Churchyard and Memorials

Please read this note carefully

The Chancellor of the Diocese of York has the legal authority to regulate churchyard memorials. He allows parish clergy to give permission for memorials that comply with general rules applying in the diocese, which are summarised here. The attached permission is granted on condition that the actual memorial will be within the terms of the Chancellor’s rules. The full rules are published on the Diocesan Website and can be downloaded  here.  Memorials that are outside these terms may not be put in churchyards unless an individual faculty is obtained. Otherwise, the Chancellor has the power in law to require a memorial to be altered or removed. Relatives or monumental masons are invited to raise any queries first with the Rector or Area Dean.

The Chancellor requires that:

• The deceased’s personal representative (not the monumental mason) must sign the application.

• Six months must elapse between a burial and a new memorial being placed.

Size and shape of memorials

• A coffin burial may be marked by a vertical headstone. Minimum and maximum dimensions are: height 2’6”-4’; width 1’8”-3’; thickness 3” (1.5” if slate)-6”.

• Cremated remains may be marked by a flat horizontal plaque up to 18” x 18”. It may be square, rectangular, circular or oval, but not triangular.


• Natural stone or hardwood must be used

Inscriptions and designs

• Words other than the deceased’s name and essential personal details should be simple and should ideally come from the Bible, Prayer Book or other Christian literature

• Lettering may be matt coloured, slightly lighter or darker than the background

• A design on a religious theme, or representing the deceased’s interests, may cover up to 20% of the memorial. It may be coloured in one tone only, slightly lighter or darker than the background, but may not otherwise be coloured, gilded or silvered.

The following are not allowed under this delegated permission

• Surfaces polished to a reflective finish

• Black, blue or red granite; any marble; artificial or synthetic stone; plastic memorials

• In some individual historic churchyards, the Chancellor does not allow any granite memorials at all: please check with the parish priest

• Memorials in the shape of a cross, heart or book

• Gilded or silvered lettering

• Any portrait or likeness of a human person

• Kerbs, fences or chippings

 Please remember that the Chancellor is willing to consider well-designed individual memorials that are outside these rules, but a faculty must be applied for and obtained before the memorial is made and put in. The Rector is always available for guidance.

 August 2014

Gravestones and memorials in our Church
Information about gravestones in our churchyard, which is now only used for the internment of cremated remains