Cemeteries and Crematorium

Burial Information

The choice between burial and cremation can be a personal one and may be influenced by many factors, including family tradition, religious or non-religious views or the wishes of the person who has died. A burial is a ceremony held after the main funeral service, where mourners attend the graveside and pay their respects as the coffin is lowered into the grave. The arrangements of a burial are organised by a Funeral Director.

Burial 'Rights' - what are they?

The Exclusive Right of Burial gives a person(s) the 'right' to say who can be buried in the grave. Burial 'rights' also include the right to erect a memorial. If the owner of the Exclusive Right of Burial dies, they have the automatic right to be buried or have their ashes interred in the grave. After this the 'rights' become part of the deceased's estate. When you buy a grave, what you are actually buying is the Exclusive Right of Burial for a maximum period of 100 years. You do not become the freehold owner of the plot but you own the 'right' to make any decisions affecting the plot, including whom shall be buried in the plot. A number of people can jointly own the Exclusive Right of Burial. You should bear in mind that all owners must agree if a grave is to be opened for a burial, or a memorial placed or altered. All grave owners have a legal right to be buried in the grave. When one owner dies, the rights belong to the remaining surviving owners.

What is a Statutory Declaration?

A statutory declaration is a legal document required by the Council as evidence of the ownership of a grave belonging to a deceased person. A declaration is needed if a grant of probate or letters of administration are not required for their estate and you want the grave ownership transferred to you. Only the registered grave owner(s) may authorise burials or a memorial for a grave. The statutory declaration should be signed by the applicant in the presence of a magistrate, an authorised court offical or a commissioner for oaths (for which a fee may be charged), for example a solictor would provide this service for you. The requirement for a statutory declaration exists to ensure that burial rights are assigned only to the rightful owners(s) and serves to protect both the owners of those rights and the Council. It is a procedure used by most burial and crematoria authorities in England in accordance with the Local Authorities' Cemeteries Order of 1977.

Important Information

Visitors are sometimes distressed by what they find when visiting the grave of a loved one soon after the burial. Many problems are unavoidable and it may help to know what happens as time passes:

Please allow about 2 hours after the burial for the grave to be prepared to view floral tributes.

Floral tributes are left on display for approximately 21 days or until they have died naturally or have become unsightly, at which time the cemetery staff will dispose of them.

Great care is taken when back-filling graves, mechanical methods cannot be used. This means they will subside, sometimes multiple times, especially during wet weather. Following subsidence the cemetery staff will periodically level and turf over the grave.

There are occassions when adjacent graves may need to be re-opened for additional burials. In these cases mechanical access may be required over adjacent graves. In a working cemetery this is unavoidable. Every effort is made to protect surrounding graves in these cases and to ensure they are returned to the previous state as soon as possible.