A new safety fence has been put up today around the two historically important memorials in Doddington churchyard that are scheduled to be dismantled as part of a safety programme by Fenland District Council.
The Bavin chapel memorial (left) and the Bedford memorial (right) both hold a significant place in Doddington churchyard, and news of the plan to lay them down has caused a stir in the village — including coverage in the Cambs Times and a message by BBC Cambridgeshire to its 11,600 followers on Twitter.
It is believed the safety fence was placed around the memorials on Saturday morning, and Doddington historian Dave Edwards told the Doings he is hopeful it’s a positive sign.
“I’m hoping this is to satisfy the immediate health and safety problem, and will give more time to sort out a permanent solution,” Edwards said.
“I’ve not seen a safety fence in Doddington churchyard before, but at least the prospect of imminent dismantling seems to have past.”
The Doings has contacted Fenland District Council about the safety fence and whether the memorial dismantling is on hold, and is awaiting a response.
The Bavin memorial has been an iconic part of Doddington Churchyard since Francis Bavin of Wimblington died in 1869. An item in the Cambs Times from 30 July 1954 describes the long-running legend surrounding it:
“Recently our representative was taken to a tombstone in the [Doddington] parish churchyard and was shown a perfect gooseberry bush growing from one of the old crevices of a tombstone erected over the vault of a Francis Bavin on the south-side of the churchyard. This particular tombstone is very well known to the older residents who remember a myth of their young days that if one ran round it several times strange noises could be heard!”
The memorial for William James Guthrie Bedford, who died in 1902, is significant because he was a founding member of The Royal Australian Army Medical Corps (RAAMC).
The Doings has contacted the RAAMC Association in Australia about the planned dismantling of the Bedford memorial.
– Tim Lince