Churchyard & Memorials

Churchyard Regulations and Advice

When someone is bereaved, the mind is so full of varying emotions that it is sometimes difficult to think clearly and to remember things, so these notes are offered as a help.

The parishioners of St. Mary Magdalene, Lyminster are justly proud of their parish church, built over a thousand years ago and wish to ensure that both the church and its environs are well maintained. We are blessed with a team of six volunteers who spend a full morning every week, working really hard to keep everything beautiful - but in doing so they need your help.

There are actually stringent laws which require this. The right of a parishioner is in fact confined to that of burial or interment of ashes. The erection of a memorial over a grave in a churchyard can only be done with the authority of the Church of England. There are restrictions as to the style and materials of gravestones and memorials which have to be respected:

Diocesan regulations do not permit

  • the installing of gravel, kerbing, or carved or moulded figures without a ‘faculty’ granted in law by the Chancellor of the Diocese. Such faculties are usually only granted in exceptional circumstances. Photographs are not permitted. Flower vases, unless integral to the headstone, have to be sunk flush with the ground and should normally be of unpolished aluminium.
  • the placement of artificial flowers or other adornments, except for Remembrance Day poppies and traditional Christmas wreaths, (which should be removed within one/two months). The Parochial Church Council has power and the responsibility to remove flowers or other tokens of remembrance in due course.
  • No ornaments or coverings may be placed on a grave, because they could be broken or damaged by the motor mower, strimmer or vandals and become a safety hazard to visitors and those working in the churchyard.

 In conclusion: Churchyards, no less than the churches within them, are an important part of local and national heritage. They are often rich in historical, natural and artistic interest.

Preservation of their particular character and beauty in the local environment is vital. The church and churchyard go together. No monument or headstone should ever be placed in a churchyard which by reason of design, colour or material is obtrusive and blemishes the harmony and environment of the place. Nor should any authorised headstone be later embellished in a manner contrary to this guidance.

We understand that people visiting the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene’s may find it difficult to understand that so many graves have embellishments that do not reflect these regulations. They were in place before these regulations were in force but we are hoping that people visiting these graves will help us by complying with these new regulations.

The church welcomes the laying of fresh flowers but plastic flowers and decorations are not allowed, nor are glass flower vases that are not part of a headstone.

Local funeral directors and monumental masons are ready and able to assist families and individuals in choosing an appropriate memorial for their loved ones.

The Vicar and Churchwardens