Churchyard Guidelines

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You and your family are in our prayers at this time.

We hope the information in this leaflet will help you to ensure that your family grave remains a very special place where you will feel close to God and your loved ones.

We will continue to make every effort to ensure that the churchyard is maintained properly whilst trying to be sensitive to everyone's needs and feelings. To do this, the Church of England requires certain standards to be adhered to. These are taken from the official advice given in "The Churchyards Handbook" and set out in this leaflet.  Unfortunately, some areas surrounding graves have, historically, had stones placed around them in such a way that the ground has become difficult to maintain.  As well as this, the ground in this area is not level and becomes easily waterlogged, especially in times of significant rainfall.  Please be aware of these factors when visiting the churchyard for your own safety.

Please note that the payment you have made does not confer ownership of the grave-plot.  The churchyard land remains the property of the Parish Incumbent on behalf of the PCC.


You may wish to note that the depth of plots on first burial is now covered by Health & Safety legislation. This legislation may affect how many subsequent burials can take place in any grave-plot.  You should therefore discuss your requirements with your Funeral Director. Whilst we would expect there to be room for 4 burials over time, this cannot be guaranteed.  If there isin sufficient room for a subsequent burial, a new plot will need to be allocated for your use if possible.  The Church charges no more for the allocation of and burial into a new plot than burial in the original plot.  Some extra cost may be incurred in the re-opening of the original plot/digging of a new grave – grave re-opening, subsequent replacement of gravestones or digging of a new grave is not the responsibility of the church so please see your funeral director for details. All burials must be undertaken by an approved gravedigger. The scattering of Ashes is not permitted.

The Parochial Church Council have authorised the following as approved good practice.

1. The placing of real flowers/fresh floral tributes in the appropriate vessels on the plinth only (this is to allow the grass to be cut and will ensure less damage to vessels).  Jam jars, bottles and the like are not permitted as they constitute a health and safety risk.


2.The placing of a memorial stone and addition of an inscription, are both subject to the approval of the Team Rector. All work must be undertaken by a qualified mason. There are statutory fees to be paid for all memorials.

A drawing and/or photograph giving all sizes, wording and any images will need to accompany every application. Your Funeral Director or stone-mason will be able to help and advise.

3.  Following burial, there will be "settlement" of the plot as the earth covering is broken down. Therefore a minimum of 6 months should elapse before the erection of any memorial. Please note that if any grave or stone becomes unsafe in any way, it is the responsibility of the family, and not Sutton Team Parish or Sutton Parish Church, to make it safe again.

4. Gravestones Guidance:

Size: Between 2'6" and 4' high

Between 1'8" and 3' wide

Between 3" and 6" thick

Colour: Black, White, Grey or Reddish Brown in stone or    marble.  Modern materials such as concrete,  glass, steel, wood or plastic are not considered suitable.

Shapes such as hearts or open books are not  permitted.

Wording  Wording should be simple and reverent, for instance   appropriate quotations from the Bible and other literary sources. Later additions to an inscription should be consistent with the original, in size, style and quality of execution and require specific approval.  The use of overfamiliar or colloquial terms are inappropriate for  what is a public statement.

Images: Simple images such as an open bible, church window, etc. will be allowed but no bigger than 16" x 8".  Please note that photographs are not     permitted.

5.     Following final "settlement" of the plot, the area in front of the headstone will be topped up with soil and grassed by Sutton Team Parish.  In order to facilitate the cutting of grass, and for safety reasons, objects may not be placed on or around the plot as they are a trip hazard.

6. Please note that permission must be sought in writing before  undertaking any alterations to the grave plot including but not  limited to headstone restoration, additional inscriptions or replacements.

7.    In accordance with the Church of England Handbook, we regret that the Parochial Church Council cannot permit the following:

  •  The creation of a 'garden' of any kind.
  • The placing of any enclosure including side stones/kerbs/ fencing/mock fencing around a grave.
  • No artificial turf is permitted. The use of any chippings, stone, ornaments or otherwise.
  •  The placing of any object on the grave itself without the written permission of the Team Rector.

Burial of Ashes

Ashes can also be buried in an existing grave. 

Your Funeral Director can arrange the simple ceremony of Burial of Ashes through the parish office subsequent to the funeral service and cremation. All burials of ashes must be undertaken by an approved grave digger. The scattering of ashes is not permitted by the Church of England.


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