A Bedminster campaign group says it fears for the future of an historic cemetery in Bristol.
Hebron Burial Ground, just behind North Street, is the resting place of Mary Baker, better known as Princess Caraboo. Baker hoaxed prominent Bristolians in the nineteenth century into believing she was a foreign princess, inventing her own language in order to do so.
It is currently owned privately, but will be auctioned at the end of the month. A campaign group, Friends of Hebron Burial Ground, says it fears another private developer may buy the cemetery with the intention of building on it. They have now launched a campaign to get the city council to buy the land and maintain it.
1,200 people are buried in the small cemetery, many of whom have living relatives. The last burial took place in 1965.
Mike Meecham from Friends of Hebron Burial Ground, said: “Our fears are that it will go to another speculator who will treat it with very little respect. We would like to preserve it as a quiet area where people can sit and reflect.
“The council have been very supportive. All the councillors I’ve spoken to are behind us, as is the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership, the parks people seem to be in favour as do the local residents. They all want to see it preserved. But it will come down to money.”
Mike also wants to warn potential buyers that the land will be difficult to develop because it is a conservation area.
He said: “We feel the best step forward would be for the council to buy it and bring it up to standard. Grant money would be available to the council or a trust to run it. We’ve offered to help maintain it for the present owner but he’s shown very little interest in that.
“We want to see it maintained properly and respect paid to the people who are buried here.”
Audio: Martin Jones reports