Funerals


When someone you love has died it is a time of sadness and pain. The Church is here to help you through your bereavement. Please be assured of our thoughts and prayers. There is much to think about as you adjust to your loss and it can be a bewildering time. This leaflet is intended to help answer some of the questions you might have about commemorating the person who has died. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms. John 14:1 – 2 You can find more helpful advice and information online at the Church of England Funerals website: www.churchofenglandfunerals.org  
I want to put up a headstone. What do I need to know? Most people like to have a headstone or monument to commemorate the person who has died. You will want to think carefully about this, because once in place, a stone will be there for a very long time. You may not realise that no one has the right to a churchyard memorial. All memorials have to be approved first. You will own and be responsible for the memorial but the church will own the plot of land in which your loved one is buried. No part of a consecrated churchyard can be sold. A legal officer known as the Chancellor is responsible for making the Churchyard Regulations for the Diocese of Chester. The Regulations cover questions such as size, materials, designs and inscriptions. Note that regulations have changed over the years.
Why these regulations? Churchyard regulations are there to help ensure that the churchyard is a place of peace and beauty for everyone to enjoy. A memorial that might be suitable for an urban, civic cemetery may look out of place next to an historic church building. The Chancellor has a responsibility to make sure that the churchyard remains an appropriate setting for a parish church for the next several hundred years. And because it is a churchyard, any memorial must be compatible with the Christian faith. We hope that you understand the need for Regulations. They are designed to make sure that our churchyard remains safe and a place of peace. By providing these guidelines we hope you will be able to choose an appropriate memorial worthy of the memory of the person who has died.
What do I need to think about? Usually the time between the burial and putting up a memorial is six months as the ground needs time to settle. Please talk to the vicar as soon as possible to avoid difficulties and disappointment later in the process. The Vicar is allowed to authorise simple headstones, provided that they comply with the Churchyard Regulations. You will need to fill in a form which the Vicar or funeral director will give you. In less straightforward cases, you will need to apply to the Chancellor of the Diocese for permission (a ‘Faculty’), for which there is a fee. Your vicar will be able to advise you about how to apply. The Churchyard Regulations are available in full on our parish website: www.allsaintschurchlawton.co.uk
Key points Materials: Memorials should be made of natural stone. Reconstituted stone may be permitted. Stones traditionally used in local buildings are preferred. Designs: Heart-shaped stones, portraits, photographs, kerbs, fencing, railings, chains and chippings are NOT permitted. Inscriptions: Inscriptions must be simple and reverent. Upkeep: Spring and autumn bulbs may be planted. Cut flowers, wreaths or seasonally appropriate silk flowers are allowed, but not plastic flowers. Flowers should be arranged in a metal or stone vase on the memorial plinth. Shrubs or trees may not be planted on a grave. Artificial grass is not permitted without written permission.