All parishioners, non-parishioners whose names appear on the Church Electoral Roll, and non-residents who die in the parish, have a legal right to burial in the churchyard. For the burial of other non-parishioners the permission of the Incumbent and Churchwardens is required. The fee for the burial of a non-parishioner may be higher than that for a parishioner.
1. Procedure for the Introduction of Memorials
Permission must be obtained for the introduction of any memorial. Simple upright headstones in respect of burials may be authorised by the incumbent in accordance with the terms and conditions given below; but other types of memorial including grave markers such as horizontal ledgers, sculpture and crosses, must be authorised by the Chancellor under faculty. Applications for specially designed and appropriate memorials will be sympathetically considered by the Chancellor.
Every application to erect a memorial or place anything whatsoever or to do any works, in the churchyard should be made in writing to the incumbent, in the first instance, with a full description of the proposed work. Written permission to erect a memorial must be obtained from the incumbent before accepting an estimate or otherwise entering into a contract with a funeral director, stonemason or craftsman. A minimum period of six months should normally elapse between the interment of a person to be commemorated and the approval of a memorial by the incumbent (exercising delegated authority).
2. Dimensions of Headstone
Headstones should be no larger than 1200mm (4ft) high, measured from the surface of the ground, 900mm (3ft) wide and 150mm (6in) thick. They should be no less than 75mm (3in) thick (except in the case of slate memorials, which may be thinner but no less than 38 mm (1.5in) thick.) (The metric equivalents given are slightly less than Imperial dimensions, but are recommended for use by the National Association of Master Masons.)
3. Base and Foundation Slab
A headstone may stand on a stone base, provided that it is an integral part of the design and does not project more than 50 mm (2in) beyond the headstone in any direction. Due regard should be paid to the nature of the ground and the problem of settlement. Ideally headstones should be long enough to be inserted directly into the ground at sufficient depth to ensure stability, or supported by a pre-cast concrete shoe.
All memorials should be made of natural stone with non-reflecting finish, or of hardwood.
Black blue or red igneous rock ( e.g. red granite) and marble, synthetic stone or plastic are not permitted.
Figure sculpture and other statuary are not discouraged, but must be authorised by faculty.
Memorials need not be restricted to a rectangular shape, and curved tops are preferable to straight-edged ones. Memorials in the shape of a heart or book are not permitted other than by faculty, nor are photographs, porcelain portraits or glass shades. Individually designed memorials are to be encouraged.
Inscriptions must be simple and reverent, and may include felicitous quotations from literary sources. Inscriptions should be incised, or in relief, and may be painted. Plastic or other inserted lettering is not permitted. Additions may be made to an inscription at a later date following a subsequent interment in the same grave or for other suitable reason.
However, any such alteration must be separately approved. The lettering, lay-out and wording must be consistent with the original inscription. The mason’s name may be inscribed at the side or on the reverse in unleaded letters, no larger than 13 mm (.5in).
Wreaths, plants or cut flowers may be placed either in a removable container or laid on any grave, but they must be removed as soon as they appear to be withered. No artificial flowers are allowed except for Remembrance Day poppies and traditional Christmas wreaths and these should be removed after a period of not more than two months.
9. Churchyard Maintenance
It is greatly appreciated when relatives care for graves for which they have a responsibility , but in order to facilitate mowing and the general care of the churchyard the following points must be observed:-
(i) Bulbs and small plants may be planted in the soil of the grave but not trees or shrubs and there should be no encroachment beyond the area of the grave as first dug which is usually no more than 30″ in width.
(ii) No kerbs, railings, fences or any other edging markers are permitted.
(iii) no stone chippings are allowed. .
(iv) The use of glass or other breakable containers for cut flowers is highly undesirable.
Any grave mounds remaining after twelve months will normally be levelled.
Memorials remain the property of the person or persons responsible for their erection, who are responsible for their maintenance.
These regulations are based on those issued by the Diocese of Oxford and have been adopted for local use by the Parochial Church Council. The full regulations as issued by Diocese of Oxford can be viewed here.