Churchyards and Memorials
Churchyards are special places which exist for both the living and the dead. Together with the church building, they are vested in the Incumbent and as consecrated ground they are set apart for the reverent and Christian burial of parishioners.
Because they are shared spaces, churchyards need to be looked after for the benefit of today's generations as well as those to follow. The Churchyard Regulations seek to encourage good practices in order to create and maintain a place of peace, dignity and respect for the departed.
There is no automatic or legal right to place a memorial in a churchyard. The authority here rests with the Chancellor of the Diocese, who has granted delegated powers to incumbents and parish priests (i.e. rectors, vicars, priests in charge and team vicars), who have the discretion to allow memorials into their churchyards which are consistent with the Diocesan Churchyard Regulations. During a vacancy, this authority is exercised by the rural dean.
Any departure from the Churchyard Regulations requires permission by way of a faculty. Further information can be found on the Diocesan Registry's website here: http://www.elydiocesanregistry.co.uk/faculty-jurisdiction/memorials or by contacting a member of the Church Buildings Department: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidance and rules governing the upkeep of our churchyards can be downloaded from the links below.
You can view more information on the Diocese of Ely website here.
We are only able to accept and process applications for Tablets and Memorial Stones after the burial of ashes or body. This also meets the legal requirement that any memorial stone, whether for ashes or body, should only be introduced six months after burial: "At least six months must have elapsed since the date of burial before a monument may be introduced. Between a burial and the erection of a permanent memorial, a small temporary wooden cross, not more than 900mm (3ft) in height (measured from the surface of the ground) and in width, may be used to mark a grave, with the prior approval of the Minister".
Memorial stones occasionally need to be removed from the churchyard for repair or additional work. We ask that where this is necessary, permission is sought from us first. This is to reduce the distress caused to other families and visitors to the churchyard. In addition, it is a legal requirement that 'The owner of a monument or ledger stone which is less than 50 years old may, if authorised 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 30 or carrying out repairs authorised under Regulation 31'.