This website has been archived

Care of Churches

Chancellor's Guidance on Churchyards & Memorials

Diocesan Churchyard Regulations

1. These Regulations shall apply only where there are not in existence Churchyard Regulations adopted by the minister under the terms of the Instrument of Authorisation.

2. Subject to paragraph1, the minister may approve the introduction into a churchyard of any memorial if:

(a) at least six months have elapsed since the most recent of the deaths being commemorated;

(b) the form of the memorial is:

  • (i) a vertical headstone,
  • (ii) a vertical headstone on a horizontal stone base,
  • (iii) a horizontal stone slab, or
  • (iv) a simple timber cross;

(c) the memorial is adequately secured in the ground so as to ensure that it is stable;

(d) in the case of a stone memorial,

  • (i) it is of natural stone (either sandstone, limestone, granite not darker than Rustenberg grey, or slate), and
  • (ii) it does not have a highly polished reflective finish;

(e) in the case of a memorial consisting of a vertical headstone, with or without a horizontal stone base,

  • (i) the height of the vertical stone above ground level is between 500 mm (1ft 8 in) and 1200 mm (4 ft);
  • (ii) the width if between 500 mm (1ft 8 in) and 900 mm (3 ft);
  • (iii) its thickness is, in the case of a slate memorial, between 40 mm (1 1/2 in) and 150 mm (6 in) or, in any other case, between 75 mm (3 in) and 150 mm (6 in);
  • (iv) any foundation slab is located so that its upper surface is either flush with the surrounding ground level or at least 300 mm (12 in) beneath it;

(f) in the case of a memorial consisting of a vertical headstone on a horizontal slab,

  • (i) the base is an integral part of the design,
  • (ii) where it incorporates a receptacle for a flower vase, there is provision for no more than one such vase;
  • (iii) where it incorporates a receptacle for a flower vase, the base does not project more than 200 mm (8 in) beyond the face of the vertical stone; and
  • (iv) in any other case, it does not project more than 100 mm (4 in);

(g) in the case of a memorial consisting of a horizontal slab,

  • (i) it is no more than 600 mm (2 ft) wide and 1800 mm (6 ft) long, and
  • (ii) its upper surface is flush with the surrounding ground;

(h) the inscription on the memorial contains at least:

  • (i) the name of the deceased;
  • (ii) the date of his or her death;
  • (iii) the date of birth or the age at death,
  • and any factual material in the inscription is accurate
    and

(i) the inscription and any artwork is incised into the stone and, if painted, no more than one colour is used; and

(j) the memorial contains no advertisement or trademark other than the name or mark of the mason which, if included, shall be at the base of the side or rear face of the stone and no more than 13 mm (1/2 in) high.

3. Any other memorial shall only be introduced into a churchyard with the authority of a faculty.

4. Notwithstanding compliance with paragraph 2, the minister shall not approve a proposed memorial if he or she considers that it is:

  • (i) likely to be controversial for some reason;
  • (ii) is in any way inappropriate,

and in considering whether to approve a proposed memorial the minister shall have regard to the current version of the document Churchyard Memorials etc. Chancellor's Guidance.

5. "Minister" means the incumbent of the parish in which the churchyard is situated or, where rights of presentation are suspended, the curate licensed to the charge of that parish or the minister acting as priest-in-charge.

CHARLES GEORGE QC

CHANCELLOR

The Feast of Pentecost

8 June 2003