Churchyard regulations

Churchyards have been regarded from their inception as ‘God’s Acre’. They are meant to be places of tranquillity and beauty. The following extract of the regulations are common all over England in any cemetery or churchyard and have been agreed by the Parochial Church Council of St Mary the Virgin and St Nicholas, Littlemore. If you would like to see the official document for our Diocese please contact the Rev Margreet Armitstead (tel:748003).

When people pay for an interment of ashes they do not buy the ground, but only the right of an interment of specific ashes. Officially it is the Consistory Court that grants permission for memorial stones. In practice, however, they have delegated some authority to the vicar of a church. If people would like anything outside the normal regulations then the application, called a faculty, needs to be made to the Consistory Court and should not be dealt with by the vicar. The vicar can of course help with the application. These faculty applications can take a long time and will only be granted in rare circumstances.

–          kerbs, fencing, railings, chains, chippings, photographic and etched images, mouldings, etchings, imagery (of flowers, animals, toys and the like) are prohibited save when permitted by faculty, which is unlikely to be granted save in exceptional circumstances. Chippings are a real health and safety hazard for grass cutters.

–          Sculpture: figurative sculpture or any other statuary may only be authorised by faculty.

–          Upkeep: fencing or shrubs are not permitted, although the vicar may permit the planting of a few bulbs or annuals by a grave (not interment of ashes plot)

–          Only cut flowers or wreaths may be left at the graveside. These must be removed when withered or decaying. No plastic or artificial flowers are permitted save in relation to Remembrance Day wreaths or poppies, or Christmas wreaths; these must be removed after a period of one month. Silk flowers, appropriate to the season; these must be removed when they become faded or bedraggled.

–          Flowers may only be placed on the memorial so that the surrounding area can be kept free for the grass to grow and be cut.

–          Flowers should not be kept in their plastic wrapping but put in an appropriate container, not glass (for safety). Vases should not be long and thin so that they fall easily.

–          The responsibility for the upkeep of the memorial is with the next of kin of the deceased. The PCC will dispose of any dead or faded silk flowers without prior notice.

If you are not sure if something is permitted please contact Rev Margreet Armitstead.

Yours sincerely,

PCC St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Littlemore
Rev Margreet Armitstead, Vicar
Correspondence address: The Vicarage, St Nicholas Road, Littlemore, Oxford, OX4 4PP
Tel: 748003, Email: