Torrential rain this month has affected the dead as well as the living.

Downpours have caused subsidence in the graveyard at St Nicholas in Dyke Road, mother church of Brighton.

When indentations started appearing in the graveyard, which is open to the public, Brighton and Hove Council took action.

It fenced off two areas close to Wykeham Terrace on the grounds of public safety and put up notices warning people not to tread on the ground.

A council spokesman said: "This land, and the recreation ground across the road, are deconsecrated graveyards. Heavy rain is causing slight subsidence, making indentations above the old graves.

The council says it will investigate each affected grave and has already begun work on graves on the recreation ground.

A council spokesman insists there is no danger of people falling into graves and added: "It is fenced off to prevent people tripping.

The most celebrated graves in the churchyard have not been affected.

They are being renovated by the council under a programme agreed earlier this year.

They are the graves of:

Captain Nicholas Tetersell, who helped Charles II escape to France when he was a wanted man.

Martha Gunn, who helped the fashionable get into the sea from bathing machines.

Phoebe Hessell, who dressed as
a male soldier so she could fight for her country.

Sake Dene Mohamed, who opened up baths much used by society figures in Regency times.