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 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.
Standard overall height for most memorials are 2ft 6″ or 3ft but we can customise our designs to whatever size or material you need, subject to availability and approval by the cemetery. The prices in our Value Memorial range are just for the sizes/materials shown but contact us for a quote if you need slightly different.
Cemetery or Crematoria fees are not a standard price but if you tell us the grave location details we will be able to find out for you. Alternatively the cemetery would be able to give you the information directly if you prefer to call them yourself.
Once you have placed an order, the process of obtaining a permit is carried out by us on your behalf and is generally straightforward.
Memorials of Distinction believe that purchasing a memorial headstone is such an important decision that it is not suited to an on-line ‘add to my basket’ type of purchase. There are also many variables in the process which will affect your order, for example what is allowed by your particular cemetery and whether your inscription will fit on the memorial you have chosen.
It is possible to order over the phone or by email using the details on our Contact Page where our staff will be able to help and advise you.
We also offer a home visit service which is completely free of charge and obligation. One of our knowledgeable staff will visit you in the comfort and privacy of your home to help you to choose a design, decide on an appropriate wording and answer any other questions you may have.
Any administration or correspondence with local authorities, cemeteries or church authorities is dealt with by Memorials of Distinction on your behalf – you will not have to worry about this aspect of the process.
Thank you so much for the wonderful stone. I am so pleased with it, even if its something I never expected to have to buy. I had dreaded the process and it’s taken me six years to do it, thank you so much for all your help and patience. I really appreciate it.
Karen Y. Sent by email: 29/01/2020
5 stars does not do Memorials of Distinction justice. Right from the moment of enquiring for a brochure through to the memorial being fixed into place, their dedicated team could not be more helpful. There is no pressure from any of the sales team. Everything is taken at your own pace when you are ready. Nothing is too much trouble making you feel at ease asking anything regarding the memorial. Their craftsmanship is second to none and they have handled everything for us causing as little distress as possible with such a sensitive matter. I cannot recommend Memorials of Distinction enough.
St. Leonards Church, Stoke on Trent.
Ann S. Google Review: 01/12/2020
Absolutely recommend this company who were recommended to me. Cannot fault them in any way. Everything went smoothly and on time. No complaints at all. My cousin’s used a very well known company for their mother’s headstone and had trouble all the way. If you want perfection, these are the one to use.
Julie M. Google Review: 24/02/2021
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