Information describing the type of memorial that the minister (a rector or vicar) of a Parish may permit in a Churchyard.
Making arrangements for the last resting place for loved ones is an important and often distressing responsibility. Many choose burial or interment of cremated remains in consecrated ground. Christian burial in a churchyard must always be reverent and basic rules – the Diocesan Churchyard Regulations – exist to maintain the highest possible standards and to guide those charged with making sensitive decisions.
The Diocesan Churchyard Regulations describe the type of memorial that the minister (a rector or vicar) of a Parish may permit in a Churchyard. Memorials that do not comply with the Regulations need a special legal permission known as a Faculty. The minister may not approve a memorial that does not comply with the Regulations. If a minister is not willing to approve the application, an application may be made to the Chancellor of the Diocese for a Faculty.
This is a summary of the Regulations – please ask for a full version
1: No memorial (including any type of gravestone or memorial vase) shall be erected or placed in the churchyard until the consent of the minister has been obtained in writing. Please ask for an Application Form.
2: Memorials must be constructed and installed in accordance with the Recommended Code of Working Practice issued by the National Association of Memorial Masons and with British Standard BS8415. Always check with your memorial mason that the memorial will comply with th NAMM Code and BS8415.
3.1: The minister will normally be able to authorise the following: Memorials for grave – full burials
3.2: A simple vertical memorial standing on a plinth. The height of a memorial should not exceed 4 feet, measured from the surface of the ground. The maximum permitted width of memorials is 3 feet and the maximum thickness is 6 inches. The plinth supporting the memorial must not exceed 12 inches from front to back and not project more than 2 inches beyond the back and not more than 3 inches beyond the sides of the memorial.
3.3: Horizontal memorials flush with surface of the surrounding ground are permitted. Memorial stones, marking or recording the interment of cremated remains
3.4: A memorial exceeding 21 inches x 21inches will require a faculty. No part of the memorial may be above the level of the surrounding ground.
4: Memorials need not be restricted to a rectangular shape and curved tops are preferable to straight-edged ones. Memorials should be simple and consistent with nearby memorials and the setting of the churchyard.
5: Inscriptions must be simple and reverent. All inscriptions must receive the prior written approval of the minister.
6: Photographs, porcelain or plastic portraits and inscribed portraits or other representations of the deceased are NOT permitted under the Regulations.
7: Statuary and other sculpture are NOT permitted under the Regulations.
8: Kerbs, railings, posts or chains and similar items to enclose a grave are NOT permitted under the Regulations.
9: Chippings and similar materials to cover the surface of a grave are NOT permitted under the Regulations.
10: Trees, shrubs and other plants are NOT permitted under the Regulations
11: Artificial flowers are permitted but should – and will be - removed when they fade or decay or become out of season.
12: Vases should be placed on the plinth of the memorial – or on the cremated remains tablet – NOT on the grass or soil adjoining the memorial or tablet. Glass and plastic vases are not permitted.
13: The surface of the grave will be levelled after six months.
14: Wreaths and floral tributes may be laid on the grave and cut flowers placed in metal or stone vases placed on the memorial plinth. Glass, ceramic and plastic containers are not permitted. If there is no plinth, a vase may be sunk into the ground immediately in front of the memorial – the vase must be sunk to below the level of the surrounding ground so that it does not impede and will not be damaged by a mower.