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Allwood of Totnes Monumental Masons Devon

Monumental Masons Serving South Devon, Torbay and the South Hams for over 30 years

Diocese of Exeter Churchyard Regulations 1992

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Allwood of Totnes Monumental Masons

Allwood of Totnes Monumental Masons have been producing everlasting memorials in South Devon for over 30 years and pride ourselves in the traditional craft of our profession.

The majority of the churches in the Diocese are set within a churchyard, and most of these are, or will have been, used for burials. This is therefore their primary function, and as such they provide a place of tranquillity and a place to grieve, but are also important in terms of social history, archaeology, and nature conservation for both flora and fauna.

We would be pleased to advise you and give you guidance on the choice of materials, inscriptions and ornamentations which can be used in the Churchyards and Cemeteries of Devon.

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Understanding the Regulations

The sections below contain information from the Diocese Churchyard Regulations, if you require any further information on any of the material contained, then please do not hesitate to call us.

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Choosing the Right Memorial

Information to enable you to make the right choice of memorial, for the burial ground into which your chosen memorial is to be fixed, i.e. the type of memorial as well as the overall finish.

1) An incumbent may, if he thinks fit, allow a monument to be erected in the churchyard over the burial place of a body without a faculty provided the following regulations are complied with

2) An application, which includes a full description of the proposed work, must be submitted on the prescribed form (Annex A) to the Incumbent for prior approval. Funeral Directors, monumental masons and others may obtain the forms from the Diocesan Office.

3) A minimum period of six months should elapse between the burial of a person to be commemorated and the erection of a memorial, to allow the ground to settle.

1) Upright headstones must be no more than 4 ft (1228 mm) high, measured from the surface of the ground no more than 3 ft (915 mm) wide no more than 6" (150 mm) thick. Slate memorials must be no less than 1 ½" (38 mm) thick. In the case of infant burials, the headstone should be no more than 15" (375 mm) wide x 33" (825 mm) high no less than 12" (300 mm) wide x 19" (475 mm) high

2) Horizontal ledgers or flat stones either flush with the turf or raised not more than 9" (225 mm) above a base, which must extend no less than 3" (75 mm) all round, and itself be flush with the turf, must not be larger than 7 ft (2100 mm) by 3 ft (900 mm) overall, including the base.

3) Base A headstone may stand on a base of the same stone, which is to be an integral part of the design and does not project more than 4" (102 mm) beyond the headstone in any direction, except where a receptacle for flowers is provided, in which case this should be flush with the top of the base and may extend up to 8" (200 mm) in front of the headstone.

4) Foundation slab This will be of concrete, either poured or pre-cast, and not visible when the monument is complete.

All memorials should be hardwood or of natural stones. Only stones traditionally used in local buildings or stones closely similar to them in colour, texture and durability are permitted. Permitted finishes are rustic, fine rubbed (eggshell), but not mirror polished, i.e. highly polished so as to reflect images.

The following are not permitted: black or blue granites darker than Rustenburg grey; nor white marble, synthetic stone or plastic. "Red" granite may be permissible where the church and neighbouring buildings are built of stone of a similar colour.

In the case of infant burials, if requested, white marble is permissible subject to B (1) above.

A cross or sculpture and other statuary of good design are not discouraged but need the authority of a faculty. A plain wooden cross as a grave marker is always acceptable.

Designs ~ Headstones need not be restricted to a rectangular shape, and curved tops are preferable to straight-edged ones. Memorials in the shape of a heart or book are not permitted. Photographs, porcelain portraits, kerbs, railings, chains, chippings or glass shades are not permitted.

Epitaphs ~ Inscriptions must be simple, reverent, appropriate and of Christian significance. They must be incised, and lettering may be in black, white or silver paint or gold leaf (not gold paint). Plastic and lead inlaid lettering is not permitted. Subsequent additions to an inscription must be approved separately. By way of advertisement or trademark, only the mason's name may be inscribed at the side or on the reverse in unleaded letters, no larger than ½" (13 mm) in height

1) Bulbs may be planted in the soil of any grave, adjacent to the headstone.

2) A headstone may incorporate a receptacle for flowers; otherwise they may be placed in a removable container which must be completely sunk into the ground, close to the headstone.

3) PCC regulations concerning the care and tidiness of the churchyard should be noted.

4) The surface of the churchyard shall be kept as far as possible level and free of grave mounds. The PCC may at its discretion level any mound 12 months or more after the latest interment in the grave. Major schemes for levelling need faculty permission.

1) The burial of cremated remains may take place either (a) in an existing grave where this is appropriate, or (b) should no memorial stone be desired, wherever the incumbent determines, or (c) in a specific part of a churchyard which has been set aside for this purpose by faculty. Such a faculty will authorise the manner and form of the memorials permitted.

2) In all cases, cremated remains should be interred either directly into the ground, or in a suitable perishable container.

3) The incumbent may, if he thinks fit, subject to the faculty provision under H(1)(c), allow memorial stones without a further faculty where: (i) the material is such as is permitted for gravestones under these Regulations; (ii) the stone is laid flat with the ground; and (iii) where it does not exceed 18" (450 mm) square

4) Commemoration in a Book of Remembrance is a good alternative to commemoration by an individual memorial stone.

1. The foregoing Regulations have been prepared in consultation with the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches after examination of the practice in other dioceses and of the Specimen rules contained in the Churchyards Handbook, 3rd edition, 1988 (Church House Bookshop, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BN - £4.95). They will come into operation throughout the Diocese for new applications with effect from 1st July 1992, and will replace the Churchyard Regulations of 1st October 1990.

2. A copy of the Handbook should be provided by the PCC for every church with a churchyard.

3. There may be special Rules made by the PCC affecting your churchyard particularly in respect of any Garden of Remembrance. Enquiry should be made of the incumbent.

4. The purpose of the Regulations is:- a) to clarify the legal position respecting the erection of memorials and other matters which may require authorisation by faculty or otherwise; b) to ensure that the distinctive character of a churchyard will be preserved and that anything placed in it will be of good design and in harmony with the surroundings; c) generally to promote the care and maintenance of churchyards in accordance with a consistent policy throughout the Diocese. (The foregoing rules apply to memorials in the churchyard, or in any burial ground in the care of the PCC. Permission for memorial plaques attached to the fabric of the Church always require a faculty, which is sparingly granted and only where special reasons exist.

1. Any application for faculty should be obtained from and returned to the Secretary, Diocesan Advisory Committee, Diocesan House, Palace Gate, Exeter EX1 1HX. Any particular matters which an applicant would wish the Chancellor to have in mind, in deciding whether or not to grant a faculty, should accompany the application.

2. The scale of fees authorised by the Church Commissioners applying to persons legally entitled to be buried in the churchyard may be consulted at the Church or on application to the incumbent.

3. For the purposes of these Regulations "incumbent" includes a priest-in-charge where appropriate. During a vacancy the incumbent's authority is delegated to the Rural Dean. It is not exercisable by sequestrators or churchwardens.

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