and his beliefs (was the soul innocent and deserving a Christian burial regardless of whether the child was baptised?) It was not unusual for midwives to baptise a child particularly if it was not expected to live thus ensuring a consecrated burial.

The thrill of giving birth to twins was tragically compounded when the stillborn twin was buried in unconsecrated ground, and yet the second twin who died the following day after baptism was buried in consecrated ground. If the parents insisted the babies should be buried together, they were buried in unconsecrated ground.

There is a grave in Otisco Cemetery, Minnesota assigned to Paul Kuss who committed suicide in 1910. His resting place is downhill and down-wind of the main cemetery.

Source: http://rachaelhanel.me/2014/05/20/one-old-reason-why-you-couldnt-be-buried-in-a-cemetery/

Another isolated, solitary grave in the Orkneys is the last resting place of Betty Corrigall who attempted to drown herself in the sea when she discovered that she was pregnant and abandoned by her lover. Although her suicide was thwarted by a passerby she hung herself shortly after. Her burial place is on the parish boundary because the Lairds refused to allow her body to be buried on their lands. There is an interesting detailed story which continues after her death which can be read here http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/historicalfigures/bettycorrigall/

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In a previous post entitled El Campo Santo, there were two graves identified which were unconsecrated.

Jesus Indian was given an Ecclesiatical burial in 1879 by Father Juan Pujol. However, because he was drunk and did not receive the Sacraments he was buried near the gate of the cemetery in San Diego.

San Diego_Jesus

Bill Marshall was a renegade sailor who married an Indian woman and participated in the Garra Indian Uprising in 1851. After capture, trial and hanging he was buried outside the wall of the cemetery in El Campo Santo Cemetery, San Diego.

San diego_Marshall

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