Funerals, Burials and Churchyard Regulations


Who can be buried or have their cremated remains interred in the Churchyard?

The Parish of Woodham Ferrers and Bicknacre still has an "open churchyard", which means that burials are still allowed as long as there are spaces remaining.

There is a legal right for anyone

to be buried, or have his/her cremated remains interred in the churchyard provided that the churchyard has space available.

People who live outside the parish, but have some strong connection there may also be allowed a burial space, but this is at the discretion of the Parish Minister and depends upon available space.

When is it possible to reserve a Grave Space?

It is sometimes possible to reserve a special grave space in advance for the burial of a body in the churchyard. This can only be authorised by a Faculty granted by the Chancellor of the Diocese.

Size of graves

New graves are dug deep enough to allow two full burials. An unlimited number of cremated remains can also be interred in family graves.


Churchyards are unlike public cemeteries where lots are purchased. In a churchyard, the graves always remain under the control of the church, and the Diocese provides guidelines for new stones. There are regulations regarding the size, shape, colour, decoration, inscriptions, etc., which apply to gravestones within churchyards. Applications for new stones cannot be made earlier than six months following a burial. Once you select a stonemason or memorial dealer, they should be told that we follow diocesan guidelines and they will provide you with a CR1 form to sign and complete.

Any proposed stone which does not meet with the diocesan guidelines must be submitted through the Faculty process, which requires agreement of the local Parish Church Council as well as the Diocesan Chancellor, who is the bishop's legal officer. This can be a long process and a favourable outcome cannot be assumed.

Replacing gravestones

Because of the protected nature of the churchyard and everything in it, no stone can be replaced without going through the Faculty process described above.

Burial of Cremated Remains

The churchyard has a special area dedicated to the burial of cremated remains. Only cut flowers are allowed on the lawn area. The burial area is kept as a simple lawn without any plaques for individuals. However, St Mary’s maintains a Book of Remembrance and arrangements can be made for your loved one to be recorded there

Any further questions or queries about our churchyard, funerals and burials should be directed to one of the following:

Priest in charge
Revd Carol Ball (01245 322134 :

Sharon Hutton-Mayson (01245 328480 :

The following regulations have been agreed by the Parish Church Council and are posted in churchyard.


What is allowed

What is not allowed

The Incumbent and the local Parish Church Council (PCC) retain the right to remove anything from the churchyard which does not comply with these regulations.