If you’ve driven down the Draycot Straight during the hours of daylight you can’t have failed to notice that, after being in a state of disrepair for a number of years, the Draycot Cerne Chapel of Rest has a new roof.
This was completed in early December 2015 as a result of the hard work by a small team of volunteers that set up a charity to repair and maintain this important and much loved, albeit abused feature of the DC community.
Many people don’t realise, but when the tiles were stolen from the roof, it became apparent that the chapel and graveyard is owned by the people of the village. It was given to the village in the late 1800’s. In the past it has always been maintained by village residents on a voluntary basis and since the early 1980’s this has been done almost entirely by Rueben Couzens, to whom we are indebted.
The situation highlighted the need for a formalisation of the ownership of this village asset for a number of reasons. One of the fundamental issues is that the building was not insured and you cannot insure something you don’t have a legal claim to, i.e., a tenancy or legal title. The team set upon the road to achieve legal title of the property to be able to repair it, insure it and secure its future as a village asset for generations to come.
The charity was established, which subsequently made a successful claim to the Land Registry to hold the title of the chapel and cemetery. This will give current and future residents control and security of what is our only communal asset, and primarily our ability to be in charge of our own place of rest for evermore, for those already resting there and those whose wish to be there at some point in the future.
The Friends of Draycot Cerne Chapel’s sole purpose is for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery and chapel.
The target is £15,000 in order to get the roof repaired and to pay for insurance for several years. Whilst the team have raised the funds to repair the roof, which was the primary objective, the target has not been met and there are a number of other jobs that need doing. It is hoped that people may still be kind enough to donate in the future.
The Parish Council was pleased to provide £500 under the Community Grant Fund scheme to be used towards the repair of the roof.
For more information, or to make a donation, please contact the Trustees: Philip Greenhill, Richard Dutton or Jeremy Bent or by post to: Friends of Draycot Cerne Chapel, C/O Lake Farm, Draycot Cerne, Chippenham, SN15 4SQ.