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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 and Churches, issued on 1 February 1994. It should be read in conjunction with The Churchyards Handbook (Church House Publishing, 4th edition, 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.

Information can be found in the menu to the right to guide you on the following subjects:

  • reuse of grave spaces
  • reservation of grave spaces
  • interment of ashes
  • graveyard records
  • exhumation
  • trees in churchyards
  • insurance
  • memorial tablets in churches
  • instrument authorising ministers to approve the introduction of memorial into churchyards
  • Diocesan Churchyard Regulations.

"Written by Fergus Wessel, this beautiful book ['Headstones – Advice & Inspiration'] fills a void in the available advice for when someone wants to choose a headstone and doesn’t know where to begin. Every penny goes to Maggie’s Cancer charity in Oxford."

SAIF (National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors), 8 October 2020
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Registered Office: Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court, Borough High Street, London SE1 1HW. Registered Charity: (No. 249678).

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