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Cemetery & Churchyard Information

Local Authority Cemeteries

Anyone can be buried in a Local Authority cemetery, which will sometimes be divided into sections for different faiths and those of no faith. Local Authorities allow the purchase of the Exclusive Right of Burial in a grave, normally for a period of between 25 and 100 years.

Local Authorities fix their own schedule of fees. There is one for the purchase of the grave, called the Exclusive Right of Burial, and one for the interment. This is often trebled in the case of anyone who did not live in the borough. If a Common grave is required there is no fee for Exclusive Right of Burial. The Local Authority can open these graves at any time for burial of an unrelated person and normally no form of memorial can be erected.

Most are divided into sections in which different types and sizes of memorials are permitted:

  • Lawn Section - a headstone and base, or headstone only design is allowed. Kerb stone memorials are not permitted.
  • Traditional Section - full memorials or kerb set designs are permitted. This does not prevent a client having a smaller memorial such as a vase, tablet or headstone & base design. It allows a lot more flexibility than a lawn section and leads to a greater expression of memorial design.
  • Children's Section - memorials are often scaled down versions of larger designs.
  • Cremated Remains Section - these are becoming more widely available and give families a place in which to remember their loved ones - a focus for their grief.

Most Cemeteries have rules regarding the erection of memorials. Before any memorial work can proceed the Registered owner of the grave must usually sign an application form showing the material, dimensions, design and inscription desired. So long as these conform to the regulations we would be issued with a permit to carry out the work. We would organise the necessary paperwork on your behalf. There is normally a fee payable to the Authority for granting permission.
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Burial in a Churchyard is open to all members of the parish who have been baptised, but in most urban areas there is no space left for new burials.

Although fees are charged, no grave deed is issued as ownership of the grave remains with the Church Authorities.

Although memorials are governed by strict guidelines laid down by the Diocese it is normally left to the Incumbent (Minister) of the Churchyard to decide what is acceptable and interpretation of these guidelines differs widely. For this reason we suggest that you check with us as to what will and will not be allowed before you make a decision.

Most Churchyards will allow 'Natural' stones - Slate, Portland, York, Nabresina, Hopton Wood and grey Granites with eggshell, rubbed, sawn or rustic finishes. They will usually not allow Marble, polished Granite, ceramic photo-plaques, heart-shaped or book shaped headstones and carved figures.

Some Churchyards have specific Cremated Remains plots and Lawn sections. Before proceeding with any memorial work we always write to the Minister for permission. There is normally a fee payable to the Church for this.

Privately Owned Cemeteries

Those run commercially normally operate in much the same way as those run by Local Authorities. The fees are generally higher but distinctions for non-residents seldom apply.

Burial grounds for specific religions or denominations usually occur only in larger urban areas.

Private burial grounds are normally found within large family owned country estates.