Church-yards The dead were not buried, in the earlier times, in the outer court of the church, but examples of the practice occur in the 4th century, and after the 6th century it became general. The first recorded instance of a formal consecration of a church-yard occurs in the writings of Gregory of Tours, in the 6th century. The church-yard, under the name of atrium, is first mentioned with the garden near the church in 740, in the Excerptions of Ecgbright. Cuthbert, archbishop of Canterbury, is said to have introduced the use of church-yards as burial-places into England. So lately as 1791, the burial-yard of the cathedral only was used at Hereford. Fairs and markets were prohibited in church-yards by act of Parliament in 1285, and another act of Henry VI proscribed the former in them on Sundays; but at the period of the Reformation they were often profaned by the revellings of summer lords in May, and by mummers in winter-time, and noisy revels and banquets were held under tents in them. The indecent practice was at length suppressed, and in 1623 the privilege of sanctuary was taken from churchyards. SEE CEMETERY.

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