Memorials in All Saints Churchyard
This page contains our churchyard regulations and is intended as a guide to help you as you make the important decision regarding the final resting place of your loved one.
Burials (including the burial of Ashes)
If your loved one lived in the parish and you wish for them to be buried in the churchyard, this can be arranged. All parishioners have a right in law to be buried in their local churchyard if room permits, however please be aware of our regulations regarding memorials.
Unfortunately, we cannot permit anyone who did not live or die within the parish boundaries to be buried in All Saints churchyard unless the burial is to be in an existing family grave.
When considering if you wish your loved one to be buried in the churchyard, including the interment of their ashes we ask you to bear in mind the following regulations as these may affect your decision. The burial (including the interment of ashes) in the churchyard is your loved one’s final resting place. Subsequently any request to rebury elsewhere in the future is likely to be refused.
Burials in the existing historic area
All existing new burial sections of All Saints Churchyard are now full. Therefore, the Rector and Parochial Church Council (PCC) have decided to allow further new burials within an existing historic area of the Churchyard. However, burials and monuments in this area may only be allowed under strict conditions set by the Rector and PCC. Applications for burial in this area will be accepted only provided that there is clear evidence of agreement by the applicants that the terms and conditions will be adhered to strictly.
Before a new burial takes place, the Rector and PCC will require the next of kin / executor to sign a burial request form confirming that they understand, and agree to comply with, the terms and conditions pertaining to burials and memorials within this area. This agreement will include a requirement by the next of kin / executor to ensure all other members of the family and friends understand and comply with these terms and conditions; and to be responsible for the removal of any unauthorised items placed on grave plots by relations or friends.
The aim of the Rector and PCC is to retain the existing character and appearance of this historic section of the churchyard. The burial area will be kept as lawn. All grave plots will be re-grassed as soon as the earth has settled. There will be no individual gardens created on grave plots. Grave plots will not be cultivated nor will any plants or shrubs be planted either in or around the grave plot. Kerb edgings, other boundary markers, gravel or any other additional surfaces, or any form of individual garden introduced at any time either immediately after burial or later, will not be permitted. Pots, bowls and vases, artificial flowers or plants, or any other decorative item will not be permitted to be placed on any grave plot. The only items allowed to be placed on grave plots after the burial will be fresh unwrapped cut flowers, which may be removed by churchyard maintenance staff when faded.
The terms and conditions for the placing of monuments and memorials in this area also aim to retain its historic character. In addition to the existing regulations on monument size and character placed upon the Churchyard by the Diocesan authorities the Rector and PCC have agreed that applications for monuments within this area will only be admitted if they are made of limestone More information must be obtained about the memorials that will be allowed from our Parish Office before submitting any application in regards to the burial of your loved one.
ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS FOR OUR CHURCHYARD
Memorial in the Existing Historic Area:
- All memorials in this area must be made of limestone.
- Must be supported below ground without base or plinth in a pre-cast concrete shoe.
- The inscriptions must simply be incised only.
- The grave plot may not be cultivated; its surface will be grass continuous with the surrounding lawn area, and there will be no boundaries to mark the grave plot.
- There will be no kerbstones or individual gardens permitted, nor will plants, shrubs or any additional items of any kind be placed on the surface or edge of the grave plot.
Garden of Remembrance
From May 2017 we have changed from individual graves for cremated remains (ashes) with flat memorial stones, to a Garden of Remembrance where there are no individual graves with markers. A square of turf is lifted and a small hole prepared where the ashes are placed loose before the square of turf is replaced. If a family have an existing grave, either ashes grave or full grave in the churchyard in which they wish to have their loved one’s ashes buried, this will still be possible, provided they have a right to bury and there is room within the grave.
What does the Garden of Remembrance look like?
It is a lawn area within the churchyard with no individual markers or graves. A memorial stone with words from Scripture on it is in front of a bench where the bereaved may sit and reflect near their loved one. The area is surrounded by planted borders.
How does this differ from the previous method of interment (burial)?
Instead of a family placing a memorial on the ground after the burial, there is a Book of Remembrance in the entrance to the Lady Chapel in the Church. If the family wish they can have a simple entry with the deceased’s name, date of birth and date of death (this will be at an extra charge).
The book is open on the relevant page for the month of the year. The burial of ashes is still recorded in the Church’s Burial Register. It is not possible to place anything on the area where the ashes have been interred as there will be no distinguishable graves for individuals. Cut, unwrapped flowers may be placed on the memorial stone at the entrance to the Garden and will be left there for an appropriate period of time before being removed.
Will the Garden of Remembrance be used for everyone?
There will be an exception for pre-school children who will continue to be laid to rest in their own small section of the churchyard. All other ashes will be placed into the Garden of Remembrance if there is not already an existing grave or already approved reservation via faculty. There will be no other exceptions.
Fees are payable to the Parochial Church Council for:
- A funeral service
- A burial (including the burial of ashes)
- The placing of a memorial
- Certain register searches
- Certified copies of register entries
These fees are not fixed by the Parish but are approved under the authority of Parliament by the Parochial Fees Order. There is a separate payment for the organist and verger.
Please note full burials in the Churchyard will incur a cost for the removal of excess soil. This will be arranged by your funeral director. We will confirm with the funeral directors all the fees payable and they will then pay us directly.
At All Saints we have a number of trained visitors who are willing to visit those who have recently been bereaved. Several weeks after the funeral we will write to you offering our support in the months that follow. If you live in Wokingham one of the bereavement visitors from the church will contact you to see if there is any way in which we can help and support you during this time. In the letter we will confirm the name of the person and all visitors do have identity cards.
Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving
Once a year around the months of October and November All Saints holds a bereavement service. In this service we remember all those in the parish who have passed away in the last year. An invitation will be sent to you and will include a prayer card on which you can write your loved one’s name and any thoughts. These prayer cards are then placed on a Prayer Cross in church.
DIOCESE OF OXFORD: Churchyard Regulations 2016
The Chancellor of the Diocese, with the advice of the Diocesan Advisory Committee, has made the following regulations:
Application, commencement, and interpretation
- These Regulations apply to every churchyard which is subject to the jurisdiction of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Oxford (but see regulation 2).
- They are subject to any regulations for a particular churchyard made or approved in writing by the Chancellor of the Diocese (whether made or approved before or after these Regulations come into operation).
- These Regulations came into operation on 1st January 2017 and replace the Churchyard Regulations for the Diocese of Oxford dated 10 June 2009.
- In these Regulations
- “archdeacon” means the archdeacon of the archdeaconry in which the churchyard is situated;
- “churchyard” includes the curtilage of a church, and a burial ground of a church (whether or not it immediately adjoins the church);
- “minister” means
- i) the incumbent or priest in charge of the benefice in which the churchyard is situated (unless a special cure of souls has been assigned to any priest for the area in which the churchyard is situated, whether in a team ministry or otherwise, in which case that priest is to be treated as the minister for the purposes of these Regulations), or
- ii) where there is no such person, the area dean of the deanery in which the churchyard is situated;
- “ledger stone” means a flat stone slab marking the place of interment of cremated remains;
- “monument” means a headstone or similar form of commemoration;
- “relevant regulations” means, in relation to a monument, regulations 12 to 21; and in relation to a ledger stone, regulations 22 to 28;
- a reference to a matter being permitted or not permitted applies only for the purposes of these Regulations; it does not prevent any monument or ledger being introduced or removed under the authority of a faculty or other order issued by the Consistory Court.
- The Chancellor may, in respect of a benefice generally or of a particular churchyard, appoint a person to exercise functions under these Regulations in place of the minister; accordingly, where such a person is appointed, references to the minister are to be read as references to that person.
Authority delegated to minister
- Authority is delegated from the Chancellor of the Diocese to the minister to authorise–
- the introduction into a churchyard of any monument or ledger stone which complies with the relevant regulations; and
- the matters provided for in regulations 44 (addition of further inscriptions), 46 and 48 (temporary removal for addition of inscription or repair) subject to the requirements of these Regulations.
- An application to the minister for authority to introduce a monument or ledger stone must be made using the form set out in the Schedule to these Regulations.
- The minister may, in his or her discretion, decline to authorise the introduction of a monument or ledger stone or other matter provided for in these Regulations despite the fact that what is proposed complies with the provisions of these Regulations.
- The minister must decline to authorise the introduction of a monument or ledger stone or any other matter which does not comply with the provisions of these Regulations.
- The minister may, if he or she considers it expedient, refer an application for authorising a monument or ledger stone or other matter provided for in these Regulations to the archdeacon; and where the minister does so, the archdeacon may exercise the functions of the minister under these Regulations.
- Any question as to the interpretation or application of these Regulations is to be determined by the Chancellor of the Diocese.
- Regulations 13 to 21 apply to monuments.
- A monument may be introduced only at the place where the body of the person to be commemorated by the monument is buried.
- Six months must have elapsed since the date of burial before a monument may be introduced.
- The maximum permitted height for a monument is 1220mm (48”) and the maximum permitted width is 915mm (36”).
- The maximum permitted thickness for a monument is 155mm (6”) and the minimum permitted thickness is 75mm (3”) (except for slate monuments, for which the minimum permitted thickness is 40mm (1.5”)).
- Unless the monument is to be supported by a pre-cast concrete shoe situated below the ground, the minister must be satisfied that the monument will be inserted sufficiently deeply into the ground to ensure its stability, having regard to the nature of the ground and any likely settlement.
- A monument may have a visible stone or concrete base only if a. the base is an integral part of the design of the monument, b. it does not project from the monument by more than 50mm (2”) away from the place of burial and 205mm (8”) towards the place of burial, and c. the monument is connected to the base by non-ferrous dowels.
- The base may make provision for not more than two vases that are to be fitted into it.
- Any foundation slab for a monument must not be visible after the work of introducing the monument has been completed.
- A monument must meet the requirements of regulations 29 to 45 (design, materials, inscriptions etc.).
Ledger stones (Tablets)
- Regulations 23 to 28 apply to ledger stones.
- A ledger stone may be introduced only at the place where the cremated remains of the person to be commemorated by the ledger stone are interred 16 (but see regulation 25).
- Where burials in a churchyard have been discontinued by Order in Council under the Burial Act 1853 or 1855, a ledger stone may be introduced only–
- if the interment of the cremated remains was authorised by a specific faculty, or
- if the remains were interred in an area which has been set aside by faculty for the interment of cremated remains generally (but see regulation 25).
- Ledger stones are not permitted where the parochial church council has adopted a policy of commemorating persons whose cremated remains are interred in the churchyard exclusively by other means (for example, wall plaques or a book of remembrance).
- The maximum permitted dimensions for a ledger stone are 460mm (18”) in length and 460mm (18”) in width.
- A ledger stone must be laid so that its upper surface is flush with the ground.
- A ledger stone must meet the requirements of regulations 29 to 45 (design, materials, inscriptions etc.).
- A ledger stone must be rectangular or square (but a monument need not be).
- A monument or ledger stone must not take the form of a statue or of a particular object such as a heart, a person, animal or other figure; but a monument (though not a ledger stone) may take the form of a representation of a book.
- A monument or ledger stone must not include any lighting, whether electric or otherwise or any glass shades.
- A monument or ledger stone must not include–
- a portrait, photograph or other image of an individual (whether of the person commemorated or any other person)
- any other pictures or imagery except as permitted by regulation 33
- any moulding d. any video or sound recording
- a QR code or other machine-readable label
- kerbs or other fencing, railings or other demarcation
- stone or glass chippings
- A black, white or uncoloured etching or carving may be permitted provided that it–
- is reverent and not indicative of beliefs contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England,
- does not depict an individual, and
- covers no more than one-fifth of the surface of the monument or ledger stone.
- A monument may be inscribed with a stonemason’s mark provided that the mark is not in a prominent position.
- A monument or ledger stone must be made of natural stone or of hardwood.
- The surface of the stone must not be made reflective by being polished or finely honed.
- A monument or ledger stone is not permitted if it–
- is black, blue, red or green (or appears to be any of those colours) or is otherwise brightly coloured,
- is made of marble, synthetic stone or plastic, or
- is painted.
- A monument or ledger stone may include an inscription provided it is simple, reverent and not contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England.
- An inscription may include quotations from the Bible or from literary sources (subject to regulation 38).
- In addition to the formal names of the person commemorated, nicknames or other names by which the person was familiarly known may be included as part of the person’s name, within brackets or inverted commas (subject to regulation 38).
- An inscription must be incised or in relief and may be uncoloured, grey or black only; plastic, lead or other inserted lettering is not permitted.
- Hand-crafted letter cutting is permitted.
- Cursive script (that is, a script which gives the appearance of having been written in a running hand) is not permitted.
- The addition of further inscriptions which comply with regulations 38-43 and which are consistent with the style and language of the original inscription may be authorised by the minister following further burial in a grave or interment of further cremated remains.
- An application for authority to add a further inscription must be made to the minister in writing and provide details of the proposed additional inscription (including the style of lettering to be used and the place on the monument or ledger stone where it is proposed to be added).
Works to existing monuments etc.
- The owner of a monument or ledger stone which is less than 50 years old may carry out works of repair to it (including renewing lettering) without a faculty provided that the monument was lawfully introduced into the churchyard and the minister authorises the repairs before they are carried out.
- Repairs which would result in the monument or ledger stone ceasing to comply with these Regulations must not be authorised.
- The owner of a monument or ledger stone which is less than 50 years old may, if authorised 20 to do so by the minister, remove it from the churchyard for not more than 3 months for the purpose of adding an inscription authorised under regulation 44 or carrying out repairs authorised under regulation 46.
- A monument or ledger stone which is more than 50 years old must not be removed from the churchyard without the authority of a faculty.
- Individual gardens, including the planting of shrubs are not permitted; but the minister may authorise the planting of a small number of bulbs.
- Plastic flowers and plastic wreaths are not permitted; except that wreaths and other arrangements of artificial poppies may be introduced to commemorate those who have died in the service of their country in time of war or other conflict.
- Cut flowers and silk flowers may be left at the place of burial or interment of cremated remains but must be removed once they are decaying or have become faded.
- With the permission of the minister, up to 3 toys or similar objects may be left at the place of burial or interment of cremated remains for a period of 12 months from the date of burial or interment but must be removed at the end of that period.
- The minister, or a person acting on his or her behalf, may remove any objects which are not, or have ceased to be, authorised under these regulations and which have not been authorised by faculty.