Following the death of a loved one, there are inevitably many practical tasks and decisions which need to be made and one of these is selecting a place for their burial or the interment of their ashes.
As you are considering an interment in one of the churchyards in our parish, we need you to be aware of the regulations which enable us to maintain the churchyards and provide a visually and spiritually harmonious environment both for the present, and for the future.
The church community also bears responsibility for the safety of visitors, employees, and volunteers alike while they are in the churchyard, and for its upkeep and maintenance.
You may find that areas of the churchyard have been designated a Conservation area and will be tended to provide a haven for wildlife. Wild flowers will be intentionally sown and planted and the area will be cut less frequently. However, the rest of the churchyard is maintained and the grass cut regularly. It is therefore important that the positioning of headstones, cremation memorials, flower vases and pots does not impede this. We therefore ask for your cooperation in implementing the following churchyard management plan:
▪ The surface of each grave, once the soil has settled, shall be level, free from grave mounds, and laid to grass. Spring bulbs or spring flowers may be planted in the grass directly
▪ in front of the headstone The cultivation of the grave space as a garden is NOT permitted. Unsightly or untended grave spaces will be laid to grass.
▪ Trees, shrubs, or roses are NOT to be planted on or around the grave without permission and will be removed.
▪ Other than in the period immediately following a burial, all flowers left at graves should be placed in an approved vase and all wrapping, plastic and oasis removed from the churchyard. Christmas wreaths may be placed directly on the grave and must be removed by Lent.
▪ Vases (NOT glass) should preferably be a receptacle integral to the headstone or memorial, or the same (not glass) sunk into the soil directly in front of the headstone. Dead flowers, and wreaths beyond the season or when withered, should be removed as soon as possible, or may be removed during day-to-day upkeep of the churchyard.
▪ For flat memorials, a small potted plant may be placed directly on the stone. Planters and garden troughs are NOT allowed.
▪ For graves, a small potted plant may be sunk into the soil directly in front of the headstone. Planters and garden troughs are NOT allowed.
▪ Ornaments of any kind including bird baths, and lights must not be placed on or near to the memorial or grave. Unsuitable items may be removed.
▪ Edging material, stone or other chippings, kerbs, or such like, are not allowed on new graves.
We appreciate the sensitivities involved and we hope that you will understand the need for a management scheme such as this and that you will cooperate with it so that the churchyards in this parish will be an oasis for present and future generations.
Headstones may be installed six months after the interment, when the ground has had time to settle. Whilst the design of the headstone (or for ashes interments, a memorial) is a matter of choice, it should be in harmony with those around it and the churchyard as a whole. There are specific regulations* relating to them, and permission must be given by the Priest-in-Charge. We recommend that you speak with a local stonemason who is familiar with the regulations* and who can help you choose. If you think you would like to place flowers on the grave, then we recommend you consider asking for a headstone or memorial with a flower receptacle integral to the design.
*Please refer to the summary of the memorials and headstones allowed, and the copy of “Churchyard Memorials – A Guide for the Bereaved” issued by the Diocese of Worcester, is available from the foot of this page.
For more information about our churchyards, church services or to speak with someone from our Pastoral Care Team, please contact in the first instance, the Parish Administrator (01386 860389) or email.
Priest and Parish Wardens of the Five Alive Parish
A prayer in a time of bereavement
O Lord our God,
from whom neither life nor death
can separate those who trust in your love,
and whose love holds in its embrace your children in this world and the next;
o unite us to yourself that in fellowship with you we may always be united to our loved ones whether here or there;
give us courage, constancy and hope, through him who died and was buried and rose again for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
William Temple (1881-1944) adapted January 2022