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The Parish Church of St. Mary, Wexham
Churchyard Policy - Burials, Interment of Ashes and the laying of Memorial Tablets
St Mary’s churchyard is no longer open for burial plots but we are able to offer the limited space remaining for the interment of cremated remains. This space is available to parishioners regardless of their church affiliations. It should be noted, however, that such space remains the property of the church and parishioners do not gain any rights of ownership over it.
Maintenance of Plots
Parishioners are encouraged to visit the churchyard and may leave arrangements of flowers in memory of their loved ones. The Parochial Church Council (PCC) would like to maintain the churchyard as a place of natural beauty which lends itself to times of quiet reflection, however, so we ask that flowers be removed promptly when they have begun to fade. With the exception of Remembrance Day poppies, artificial flowers are generally not permitted. We recognise, however, that there can be circumstances that make it difficult for relatives to care for their plots on a regular basis. In these circumstances we accept the placing of silk flowers appropriate to the season so long as they are removed when they suffer the inevitable deterioration of exposure to the elements. Under no circumstances should anything be planted in the vicinity of a plot due to the danger of damage to the surrounding plots.
The PCC hopes that parishioners recognise the need for these guidelines and are happy to abide by them. Where breaches occur we reserve the right to take whatever steps are necessary to rectify the matter.
Monuments and Cremation tablets
Strictly speaking, the erection of any monument over a grave or the laying of a tablet is only possible with the authority of the Diocesan Chancellor, in the form of a faculty. In practice, however, the Chancellor has delegated this authority to the Priest-in-Charge, who may grant permission on the Chancellor’s behalf, within certain prescribed limits.
The Chancellor has directed that permission to erect/lay a memorial should not be granted until 6 months have elapsed from the date of the burial/ interment. The primary reason for this ruling is the problem of settlement of the excavated ground, but it also has the merit of giving bereaved relatives time to think through their requirements.
The PCC has for many years agreed to the erection of monuments and the laying of tablets broadly speaking within these limits without requiring a faculty. It is unfortunate, however, that a number of monuments have been erected/laid which have failed to conform to Diocesan regulations and have not been subjected to proper procedures.
The PCC has now adopted a clear policy in line with official regulations. Applicants who choose monuments within the guidelines detailed above still need to obtain the permission of the Priest in Charge but they can be assured that this permission will be granted without delay. Where an applicant wishes to erect/lay a monument which falls outside the guidelines, they will be advised of their right to apply to the Diocesan Chancellor for a faculty.
No monument/tablet may be erected/laid until particulars of the material to be used, together with a drawing of its design and size, and the exact wording of the inscription, have been submitted to the Priest in Charge and have been approved in writing. Such submissions should also confirm that the applicant involved has received a copy of St Mary’s Churchyard Policy.
Ratified by St Mary’s PCC on 23rd April 2013………………………………………………