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'Literary cemetery' given protected status

22nd February 2011

A London cemetery that is the resting place of some of English literature's finest talent has been given grade I protected status.

Bunhill Fields Cemetery in central London is home to the graves of William Blake, John Bunyan and Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe and has now been acknowledged by English Heritage through its inclusion in the national Register of Parks and Gardens.

The status means that any changes made to the site must first receive special consent, while the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has separately listed 75 tombs there.

David Garrard from English Heritage described the cemetery as 'the terra sancta of English non-conformity' and alluded to its atmosphere and striking monuments to literary greats.

'Few places nationally document religious history as vividly or with such poignancy as Bunhill Fields and we welcome the culture minister's endorsement of our advice to list the 75 individual tombs,' he added.

Last week, the ashes of Raymond Chandler's wife Cissy were scattered over his coffin in a ceremony in San Diego, California, 52 years after The Big Sleep author's death.

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