Many centuries ago, before gravestones were erected to mark burial plots, the churchyard was a very different place to the one we recognise now. It was most definitely a place where the sacred and secular met.
The North side of the churchyard was sometimes unconsecrated and this allowed for sports and markets and informal activity – a place where the community socialised and congregated.
So it follows that regulations concerning churchyards have evolved over centuries, and are contained in statutes, common law, and canon law.
Parishioners and persons dying within a parish have a legal right to be buried in the churchyard but the erection of a gravestone or monument, though customary, remains a privilege. It is an erection on consecrated ground and therefore in strictness requires the grant of a Faculty. In practice, however, a Faculty is not insisted upon for a gravestone PROVIDED it falls within the scope of the authority delegated by the Chancellor to the Incumbent or Priest in Charge (vicar of the parish) who consents to its erection.
As with guidance on headstones/ memorials there is also guidance on what is permitted on each gravestone or surrounding area and the details are attached below.
The majority of church buildings have some green space attached to them. Sometimes, and most particularly in urban areas, the churchyard may be the only green ‘breathing’ space in a bustling locality. There are so many ways in which the churchyard can serve its community and with this in mind alongside the upkeep and maintenance of the graveyards at St Peters that the PCC adheres to the regulations set by the Chancellor for the Diocese of Liverpool.
Graveyards are special places where you will feel close to your loved ones. Though the maintenance of the grave plot is entirely the family’s responsibility we want to keep the area well maintained. Our aim is to see that all the grassed areas are neat and tidy and mowing in straight lines gives the best finish. When objects are placed in front of or around headstones or artificial grass/and or chippings are laid mowing becomes much more difficult and time consuming.
To continue to maintain the above the PCC reserve the right to remove any items which do not fall within the guidelines. Flowers and wreaths should be removed from the graves once they are wilted or dead as should faded silk flowers and if remain for a long period of time will be removed.