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Chancellor's Guidance on Churchyards & Memorials


Issued by the Chancellor, after consultation with the Archdeacons in the Diocese of Southwark and the Southwark Diocesan Advisory Committee and the National Association of Memorial Masons.

This is a guide to assist (a) the bereaved; (b) funeral directors and stonemasons; and (c) incumbents, priests-in-charge, churchwardens and others with responsibility for churchyards, in relation to various issues which arise from time to time. It replaces the Revised Directive by the Chancellor on Churchyards and Memorials in Churchyards & Churches, issued on 1st February 1994. It should be read in conjunction with the Churchyards handbook (Church House Publishing 4th ed. 2001).

The ultimate responsibility for any churchyard rests with the incumbent or priest-in-charge (generally referred to in this Guidance for simplicity as “the incumbent”), subject to the overriding authority of the Diocesan Bishop.

Burial within a churchyard belonging to the Church of England is quite distinct from burial elsewhere, both in regard to the procedures prior to burial, and with regard to subsequent procedures. Furthermore a well-ordered and well-maintained churchyard plays an important role in education, including Christian evangelism.

Save where (exceptionally) the Guidance may be applied in the case of the consecrated areas of certain civic cemeteries, the Guidance is not applicable to civic cemeteries, crematoria or other forms of public remembrance of the dead situated outside churchyards.