There are a great deal of restrictions surrounding who is entitled to put a grave marker or other memorial on a grave site in the UK. These restrictions take into consideration who is in possession of the Deed of Grant for the grave as well as to the rules set down by the cemetery in which the plot lies.
Only the person named on the Deed of Grant to a cemetery plot has the exclusive rights to put a headstone on a grave, provided that the cemetery allows it. If you do not own the Deed of Grant and place a grave marker on the site, the Registered Grave Owner is legally entitled to remove it or have it removed.
It is worth bearing in mind that even if you are the person named on the Deed of Grant and therefore entitled to put a headstone or other grave marker on a grave site, you are still bound by the rules and restrictions of the cemetery in which the grave lies.
If your deceased loved one has been laid to rest in an eco cemetery for example, you may be restricted to placing only biodegradable headstone markers, or none at all. Traditional churchyards have strict rules regarding the materials of gravestones and memorials, as well as their design. For instance, a Christian churchyard may not permit any iconography that relates to another religion.
When a grave is purchased, a Deed of Grant is bestowed on the Registered Grave Owner. This gives them the exclusive rights to the grave for 50 years. After this period of time is up, the Deed of Grant must be extended in order to continue ownership of the grave site.
Usually only the person named on the Deed of Grant can erect memorials or headstones on a grave. Nevertheless, there are some circumstances in which other people can become involved in the process. These include:
Once the Deed of Grant for the exclusive right of burial has expired, it can usually be renewed, or extended by the grave owner for a fee. If it’s not extended, ownership returns to the council and no further burials can take place within the plot until it’s re-purchased.
An exclusive right of burial is the lease given for a burial plot for a set period of time. During this time, the person with ownership of the named grave has the automatic right to be buried in the grave and can allow others to be buried, if space permits. Whilst if someone has the exclusive right of burial, nobody else can be buried in the plot.
While there is no one specific rule around how long you need to wait before you can put a headstone on a burial grave, it is recommended that you wait for at least six months before erecting a headstone. This is for a number of reasons, the first of which is that the ground needs time to settle before a gravestone can be erected. For the first six months, the grave may still be settling – and in some burial grounds, this can be a risk for closer to a year. If a headstone is placed in sinking ground, then it is likely to lean forward.
There are emotional reasons too; you will have a clearer idea of what you want inscribed on a headstone after a few months when the initial shock has passed and the grieving process is slightly further along. The epitaph you choose will be there to last, so it is worth taking the time to ensure that it is right.
Only the Registered Grave Owner is legally entitled to replace a headstone. If anyone else erects a memorial without their support, it can be removed in compliance with laws supporting the removal of any unauthorised items from the grave site. These restrictions do not just apply to the headstone itself, but also to any toys, memorabilia or gravestone ornaments that may be on the grave.
The Registered Grave Owner may also be instructed to replace a headstone if it is not in compliance with the rules set by the cemetery if the offending aspects (such as an inappropriate colour, decoration, flower vase or type of image) cannot be altered in situ. Here are some sandblasted designs for inspiration.
If you are the Registered Grave Owner, adding a second name to a headstone is possible and allowed, provided that the lettering and any additional decoration comply with cemetery restrictions. It is also possible to have an extra inscription added to the back of the gravestone if there is no space on the front – this is rarely prohibited.
The cost of adding a second inscription to a headstone, or adding to the inscription on an existing headstone or memorial, does tend to be more expensive than the initial inscription, even if the work is being carried out in situ. You can either seek out the company responsible for inscribing the headstone in the first place or find someone new. Often the price is discounted for returning customers but distance can also play a part in the quote you receive so it is always worth contacting a few different companies for comparison.
We currently estimate that orders for our standard designs will take approximately 4-5 months to manufacture & deliver.
This estimate begins from the date we have received both the cemetery or church permit and your second instalment rather than from the date you place your order. The process of obtaining a permit is carried out by us on your behalf and is generally straightforward. If you are having a more unusual style or size of memorial it can take longer to clarify the details with the cemetery and obtain permission which will affect the final delivery/fixing date.
We always endeavour to complete your order as quickly as possible but there are some factors over which have have no control, such as shipping and council response times. This means that some orders will take less than 4 or 5 months but others may take more. We will always keep you informed about the progress of your order.
If your order is for a non-standard memorial, it is very likely that the manufacturing & delivery time will be 4-6 months.
Yes, this is possible but will depend on the regulations at your cemetery. We will be able to check this and advise further when we do your quotation. All memorials need to have an approved permit from the cemetery before we begin to manufacture them.
Yes. You will need to make the shipping arrangements yourself but we are happy to liaise with an agent about timings and crate up your memorial ready for collection. There is a cost associated with this, so contact us for a quote once you have decided which memorial you would like.
Thank you for your email. I have been down to the Cemetery this afternoon to see the Memorial. It is always difficult to imagine what something will look like from a picture, but I have to say it looks beautiful and I know my Mum and Dad would have approved of my choice.
Once again I wish to thank you and all your staff for your help, assistance and advice.
Lynne C. Sent by email: 07/06/2017
May I take the opportunity to commend all those involved for their excellent workmanship in producing a beautiful memorial. I also wish to thank those involved for their guidance, advice and tolerance. With all my thanks.
David O. Sent by email: 05/09/2019
I was really pleased with my husband’s memorial.. all of the staff (especially Natalie and Sim) were extremely helpful and kind during a very tough time. Thank you so much!
Alanna W. Google Review: 13/03/2021
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