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.
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.
Most of our memorial designs can be manufactured in a different colour/material to the one shown. See our Materials & Finishes page for more information on what is available. There may be some restrictions placed on your choice of material by the cemetery or churchyard. We will be able to advise you about that once you tell us where your loved one is to be interred. The price for memorials made from non-standard material will vary from the ones shown on our website so please contact us for a quote.
Yes, if you wanted to fill the kerbs with soil and plants or buy your own chippings, we can leave this area empty.
Went to see headstone. Love it. I did look around before I ordered it, and I still think there is nothing like it in the whole cemetery. Looks very classy with the silver lettering. Please pass on my thanks to those involved. Also, whoever erected it was very considerate to what was already there and replaced items respectfully. Already recommended your company to a lady who saw it and hasn’t had hers done yet. Thank you!
This was a custom memorial.
Sandra P. Sent by email: 05/05/2019
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
I just wanted to offer my thanks to you all for the lovely work that went into the memorial stone I ordered for my parents, it looks so much better than I ever thought it could. The whole process was made so easy for me, both in written and telephone correspondence. Please relay my thanks to everyone. I am very, very pleased and will definitely be recommending Memorials of Distinction in the future.
Jacqueline O Sent by email: 18/03/2019
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