Church of England Diocese of Chichester Burwash Weald

St Philip's Churchyard Rules

28 Oct 2018, 12:45 a.m.


These guidelines and based upon Regulations from THE WORSHIPFUL MARK HILL Chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester 8 April 2007


Residents of parishes, and certain others, have a legal right of burial in the parochial burial ground. This right is not restricted to the baptised nor to members of the worshiping community.

In the case of the limited grave space available, “to reserve one for any particular individual would serve to prejudice the public right of burial enjoyed by all parishioners until such time as the churchyard is full. A decision would have to be made by the incumbent.

The prospect of exhumation at some future date and the relocation of remains must be ruled out.

It is unlawful for a monument to be introduced into a churchyard without permission. Generally such permission derives from the chancellor in the form of a faculty. However, for administrative convenience and to minimise expense, the chancellor delegates to the incumbent the authority to permit the introduction of a monument provided it is of a type which complies with the detailed provisions contained in the Regulations. The written application which accompanies these Regulations should be used in all cases. During any vacancy, and in the absence of a priest-in-charge, the authority is exercised by the rural dean.

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. . Although the grave itself is the property of the incumbent, any memorial will belong to the heir-at-law of the person commemorated and that person carries the duty to maintain it and the legal liability for its safety.

A headstone is a public statement about the person who is being commemorated. Inscriptions which give a flavour of the life of the person commemorated rather than blandly recording a name and dates. 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.


(i) Size

No more than 4ft nor less than 2ft 6in high (1200mm, 750mm);

No more than 3ft nor less than 1ft 8in wide (900mm, 500mm);

No more than 6in nor less than 3in thick (150mm, 75mm), unless slate is to be used in which case a thickness of 2in (50mm) is permitted;

In the case of infant burials, headstones must be no less than 2ft x 1ft 3in x 2in (600mm x 375mm x 50mm).

A base forming an integral part of the design of a headstone may be included, provided it does not project more than 2in (50mm) 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 3in to 5in (75mm to 125mm) all round so that a mower may freely pass over it. If desired, the base may include the provision of a socket to receive a vase, in which case it may extend by up to 7in (175mm) forward of the headstone.

(ii) Materials

The following stone is permitted:

Limestone: Portland



Hopton Wood




Sandstone: York

Slate: Blue/Black (Cornish)

Grey/Blue (Welsh)

Green (Westmoreland)

Granite: Light to medium grey

(iii) Position

No memorial may be erected within 5 yards (4.57 metres) of the outer wall of the church building save by authority of a faculty.

(iv) Appearance

Polished stone or mirror finish is not permitted. Coloured lettering is not permitted save as follows:

Nabresina limestone may have the lettering picked out in light blue matt;

Slate may have the lettering picked out in off-white matt;

Granite may have the lettering picked out in black matt.

(v) Inscriptions

Incumbents should require an accurate design of the proposed inscription before approving an application. 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.

(vi) Fixture

Regard must be had to health and safety concerns, and to current industry standards for the fixing of monuments safely and securely.


(i) Size

Either flush with the turf or raised not more than 9in (225mm) above a base, extending not less than 3in (75mm) all round and itself flush with the turf; inclusive measurements not more than 7ft (2100 mm) by 3ft (900mm).


An incumbent may NOT consent to the introduction of a cross, for crosses have been too freely used in burial grounds in the past. Such monuments require a high standard of design. However, the incumbent may authorise the temporary introduction of a simple wooden cross to mark a recent burial. A brass plaque bearing the name and dates of the deceased may be affixed to the cross. Such cross must be removed upon the erection of a stone memorial or after a period of 18 months, whichever be the sooner.


For the avoidance of doubt, the following are not permitted:

i. kerbs, railings, fencing or chippings as 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;

v. the use of ‘pet names’

vi. artificial flowers.

The following extra regulations also apply to the Churchyard

1. Bulbs and small annual plants only may be placed in the soil of any grave;

2. Plants and bulbs which conform to the description above will be confined to a space no

greater than 9in (225mm) in front of the headstone. Any plants placed outside this area

may be removed by those authorised to do so by the incumbent.

(This is to help with the cutting of the grass, and make for a tidier churchyard)

3. Plants or cut flowers may be placed in removable containers made of either

unpolished aluminium or clear plastic in the soil of any grave.

4. Please note that glass containers are not permitted because of the dangers of broken

glass, and they will be removed by those authorised to do so by the incumbent.

5. Wreaths and cut flowers placed on graves and plants and flowers in containers may

be removed, when withered, by those authorised to do so by the incumbent;

No artificial flowers or foliage may be placed on or about graves - (except for

Remembrance Day poppies) and, if so placed, will be removed.


1. The cremated remains of the following persons, and no others, may be interred in the garden of remembrance namely:

(a) Persons resident in the parish;

(b) Persons whose names are on the church electoral roll of the parish;

(c) Persons dying in the parish;

(d) Any other person to the interment of whose remains the incumbent consents and, in giving such consent, the incumbent shall have regard to any general guidance given by the parochial church council.

2. Ashes may not be buried in a container of any description. Ashes are to be poured into the ground, from the container in which they are brought to the burial site, by the minister committing them to the earth and then covered with soil.

3. The place of interment shall not be marked by any memorial or otherwise but the personal representatives of any person whose remains are interred in the Garden of Remembrance may, on payment of such charge as the parochial church council shall from time to time prescribe, require an appropriate entry to be made in the Book of Remembrance maintained in the church.

4. No artificial flowers or foliage may be laid anywhere in the Garden of Remembrance.

Flowers may not be placed in vases or other containers. All flowers and wreaths placed in the plot may be removed when they are dead or wilted.

5. The place of interment may be used for the interment of other ashes after a lapse of 25 years, always provided that reasonable attempts shall be made by the parochial church council to enquire from members of the family of the deceased whether they object and, should such objection be made, re-use will be deferred for a further 25 years.

St Phillips Church

Burwash Weald