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 is entitled 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:
While there is no one specific rule around how long you need to wait before you can put a headstone on a burial grave, as a guideline figure it is recommended that you wait for at least six months, if not longer. 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, 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 not tend to be more expensive than the initial inscription despite 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.
Kerbs are a line of stone which forms a rectangular edge covering the whole grave. This is usually made from the same stone as the headstone but can be changed for a contrasting material if preferred. The centre area can be filled with coloured glass chippings, soil or a cover slab according to your taste.
Open for Business
Our dedicated staff are here to answer your calls and emails, orders are being processed and we are able to fix memorials in most cemeteries.
According to government guidance, enquiries should be dealt with by phone or email where possible. If not, our Dunstable and London showrooms are open to visitors by appointment only. We will allow one family group at a time in the showroom (max 3 people per group, from one household).
Appropriate PPE will be worn, social distancing observed and hand sanitiser will be made available to customers.
Home Visit Service
For your safety and ours, the Home Visit Service will only be available where the government tier system allows it. We ask for your understanding if appointments need to be rearranged or cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions.
Where government guidelines allow home visits, our Rep will wear a mask and we ask that you also do so. Where possible, consultations should take place outdoors, ie in the garden. Where this is not an option, we ask that seating is arranged in a way that social distancing can be observed. We also ask that the number of customers present at the meeting is kept to a minimum.
The items included will be clearly explained in the description text for each product along with the ‘Included in the Price’ section. We also have an ‘Additional Costs’ section on all products where it is relevant. As a general guide, extra costs can include: Cemetery fees, additional sandblasted designs, photo plaques, extra letters (beyond the 80 you get free), bespoke sizes, kerbset chippings etc. We will give you a detailed quote showing all fees and itemised costs, so you know exactly what the bottom line is before placing your order.
We would just like to say how pleased we are with the Headstone, it is more that we imagined and its wonderful.
Many thanks to all who were involved with the works carried out.
Best wishes and kind regards,
On behalf of the whole family.
Kate C. Sent by email: 06/02/2020
I was recommended to Memorial of Distinction by my late wife’s niece and throughout a very sensitive time in my life I found them to be exceptional. They were sensitive to my needs and kept me informed at all times, the workmanship was outstanding, and the attention to detail was second to none. An outstanding company to deal with, when you have to do something you really don’t want to do.
Aitch1952 Sent by email: 01/07/2020
I can’t thank Memorials of Distinction enough for producing such a beautiful headstone. It was everything and more, that I had asked for. Everyone in the family was very happy and impressed. So thank you again for that miracle.
Lesley, you personally were so kind and understanding throughout the whole process, I’m convinced you may have wings.
Helen D. Sent by email: 11/06/2019
Factory & Showroom (Head Office)
The Memorial Works
Southfields Road Dunstable LU6 3EP