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   Churchyard Rules

Diocese of Chelmsford

The person with the legal responsibility for making rules about memorials in churchyards is the Chancellor of the Diocese, who is a legal officer of the Bishop (Churchyard Handbook section 3.3) but, if in doubt about any rule, you should first contact the Vicar. (See below)

Although there are legal rights in relation to burial and interment, they confer no right of ownership of the soil in which the burial or interment has taken place.   This means that neither you nor anyone else is permitted to place items on a grave without permission.   Anything which is placed in the churchyard without permission is technically a trespass and you can be asked to remove the item or items in question.   You must therefore be very careful to ensure that you have obtained permission to place any kind of memorial or other item in the churchyard before you bring it into the churchyard. (Churchyard Handbook section 3.2)

Please do not erect a memorial stone or make alterations to a memorial stone without permission.   Please note that colour and type of stone, size, shape, wording and symbols are all restricted.


  • Ensure that the soil on the grave is made level with the surrounding soil at the time a memorial stone is erected or within 12 months of the burial, if sooner
  • Remove dead flowers and wreaths (the churchyard gardener will do this for you if you are not able to do so)


Please do not

  • Erect borders, cages or fences on or around the grave
  • Plant flowers, shrubs or trees on or near the grave
  • Place vases, pots or tubs on or around the grave
  • Place plastic flowers on or near the grave
  • Place photographs, toys, trinkets, windmills or other items on or near the grave


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