This page is to explain in simple language the Churchyard Regulations which exist to ensure that the needs of all grieving relatives are met. If you wish to read the full document this can be found on this page, which is based on the Diocesan Churchyard Regulations.
Our churchyards are places of great beauty and historical value. The Regulations are designed to maintain and enhance these values and there are also practical reasons for some of the rules to allow for ease of maintenance. The family of the deceased bear the cost of any memorials and of maintaining them but they do not own the grave space and the Parochial Church Council (PCC) has the task of keeping the churchyard in good order.
To enable this, the regulations describe what is permitted, (not what is not permitted); so if something is not referred to then it is not permitted. If after reading this, you have any concerns about whether what you would like to do falls within the regulations please speak to the clergy. The rules concerning council run cemeteries are significantly different and things which are allowed there (eg balloons, lights, statues) are not allowed in a Churchyard.
There are separate rules about Memorials (see this page).
The ideal from a maintenance point of view is for he churchyard to be laid to lawn, with headstones marking the graves. This gives an open, peaceful and prayerful feel to the churchyard.
Aside from the headstone the following are permitted:
- Bulbs and small annual plants may be planted within the grave area – however larger shrubs and trees are not allowed.
- Wreaths and cut flowers may be placed on the grave (however, we would ask you to remove them when they become unsightly)
- Good quality artificial flowers may be placed on the grave for up to two months.
The PCC (Trustees of the Charity) via their representatives are entitled to:
- level any mounds over a grave a year after the burial
- remove larger shrubs and trees
- remove items falling outside the regulations (these will be stored by the shed for 1 month for your retrieval)
However, none of these actions will be taken without attempting to communicate with the family concerned.
The PCC are also entitled to do the following, and will do so without notice
- remove unsightly flowers, and artificial flowers after two months.
- move anything on the grave which interferes with the mowing of the churchyard – moving it to the headstone.
- lay flat headstones which are considered dangerous (notification that this has been done will be attempted)
Earlier Churchyard Regulations allowed some things which are no longer permitted under the current regulations. This means that if you see something in the Churchyard this does not mean that you it is currently legal. In particular this includes grave surrounds, and headstones/memorials which are more than a simple rectangular(ish) shape.