It can be a very difficult time when you lose someone close and then need to start planning a funeral, especially if you haven't done it before. We hope we can help to guide you through this time.
When you need to organise a funeral
Please contact your prefered funeral director in the first instance. They will then liaise with clergy, other faith leaders, or with civil celebrants depending on your preference.
We will then meet with you to discuss your preferences, to find out about your loved one, and to explain the rules we are bound by in the Church of Enland, and how we can help you to say goodbye in an appropriate way. Before we meet you, it might be helpful for you to look at the Church of England website to learn more in a step-by-step guide about how a funeral might look and feel.
Churchyard Burials & Interment of Remains
What happens after the funeral?
We do understand that people grieve in different ways, and we all have different experiences of church, of funerals, and of loss.
We hope that the attached leaflet 'St Ippolyts Churchyard' will help to guide you through what can be an unfamiliar and daunting experience, especially if it is the first time you have been involved with churchyard burials.
Our vicar will guide you through organising the funeral and can explain what happens after the funeral regarding the place where your loved one has been buried, but you might also like to have the leaflet to refer to as preparing for a funeral can be quite overwhelming and we all forget things.
The Church of England provides for interment (burial) of remains in a very different context from that which applies to crematoria and local authority cemeteries. A churchyard is usually the setting for the local church and is consecrated ground where the minister will inter the remains according to the rites of the Church of England.
It’s worth noting that like all Church of England churches across the country, we are governed by legislation and so we are obliged to ensure we comply with rules that sometimes need explanation. To help with this, also attached is a booklet produced by the Diocese of St Albans that aims to explain in more details some of the rules that we have to abide by called 'A Churchyard Handbook - Guide for Families'.
We are trying to bring our churchyard up to date with the latest changes in rules so you may have seen some examples of memorials that don’t appear to comply – they are a work in progress.
We rely on volunteers to look after the church and churchyard, and we receive no funding other than donations from the community. Our volunteers will do their best to care for the churchyard, to keep it tidy and natural, and a space for quiet contemplation.
We will be pleased to bury remains in our churchyard, or in a family grave with permission of the family.
Please note that we are not allowed to have ashes scattered loose in a churchyard.
Burial in a Grave
- Committing your loved one to the ground in a coffin is a moving and sometimes overwhelming experience.
- We understand your need to make the space look beautiful quickly and to reflect the passions of the person who has died. However, it is essential that time passes to allow the soil above the coffin to settle before any permanent memorial is installed.
- The timing and sequence of events would normally be:
- Burial – your undertaker will install a temporary wooden cross with the name of the person who has died engraved on a plaque.
- 6mths to 1 year after burial – please contact and confer with your preferred stonemason regarding headstone and engraving (the type of stone and design is governed by the Churchyard Regulations 2020).
- Please would you apply via the stonemason to the vicar for their agreement of the proposed design.
- Agreement is reached, sometimes after discussion/ compromise, and permission granted.
- Commission and install the memorial/headstone at least a year after the burial.
- Wildflowers, plants that are ‘annuals’, and bulbs can be planted on the grave, but shrubs and trees pose a risk to the coffin and headstone when they mature so are not suitable.
If you wish to leave a tribute at any time:
- Please leave only cut flowers or stems from shrubs so they can be composted when they have died.
- Please avoid leaving silk or plastic flowers, ornaments, vases, or sentimental items, as these will be removed after a short while.
- Glass or ceramic vases or ornaments, or grave boundary fencing, or loose stones, can be harmful when broken and can prevent effective mowing or strimming of the grass which means we are unable to allow them.