St Michael's Churchyard

Diocese of Guildford

Diocese of Guildford Churchyard Regulations 2005

Issued on the direction of the Chancellor of the Diocese.

The following is taken from the Churchyard Regulations Issue 1 Diocese of Guildford January 2005 Revised July 2021

Our churchyards are places of great beauty and historical value. The Regulations are designed to maintain and enhance these values with a minimum of bureaucracy. 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.

3 Memorials

 3.1 Incumbents (vicars) have discretion to authorise the erection of any headstone which falls within the types and classes authorised in Appendix A (Memorials in Churchyards). They may refuse to permit the erection of an authorised headstone if they believe it would be detrimental to the churchyard. However they have no discretion to allow the erection of a headstone that falls outside those authorised.

3.2 If individuals wish to erect a memorial which falls within the Incumbent’s discretion they should apply on form CR1 (available from the stonemason or Parish Office). Permission is always required and no work should be ordered or put in hand until permission has been granted. If individuals wish to erect a memorial which falls outside the Incumbent’s discretion they may apply for a Faculty giving the grounds for their request. The Incumbent will advise them how to approach the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) before seeking a Faculty.

3.3 Bulbs and small annual plants may be planted in the soil of a grave being within the area previously excavated. Plants or flowers may be placed in a removable sunken container, but unless they are kept tidy, the PCC may treat the grave as part of the turf and mow over it.

Wreaths or cut flowers may be laid directly on any grave or placed in any vase authorised by these Regulations. If a built-in vase ceases to be used for a period of twelve months or more, the PCC may insert a matching stone stopper in the vase hole.

Artificial flowers of good quality may be placed on a grave, but both natural and artificial flowers will deteriorate after periods of time. The PCC may remove flowers of whatever kind and wreaths at their discretion if they judge them to be unsightly and all artificial flowers after two months.

 Memorials in Churchyards

An appropriate variety of design is encouraged in choosing memorials. Relatives should take the surroundings of the grave and churchyard into account. A suitable choice can often be made from the range of memorials offered by some masons, but individually designed memorials are encouraged. In order to ensure quality and suitability of material and design, memorials which are outside the range of simple designs commonly found in churchyards, whilst not necessarily discouraged, must be authorised by Faculty. The Faculty process will be explained by the Incumbent or you can speak to the Secretary of the Diocesan Advisory Committee on 01483 790313

 Incumbents may authorise the erection of memorials which comply with the following provisions provided the Inscription is acceptable to them.

1 Materials

1.1  Memorials must be of weathering natural stone or slate, or hardwood, so that they harmonise with the surroundings. Stones traditionally used in local buildings or closely similar to them in colour and texture are to be preferred. The stone (including the lettering surface) shall not be finished with a polished or reflecting surface. It may not be black, dark grey or red, and no memorials or vases shall be of synthetic stone or plastic.

 2 Design

2.1 Memorials may comprise a simple headstone, cross, stone vase or urn. A stone wedge or a stone book may also be appropriate for the churchyard but will require a faculty. · A headstone may have maximum dimensions of 1200mm high above ground level, 900mm wide, 150mm thick (4ft x 3ft x 6ins). · A cross may have a maximum height of 1500mm above ground level, 900 mm wide and 150 mm thick (5ft x 3ft x 6 ins). The permitted design requires the cross to be made from a single piece of stone whose width in the earth is at least equal to the width of the cross. · A stone vase or urn may have maximum dimensions of 300mm in height by 200mm by 200mm (12ins x 8ins x 8ins).

 2.2 The Incumbent may specify a minimum size, in the regulations given to the bereaved, for all memorials (consistent with other memorials in the churchyard). A typical minimum size would be 350 mm high, 500 mm wide and 50 mm thick (and usually smaller for a child).

 2.3 All headstones and crosses must be securely fixed in the ground and due regard must be paid to the nature of the ground and the risk of settlement. Masons/funeral directors are strongly encouraged to have regard to the Guidelines issued by the Association of Burial Authorities. The PCC may decide to lay flat any memorial which, in its opinion, is unsafe.

2.4 A headstone or cross may stand on a base provided that it is an integral part of the design and firmly fixed to it with non-ferrous dowels. The base may project no more than 100 mm (4ins) beyond the headstone in any direction, except where a receptacle for flowers is provided, in which case this must be flush with the top of the base and may extend up to 200 mm (8ins) in front of the headstone. The base must be securely fixed on a foundation slab which is flush with or below the ground so that a mower may pass freely over it. The foundation stone must extend from 75 mm (3ins) to 150 mm (6ins) all round the base.

3 Exclusions

3.1 There are many practical reasons (e.g. maintenance, appearance) why horizontal ledgers, raised kerbs, railings and stone or other chippings are no longer normally permitted as part of memorials. Similarly, memorials in the shape of a statue or bird bath, or including any image of the deceased or any photograph or coloured drawing are specifically excluded from the delegated authority given to the Incumbent.

Note: Any headstones and historically approved edgings put in by Memorial Masons following an approved CR1 form DO NOT have to be removed. Any edgings that have been installed without CR1 approval will have to be removed by Sept 2022.

4 Memorials over Cremated Remains

4.1 Where cremated remains have been interred in a Garden of Remembrance then any memorial must follow the terms of the Faculty creating the Garden.

4.2 Where cremated remains have been interred in an existing grave, an inscription should be added to an existing memorial wherever possible. If there is insufficient space, an additional stone not exceeding 500mm (1ft 8ins) square may, with the consent of the Incumbent, be laid flush with the turf in front of the existing memorial. The stone should match the existing memorial and may incorporate a vase for flowers provided that the top of it is level with or below the surface of the stone. Any other memorial will require a Faculty. A fee is payable for an additional inscription or stone.

4.3 For good reason, an Incumbent may agree to the interment of cremated remains in any other part of the Churchyard (provided it is not closed). Any memorial over such a burial must fall within the Incumbent’s delegated authority or be authorised by Faculty.

 5 Inscriptions

5.1 Inscriptions must be simple and reverent and appropriate to a churchyard. Christian and surnames of the deceased should be given, with the dates of birth and death (or age and date of death). Relations named should normally be limited to parents, children and spouse or partner. Quotations compatible with the Christian faith are permitted. The terms of any epitaph must be agreed with the Incumbent as part of the necessary permission.

 5.2 Lettering should normally be incised and may be leaded, but plastic or other inserted lettering is not permitted. Incised lettering may also be painted in black or white, as appropriate for the colour of stone. It should be noted that paint may become illegible in a relatively short period, and may require re-painting.

5.3 No advertisement or trademark shall be inscribed on any memorial but the name of the mason may be inscribed low down on the side or reverse of the stone in unpainted and unleaded letters no larger than 13mm (½ in) in height.

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MAINTENANCE OF GRAVES IN

ST MICHAEL’S CHURCHYARD

We welcome everyone to the churchyard to enjoy the peace and quiet, and to tend the graves of loved ones buried here.  As the Vicar here at St Michael’s I understand the pain of loss having lost both my brother and my son, and I know how important this churchyard is to many people. I have been asked by the Archdeacon to help the PCC, who have responsibility for keeping the churchyard in good order in accordance with the current Church of England regulations. We ask that you adhere to these guidelines:

1.                   Graves should be turfed but not treated as flower beds. Bulbs may be planted in the grass on the understanding that the grass will be cut during the growing season.

2.                   Potted plants or flowers may be placed in a removeable sunken container or on the base of the headstone.

3.                   No edging or fencing is to be placed around graves or cremated remains plots. Any that is in place will need to be removed by Sept 2022 at the latest.

Note: Any headstones and historically approved edgings put in by Memorial Masons following an approved CR1 form DO NOT have to be removed. Any edgings that have been installed without CR1 approval will have to be removed by Sept 2022.

4.                   Wreaths or cut flowers placed on a grave will be removed once they become unsightly. One small bunch of artificial flowers may be placed on a grave but will be removed when weather weary.

5.                   No new trees or shrubs can be planted anywhere in the churchyard.

6.                   Only floral tributes are permitted for cremated remains within the limited space available. All tributes must be placed on the stone and should not encroach adjoining plots and will be removed once they become unsightly.

7.                   Balloons, toys, lights, ornaments and other memorabilia must be removed by twelve months after the date of the burial. Any items that are a danger to wildlife then they will be removed sooner. After twelve months remaining items will be removed, and the PCC do not have capacity to store them.

8.                   In special circumstances, requests to place an appropriate item on the grave may be given consideration & approval by the PCC. 

I understand the need to come and pay our respects to our loved ones, and yet I am mindful that we all can consider the needs of everyone who comes to the Churchyard. We want to ensure that it is a peaceful, reflective and appropriate space for everyone to visit.

I thank you in advance for your understanding.

I would be happy to meet with you about any pastoral concerns you may have. Any questions about maintenance of your loved one’s grave should be directed to office@stmichaelscamberley.com

Revd Pippa Ford - Vicar, St Michael’s Camberley.


Click here to read : St Michael's Churchyard Agreement