Why was Robert Robinson's burial plot enclosed by a wall?
#117630. Asked by serpa. (Sep 19 10 7:48 AM)
To keep the curious away!|
Robert Robinson is best known today for his authorship of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing which he wrote at age 22 after becoming a Methodist minister.
Robinson was "prone to wander", as he had written, among different religions. Subsequently, he left the Methodist church when he moved to Cambridge and became a Baptist pastor. He became known as an able theologian through his writing of many theological works as well as several hymns.
He was accused of converting to Unitarianism later in life, partly because of his friendship with Joseph Priestly. He, however, seemed to rebuff the notion that he doubted the full divinity of Jesus Christ, a doctrine held by the Unitarian Church. In a sermon he preached after he was accused of becoming a Unitarian, Robinson clearly declared that Jesus was God, and added, "Christ in Himself is a person infinitely lovely as both God and man."
After his dismissal from Dob End Lane Chapel in Failsworth, he moved to Barrack Hill Farm in Bredbury in the 1770s. Robinson died on June 9, 1790. He was buried in a field near his house, where the place was enclosed by a wall. The enclosure was a square red-brick structure below School Brow, out of which elder bushes grew.
It was reputed that he was laid in a coffin with a glass panel over his face. James Cocks, in the Memorials of Hatherlow, gives alternative reasons for his mode of disposal. One is that he had a horror of premature burial, and his relatives were instructed to visit his grave periodically to check that he was still dead. An alternative explanation is that he feared the attention of the "resurrection men". A further account is that he had for many years protested against the indecent manner in which funerals were commonly conducted, and so was prompted to prepare a private cemetery on his own land.
However, it appears that the disposal was without ceremony, at break of day, eight days after his death, which gives some credence to another explanation that, because of his disputatious life, his body was not acceptable to the controllers of consecrated ground.
At one time anyone could see the coffin, and large numbers came out of morbid curiosity, especially on Sundays, so that eventually because of the scandal the place was enclosed by a wall.
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