Burial Policy

APPENDIX II

CHURCHYARD REGULATIONS

PARISH OF ST WILFRID, BURNSALL

THIS INSTRUMENT OF DELEGATION PRESCRIBES CATEGORIES OF HEADSTONE,
THE INTRODUCTION OF WHICH MAY BE AUTHORISED BY PAROCHIAL CLERGY

Introduction
1. Incumbents and priests-in-charge are temporary custodians not merely of the church building but also,
where there is one, of its burial ground. Responsibility for its care and maintenance rests with the PCC.
Churchyards are an important feature of both rural and urban communities: an historic record of successive
generations, a home for funerary monuments of architectural and aesthetic excellence, a setting for the
church itself (many of which are listed buildings), and a place for reflection and prayer. Churchyards are
consecrated and set apart for sacred use, and therefore different in their nature from municipal cemeteries.
The nature and legal consequences of Christian burial
2. Parishioners, those named on the electoral roll, those dying within the parish and persons living elsewhere
but who have spent a continuous period of at least one year residing in the parish all have a legal right of
burial in the parochial burial ground. This right is not restricted to the baptised nor to members of the
worshipping community. Thus the clergy are brought into direct contact with relatives of deceased
parishioners in circumstances of extreme distress and often in a highly charged environment. Whilst this
provides a valuable opportunity for ministry and outreach it can also create pastoral challenges.
3. It is essential that the bereaved understand the meaning and consequences of burial in consecrated ground.
The nature of the rite of burial is to say 'farewell' to the deceased and to commend them to the mercy and
love of God in Christ and to await the transformation of resurrection. There is accordingly a theological finality
to all interments, including those of cremated remains, in ground consecrated according to the rites of the
Church of England. This is inconsistent with the concept of portability of remains and the future prospect of
exhumation.
4. The bereaved must understand that by seeking a burial in consecrated ground, they are submitting to the
jurisdiction of the Consistory Court which regulates the type of headstone or other marker which may be
erected. This jurisdiction exists for reasons which are in part theological and in part aesthetic, since what
may be unobjectionable in a municipal cemetery might be considered inappropriate (or even offensive) in an
historic churchyard. It is the responsibility of the clergy to bring these matters to the attention of the
bereaved at the earliest opportunity, and to inform them of these Regulations, so that their decision to seek
an interment in consecrated ground is fully informed. A failure to do so, however traumatic the pastoral
situation, is a dereliction of duty and may prove more damaging in the long term. Many parishes find it
helpful to provide a handout containing this information which can be taken away and read by the bereaved,
and the Chancellor commends this practice.
The extent of the delegated authority of parish clergy
5. It is unlawful for a headstone to be introduced into a churchyard without permission. For administrative
convenience and to minimise expense, the Chancellor by this written Instrument delegates to parochial
clergy the authority to permit the introduction of a monument provided it is of a type which complies with
the detailed provisions which follow. During a vacancy, or in the absence of a priest-in-charge, this delegated
authority is exercised by the area dean.
Guidance on the operation of these Regulations
6. Applications for memorials should generally not be made until six months have passed since the
interment. Not merely does this allow the ground to settle, but the passage of time permits a more
reflective decision to be made than is often the case in the naturally emotional state of the early stages
of grief. All close family members need to be consulted and a consensus achieved. Parochial clergy can
offer help at this time in making suggestions to the bereaved of the types of memorial which might be
introduced by reference to photographs or by pointing out examples in the churchyard itself. If this
conversation precedes a visit to the stonemason it should avoid the difficulty and disappointment
engendered by the selection of an inappropriate design from a catalogue. The Archdeacon can provide
templates of leaflets which some parishes have found helpful to provide to the bereaved. Although the
grave itself is the property of the incumbent, any memorial will belong to the person who paid for its
erection (during his or her lifetime) and thereafter the heir-at-law of the person commemorated and
that person carries the duty to maintain it and the legal liability for its safety.
7. A headstone is a public statement about the person who is being commemorated. Making the right
choice of stone, design and inscription is important not only to the relatives or friends who are going to
provide the memorial, but also to the wider community because of the effect which the headstone may
have upon the appearance of the churchyard. Attractive, well conceived designs by skilled and
imaginative craftsmen should be encouraged. In the search for a wider range of designs than those
usually seen, reference should be made to the Churchyards Handbook, the booklet Memorials by Artists
and other resources which can be made available by the DAC. Sculpture or other statuary is not
discouraged but must be authorised by faculty.
8. Also to be encouraged are fulsome inscriptions which give a flavour of the life of the person
commemorated rather than blandly recording a name and dates. Epitaphs should honour the dead,
comfort the living and inform posterity. They will be read long after the bereaved have themselves
passed away. A memorial stone is not the right place for a statement about how members of the family
feel about the deceased nor how they would address him or her were they still alive. Passages of
scripture, which have a timeless quality, are to be preferred.
9. For further guidance, reference should be made to the Chancellor’s General Directions Concerning
Churches and Churchyards (Issue 1, 2016) and, in particular the following sections:
Churchyards 6.2 Graves 6.10
Exhumation 6.7 Inscriptions 6.13
Gardens of Remembrance 6.9 Reservation of grave spaces 6.18
Types of headstones which may be permitted by parish clergy
10. The incumbent has authority to permit the introduction of a headstone which complies with the
following requirements.
10.1 Size
No more than 1200 mm nor less than 750 mm high (4 ft; 2 ft 6 in)
No more than 900 mm nor less than 500 mm wide (3 ft; 1 ft 8 in)
No more than 150 mm nor less than 75 mm thick (6 in; 3 in).
In the case of infant burials, no less than 600 mm x 375 mm x 50 mm (2 ft x 1 ft 3 in x 2 in)
10.2 Base
A base forming an integral part of the design of a headstone may be included, provided it does not
project more than 50 mm (2 in) beyond the headstone in any direction and provided that it is fixed on a
foundation slab of an approved material which itself is fixed flush with the ground and extending 75mm
to 125mm(3 in to 5 in) all round so that a mower may freely pass over it.
10.2 Materials
The following local stone is permitted:
Limestone: Yorkshire Dales, Derbyshire
Derbyshire Fossil Ravensworth
Sandstone: Yorkshire Derbyshire – Derby Dale
Gloucester/Forest of Dean Serena
Allswick Blue
Slate: Cumberland Westmoreland
North Lancashire
Granite: Bluehill Grey Cornish Grey
Cumbrian Grey Devon Grey
Karin Grey Indian Grey
New North Grey South African Dark Grey
Creetown
10.3 Appearance
Polished stone or mirror finish is not permitted.
10.4 Inscriptions
Photographs or representations of objects or motifs such as a child’s toy are not permitted nor the
use of ‘pet names’. Bronze or ceramic inserts are not to be used. Badges, crests or emblems may be
used provided they are seemly and appropriate for the deceased. Any representation will need to be
designed so that it may be accurately cut by a skilled craftsman. Masons’ or carpenters’ names, signs
or marks may be inscribed on any monument provided their position and appearance are unobtrusive
having regard to the monument as a whole. Incised lettering may be painted in gold, silver, matt
white, matt black or matt grey. Plastic inserted lettering is not permitted.
10.5 Position
No memorial may be erected within 3 metres of the outer wall of the church building save by
authority of a faculty.
10.6 Fixture
Regard must be had to health and safety concerns, and to current industry standards for the fixing of
monuments safely and securely.
10.7 Crosses
An incumbent may NOT consent to the introduction of a cross. Such monuments require a high
standard of design. However, the incumbent may authorise the temporary introduction of a simple
wooden cross no more than 12 inches in height to mark a recent burial. Such cross must be removed
upon the erection of a stone memorial or after a period of 18 months, whichever be the sooner.
Prohibitions
11. For the avoidance of doubt, the following are not permitted:
i. kerbs, railings, fencing, chippings, pebbles and similar materials, and free-standing vases. These
create difficulty or danger when mowing;
ii. memorials in the shape of vases, hearts, open books;
iii. memorials incorporating photographs or portraits;
iv. mementoes, windmills, toys or little animals, solar lamps or similar;
v. the use of ‘pet names’
vi. artificial flowers.
Commonwealth War Graves
12. Graves of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are marked by memorial headstones of a
distinctive design and size, indicating their particular significance.
The incumbent may authorise the erection of these headstones where applicable.
13. The incumbent is authorised to permit the installation of discreet signage provided by the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission denoting the presence in the churchyard or burial ground
of one or more Commission graves. The following conditions however must first be met:
i. The installation of the sign has been the subject of an affirmative PCC resolution;
ii. The sign is of a standard design previously recommended by the DAC or adapted to the
requirements of a particular location on the advice of the DAC;
iii. The dimensions and location of the sign have the consent of the Archdeacon who may seek the
advice of the DAC as the circumstances require.
Important Notes
14. The Incumbent has no authority to permit the erection of a memorial which does not comply with
these Regulations. Any non-compliant memorial (whether or not the incumbent has purported to
give his authority) may be removed by order of the consistory court.
15. A faculty may be sought for the erection of a memorial which does not comply with these
Regulations. Such petitions are actively encouraged. Each case will be considered on its individual
merits and the views and policies of the Incumbent and PCC will be taken into account. The opinion
of the DAC will also be sought.
16. Parishes are encouraged to consider seeking a faculty for bespoke Regulations for use in a
particular churchyard. Such Regulations must take into account local practice, tradition and custom
and the particular environmental, architectural and aesthetic considerations of the church and its
setting. They are likely to be more readily enforceable if the parish has a sense of ‘ownership’. The
provisions of these Regulations should be incorporated unless the parish can satisfy that chancellor
that it is appropriate for a faculty to be granted which sanctions a specific variation.
Agreed by theBurnsall PCC 08/09/2016
FACULTY GRANTED BY THE WORSHIPFUL MARK HILL QC
Chancellor of the Diocese of Leeds 6 December 2016
APPENDIX III
APPLICATION FOR INTRODUCTION OF A HEADSTONE INTO CHURCHYARD
This form is to be completed in duplicate.
To the Reverend .....................................................................................................................
Rector/Vicar/Priest in Charge of the Parish of ..................................................................... .
I/We apply to you for permission to introduce into the churchyard known as ...................
……………………………………..the monument described overleaf.
2. I/We have read the Churchyard Regulations issued by the Diocesan Chancellor and believe that you
have power under those Regulations to permit the introduction of the proposed monument into the
churchyard.
3. I/We undertake that if you grant permission the proposed monument, when erected, will conform
with the description overleaf and also to indemnify you or your successors against all costs and
expenses to which you or they may be put if the monument is not so erected.
4. I/We undertake for myself/ourselves and our successors to be responsible for the maintenance and
stability of the monument.
Name(s) of applicant(s) ..........................................................................................................
Address.................................................................................................................................
Email.............................................................Phone..............................................................
Date......................... Signed…………………………………………………………………..
I/We repeat paragraph 2 above and give you and your successors the same undertaking as is given by the
applicant(s) in paragraph 3 above.
Date...................... Signed ...................................................................................................
Monumental Mason
of (address) ............................................................................................................................
For use by the Incumbent or Priest in Charge
I consent / I do not consent to the introduction of the monument described overleaf into the churchyard
named above.
Date........................ Signature ............................................................................................
The Incumbent should keep one copy of the form and return the other to the Applicant.
Full sketch of memorial showing ground level and height above ground level, width, depth and all other
material dimensions. The sketch should also show the method of stabilising, whether by a ground anchor or
otherwise.
Type of stone or other material to be used
.......................................................................................
Surface finish
..............................................................................................................................
Description of any carving or decoration
...........................................................................….......
Wording of inscription
.......................................................................................................................…………………....
.........................................................................................................................................…...
..........................................................................................................................................…..
...............................................................................................................................................
Style, size and colour of lettering
......................................................