HS2 Ltd have announced the exciting news that the remains of the late Captain Flinders, one of the most distinguished sons of Lincolnshire, is coming home to Donington in the south of the county, the place of his birth.  Captain Flinders was the first person to identify Australia as a continent and is credited with naming the country.

His final resting place will be in at the Church of St Mary and the Holy Rood in Donington, near Spalding, where he was baptised, and where many members of his family are buried.  There is currently no set date for when his body will be reburied at the church. However, the diocese of Lincoln has recommended that planning consent be given to the reburial and, now HS2 have announced the news, the Parochial Church Council is expecting to work speedily to submit the details of a suitable memorial.  Until that point his remains will stay in the custody of HS2. 

Captain Flinders was born in Donington in 1774 and he died in London in 1814. His father and great grandfather both practised as village surgeons and apothecaries and are buried in the churchyard. His remains were exhumed during the HS2 excavations at the churchyard of St James Piccadilly near Euston station and HS2 have been the custodians of his remains until an application was made by the family of Captain Flinders to return them to Lincolnshire.

The Diocese of Lincoln worked closely with the remaining members of Captain Flinders’ family to complete the necessary legal paperwork that would allow his body to be moved to Lincolnshire.

Bishop David, the acting Bishop of Lincoln said: “We are delighted that this hero of Lincolnshire will be returned to his place of birth, and will join his father and his grandfather at the Church of St Mary and the Holy Rood in their final resting place. It is an honour for both the church and the diocese that we will be able to welcome home one of Lincolnshire’s great explorers.”

The Reverend Charles Robertson, Vicar of St Mary and the Holy Rood in Donington said: “It is with great honour and joy that we received the good news that the mortal remains of Captain Matthew Flinders will come to Donington. It is a privilege to welcome home this great explorer to rest in peace in his home church.”

Jane Pearson, Treasurer at St Mary and the Holy Rood Church in Donington said: "I am absolutely delighted to hear that the mortal remains of Captain Matthew Flinders will be brought to Donington.  All the people from the village, including the members of the church and the Matthew Flinders Bring Him Home Group, will be too. This is wonderful news for us - and something we have long hoped for.”

In his will Captain Flinders makes his attachment to his native village very clear as he left instructions for the erection of four marble slabs in Donington parish church, on the north wall of the chancel, to commemorate his great grandfather, his grandfather, his father and himself. These slabs remain there today. The church also houses a display dedicated to Captain Flinders and one of the stained glass windows also commemorates his life.

Matthew Flinders joined the Navy aged 15 and he made several coastal explorations of Australia, completing the circumnavigation in 1803. In tribute to him the largest island in the Bass Strait is named after him as is a university in South Australia and over 100 other geographical features around the country. 

The photo is with the kind permission of Mark Richards, Sculptor who was commissioned by the Government of South Australia to design and create a statue to commemorate the life of Captain Matthew Flinders. This work was unveiled at Australia House in London on the 18th July 2014 by the Duke of Cambridge, before being moved to its permanent location at Euston Station.