Last updated 14th March 2023
The Churchyard Regulations provides advice and describes the detailed requirements for the choice of a gravestone in a churchyard.
Churchyards (or graveyards) are set apart for the reverent burial of parishioners: those whose names are on the church Electoral Roll and those who die in the Parish.
These churchyards are therefore part of our Christian faith and heritage and are usually full of character. Like people, churchyards are all different.
Just as a memorial that might be entirely suitable for one person would be altogether wrong for someone else, so a headstone that is appropriate in one churchyard may be unsuitable for another.
So a memorial should respect its surroundings: it should be in harmony with those around it and with the churchyard as a whole.
The character of the churchyard depends on that of all the memorials within it: no one of those should spoil that general appearance.
Churchyards have to be maintained by the parish for centuries to come.
This means that memorials should be designed to allow for that maintenance to be as simple as possible.
That is why kerbed surroundings, railings, chains and chippings are not allowed. Inscriptions should be the most appropriate in all the circumstances, accurately commemorating the person who has died. Wording and symbols are best kept simple and dignified.
You will want the very best to commemorate your loved one, so do not become totally committed to any particular idea until you have thought it through carefully and please do not actually commission any work until you have the Vicar’s formal approval.
You would be in a very difficult position and would also place the Vicar in a difficult position, if permission were not given for a memorial that had already been completed. The Vicar is only allowed to approve monuments which comply with the Regulations set out in document available for download below.
The Regulations are intended to encourage good practice in order to create and maintain a place of peace, dignity and respect for the departed.
We appreciate the death of a loved one is a very difficult time for you but, while managing your own personal grief, please remember the regulations exist to ensure fairness for all - including you of course - now and in the future.
They also exist to prevent unrestrained growth of memorials on and around graves and the vicar and churchwardens do have a legal responsibility to enforce the regulations.
If we all work together it will ensure the best outcome possible for everyone.
Jen Read, last updated March 2023