Churchyard regulations

Our parish churchyard is a beautiful, peaceful location for the burial of residents of Graffham over many years.

The character of a Church of England churchyard is preserved by attendance to certain regulations which the families and friends of departed loved ones are required to observe, for everyone’s benefit. Please honour these requirements to avoid any need for enforcement which may cause distress. See below for some important points to note.

The following are not permitted in Church of England churchyards:

Kerbs, railings, fencing or chippings

Memorials in the shape of vases, hearts, open books

Memorials incorporating photographs or portraits

Mementoes, windmills, toys or animals

The use of ‘pet’ names

Artificial flowers

Please do not use glass or other breakable containers which can break and cause a danger to those cutting grass in the churchyard.

Please be aware any of the portable items above may be removed without notice.

These are permitted:

Fresh flowers in metal vases set into the base of a headstone, or memorial tablet.

Plants in pots, though not plastic pots please.

Spring bulbs planted into the earth of the grave.

Thank you for your consideration


Headstones and memorial tablets

A special form ‘Application for introduction of a memorial into churchyard’ must be used for the introduction of a headstone for a grave, or a memorial tablet for an ashes burial place. Because of its unique setting in a Church of England churchyard, certain regulations cover the dimensions and type of stone which may be used and the inscription chosen. The monumental mason preparing the headstone or tablet is required to specify materials on the form, including a sketch showing the planned inscription and dimensions. This form must be signed as approved by the priest-in-charge before work can begin.

Although legally a grave belongs to the incumbent, the memorial belongs to the heir-at-law of the person commemorated who carries a duty to maintain it and the legal liability for its safety. The form requires an applicant to sign to undertake, for themselves and their successors, to be responsible for the maintenance and stability of the monument. The mason will also sign that the proposed design will conform to the description and sketch.

First places to begin would be your funeral director or monumental mason. These persons will be familiar with the regulations and hold the relevant form. Please ensure they are aware the memorial is intended for a Church of England Churchyard. The correct description of the open burial space in our parish is St Giles Churchyard Extension, as the Churchyard immediately surrounding the church is now closed by law for burials.

It is also helpful to discuss the planned design and inscription with the priest in charge, to assist you in in obtaining a lasting memorial which fittingly honours the memory of your loved one. The priest in charge must approve any design or inscription before a mason can begin work.

There there are statutory fees for the introduction of a memorial headstone or tablet, and for additional wording on an existing headstone. These fees help the church to maintain the churchyard for the benefit of those who visit and the dignity of those who rest in peace there. If you can provide further support with an annual donation of any amount, please see the ‘Parish Giving Scheme‘ under ‘Giving‘ in this website menu. It’s a great challenge to maintain our church and grounds as we would wish, and any assistance is greatly appreciated. Thank you.