Although the words ‘graveyard’ and ‘cemetery’ are often used interchangeably in everyday speech, traditionally speaking, graveyards are run by the church, and may be attached to a church or chapel. Graveyards would therefore usually stipulate that only Christians can be buried within the grounds. Cemeteries, on the other hand, are run by the council, welcome all faiths and have more relaxed rules regarding headstones.

General guidelines and regulations will vary from graveyard to graveyard, and between parishes (the local church area), but many will ask that the headstone be restricted to granite or natural stone, unpolished, and contain no coloured granite. Graveyard inscriptions must be conservative and share the values of the Christian faith. More elaborate memorials, such as kerb sets, are not usually permitted, even if some kerbed headstones have already been erected in the churchyard.

Cemetery rules for headstones are less stringent. Size and material requirements will still apply, but most typical headstone materials will be acceptable. The majority of cemeteries may also have a nondescript religious building with a prayer room and a crematorium.

For both churchyards and cemeteries, you are responsible for the maintenance of the memorial, and both charge a fee to install a headstone.


Print this guide
wills banner gosh help centre