I took the opportunity of an annual Baptist service to take another look at the Thorn burial ground yesterday. The scene above is after the short service at which David Skinner projected his thoughts on the coming new community around Bidwell and Thorn. On the lands around here will soon be the start of construction of some 2,000 new homes, and a new community looking to find itself and resolve its problems as they arise.
This small burial plot of land was once an orchard belonging to John Bunker, and on 1st April 1749 it was sold for 10 shillings to a group of local people to form a Baptist Chapel and burial ground, to make them independent of the Kensworth Baptists. People used to walk from local villages to get here. It wasn't until 16 April 1790 that a new Baptist Chapel was opened up in Houghton Regis village centre, converted from two cottages in the High Street, as Thorn was too far to travel especially in cold weather.*
I suppose I was looking forward to sharing an experience of tranquillity, and to an extent it was quiet, but all the while I was struck by the volume of noise from motor transport of vehicles coming along the A5 some 500m away. Right behind this little heavenly plot a brand new link road has just started construction - that will heighten the noise not only for those in prayer, but for those who will soon have new homes in the area. Between the burial ground and the A5 will be construction of buildings to provide some employment. To the east, between Thorn Farm and Oakwell Park will be a housing estate.
I suppose, we will just have to go further afield to find that tranquillity.
*Historical notes taken from my timeline of Houghton Regis.