The care of churchyards
The care of churchyards is governed by regulations issued by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester. The Parish Priest is given responsibility to apply these regulations, but only under specific conditions. Anything other than the following needs the formal permission of the Chancellor. Certain features already in situ would not conform to current regulations. Their existence does not imply that such features outside these regulations can be introduced.
There are two possible choices: the full burial of a body after a funeral service or the burial of cremated remains. Cremated remains may be interred in the Garden of Remembrance, where they will be buried loose in the specifically-designed garden; the names of the deceased may be written in the Book of Remembrance which is located within the church. The Parish Priest may also give permission for cremated remains to be interred elsewhere in the churchyard. If cremated remains are buried in a casket this should be of softwood or other biodegradable material.
The introduction of any headstones, monuments or artefacts into the churchyard must have written permission from the Parish Priest in advance. This permission is often undertaken by the Funeral Directors.
Headstones are permitted provided they conform to the following size regulations: height max 4' min 2'6"; width max 3' min 1'8". (A base forming an integral part of the headstone is permitted.)
Headstones are not restricted to a rectangular shape - curved tops are often preferable to straight-edged. Memorials in shapes such as hearts or books are not permitted. Cremated remains tablets, if permitted, should be 18" x 12".
Headstones are to be of the following material:
Limestone: Portland, Purbeck, Derbyshire, York, Hopton, Nabresina, French, Portuguese
Slate: Light Grey, Blue/Black, Green
Granite: Light Grey
Inscriptions must be reverent. For anything beyond conventional ornamentation, special permission may be required. All inscriptions must be approved in writing beforehand.
Care of the grave and its headstone are the responsibility of the family of the deceased. Headstones that come loose or tip due to subsidence can be dangerous and should be repaired.
In order to be able to maintain the graveyard easily with voluntary help the following rules apply:
The grass on a grave must be allowed to grow so it can be kept tidy by strimming.
No kerbs, railings, chains or chippings should be placed around the grave.
Bulbs and small annual plants may be placed in the soil.
Cut flowers may be placed in a rose/container which is part of the base of the headstone or in a sunken container in the soil. Separate containers should not be placed on the grave.
Wreaths and cut flowers may be removed when withered.
No artificial flowers or foliage may be placed on or about graves (except Remembrance Day poppies) and, if so placed, will be removed
No baskets or other such containers are permitted and, if so placed, will be removed.
Where it is permitted to place a stone tablet over interred ashes, the same rules of upkeep apply.