CHURCHYARD POLICY GUIDELINES
Thank you for reading this information and working in consultation with St. Mary Magdalene to ensure that the churchyard remains a place of solace and dignity in accordance with ecclesiastical law. By maintaining the appearance of the churchyard we show our respect and concern for all the graves and memorials. Please be assured of our continuing prayers for you and your loved ones at this time.
We hope that these guidelines will help to ensure that the churchyard and Garden of Remembrance remain special places where you will feel close to God.
The churchyard is owned by the Church of England, and maintained and financed by St. Mary Magdalene Church. No financial assistance is provided by the local council or any other agency. In accordance with ecclesiastical law, the Priest in Charge and the Parochial Church Council are responsible for the churchyard and Garden of Remembrance, and must observe ecclesiastical and relevant civil law.
The unauthorised scattering of cremated remains (ashes) is against the law. Any unauthorised remains scattered could be subject to disturbance and/or relocation. Additional ashes may not be added to an existing site without consulting the Priest in Charge.
St Mary Magdalene PCC is happy to encourage the planting of bulbs, annual bedding plants and/or a single rosebush within the confines of your memorial plot. (NB. These provisions do not apply to the Garden of Remembrance). Pots of flowers may be temporarily placed on the base of the gravestone. Trees and shrubs are not permitted. Existing trees or shrubs may be retained unless or until they present the possibility of damage to nearby walls or other plots or property. Any planting in a wall-side memorial plot must not exceed the designated space. Additional ashes may be added to a wall-side memorial plot but only after discussion with the Priest in Charge.
Sculpture, statuary or carving which is not integral to a memorial or is free-standing is not permitted. This includes removable items made of stone, plastic, wood, glass or composite materials. Examples of these items include toys, animals, birds, hearts, crosses, ornaments and anything else with or without inscriptions. Photographs, porcelain portraits, chains, glass shades, candles, lights and other items are not permitted. Excessive dressing of the graves or memorial stones is likewise not permitted, and this includes scarves, ribbons, soft toys, tinsel etc. Vases and other objects on the grass are not acceptable as these present obstacles to the easy maintenance of the grassed areas. Home-made memorials are not permitted.
Wreaths, bouquets and cut flowers with wrappings removed may be laid on a grave or memorial plot, or placed in spiked flower holders pushed into the ground. Flowers must be removed as soon as they appear withered.
No artificial flowers may be laid or placed in containers except Remembrance Day poppies or crosses and traditional Christmas wreaths. These must be removed after a period of a month from Remembrance Sunday or by January 6th (Twelfth Night) for Christmas wreaths.
Vegetation removed may be disposed of in the brown bin by the gate to the churchyard. All other rubbish should be placed in the green rubbish bin.
A group of volunteers from St. Mary Magdalene maintains the Churchyard on behalf of the PCC, and reserve the right to remove any items which do not fall within the guidelines, or are without Faculty approval. The volunteers will remove all withered or artificial flowers for composting or disposal. All non-perishable tributes that are removed will be retained for 3 months and if not collected during this time will be disposed of.The volunteers reserve the right to prune or trim trees, shrubs or bushes as necessary.
The affixing of wreaths and other tributes to the walls and trees by means of driving in nails, screws or other fixings is not permitted due to the damage caused. However, those fixings in place prior to 1st August 2017 will not be removed unless there is the possibility of damage. Neither the churchyard volunteers nor the PCC can accept any responsibility for any damage to headstones, memorial tablets, flowers, wreaths or any other items, nor for any accidental injury incurred in the churchyard.
Garden of Remembrance: Specific Guidelines
As a church, we are committed to ensuring that the Garden of Remembrance is maintained properly whilst remaining sensitive to the needs and feelings of everyone concerned.
The Garden of Remembrance is within the grounds of St Mary Magdalene Church and is under the supervision and control of the Priest-in-Charge and the PCC.
The Memorial Garden is a communal garden, and internment of ashes does not convey rights of ownership.
The Priest-in-Charge must be consulted by any person(s) interested in having cremated remains interred in the Garden of Remembrance. No ashes may be introduced by any person(s) outside of this process.
Charges must be paid in line with the current statutory fees.
In all cases the Crematorium Certificate must be presented to the Priest-in-Charge or authorised minister before interment can take place.
The Priest-in-Charge, or authorised minister, will conduct a short service and the ashes will be interred in the Garden. Regrettably, it is no longer possible to accommodate caskets.
No personal markers, except official plaques supplied via the church, are permitted, and these will only be available as space permits. No vases, memorials, artificial flowers, tributes or objects of any kind are to be introduced into the Garden of Remembrance at any time. Unwrapped fresh-cut flowers may be placed on the raised garden, or in spiked flower holders pushed into the ground within the brick rim of the Garden but must be removed when they appear withered. Wreaths at Christmas or on Remembrance Day are permitted. These must be removed after a period of a month from Remembrance Sunday or by January 6th (Twelfth Night) for Christmas wreaths. Any items introduced which do not comply will be removed andretained for 3 months, and if not collected during this time will be disposed of.
The names of any deceased person may be entered into St. Mary Magdalene’s Book of Remembrance if desired and on payment of a fee for calligraphy. The book will be on display at times when the church is open and attended.
If there is any doubt about these guidelines, please contact the Parish Office for assistance:
The Rectory, 1 Rectory Close, Littleton TW17 0QE. Ph: 01932 562249 E: email@example.com