In the aftermath of losing a departed loved one, there are many things that need to be considered. You will undoubtedly be busy with funeral plans, probate arrangements and ensuring that the person’s wishes are carried out according to their will. For this reason, the thought of choosing a suitable gravestone and ensuring it complies with the etiquette and rules around headstones can be a daunting thought.
At Memorials of Distinction we have over 35 years’ worth of expertise in crafting high-quality gravestones, and we know what is considered acceptable in burial grounds. In this guide we will share our knowledge around exactly what steps need to be taken to ensure a suitable resting place for your loved one.
Much of the process of securing an area of land in which a person can be buried comes as part of the funeral service – the private company that will also have taken responsibility for handling remains and putting on a funeral in accordance with you and your loved one’s wishes. They will be able to advise you on exactly what you need to do and where may be best to choose – but once a burial plot has been secured, you or whoever is the registered grave owner will be given a Deed of Grant.
Once burial has taken place you can begin to select the type of headstone most suitable for the resting place, and what design features and decorative elements you would like to be included in it.
When a plot is paid for within a burial ground, it is not bought but rather leased – meaning that exclusive ownership of the plot is yours for as long as the Deed of Grant is valid. This is usually a period of between 75 and 99 years.
It is not recommended that you do this any less than six months after burial, and it is often worth waiting for longer. Many burial grounds have their own restrictions in place lasting between a year and 18 months. This is to ensure that the ground has settled properly and to reduce the chances of any problems such as the headstone sinking into the ground.
The rules and etiquette around inscriptions in the UK are fairly complex. Strictly speaking, there is nothing forbidden across the board except for offensive or defamatory statements.
Certain cemeteries may have their own rules around what can be added to a grave in terms of decoration – we can help to advise you on which vases, ornaments and photo plaques will be suitable according to the specifics of your chosen site.
Within churchyards, however, the rules around wording of inscriptions tends to be stricter. What is permitted tends to be at the discretion of the parish priest in charge of the church because they are bound by Diocese regulations. There have been well-publicised cases in the past where vicars have objected to wordings including the use of kisses (x) in inscriptions, or the use of nicknames or pet names without inverted commas to signify them as such.
Many individual dioceses have their own guidance around what wording is acceptable – for example the Diocese of Oxfordshire suggests that: “Inscriptions must be simple, reverent and theologically acceptable; they may include appropriate quotations from the Scriptures or literary sources.”
We are happy to advise you in any aspect of designing and installing a gravestone for your loved one. Speak to our friendly team today if you have any questions by calling 01582 249990.
Good evening. I found Harvey’s headstone on Friday morning. I cried so many tears. But the headstone is absolutely amazing. I’m blown away by the details of the stars.
It’s an absolutely outstanding tribute to my beautiful boy. Well done to those who made it. Many thanks.
Louise T. Sent by email: 17/06/2019
What a lovely service they provide. Friendly staff on the phone and the stone was perfect. Thank you so much.
I cannot recommend them enough.
Josephine P. Google Review: 05/11/2020
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. The headstone is absolutely perfect and what a fantastic job the workmen did erecting it. To say I am pleased with it is an understatement.
Many many thanks.
Elisabeth J. Sent by email: 08/02/2019
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