Funerals and Burials

For the latest on our churchyard improvements see our Community Churchyard Project page.

Funerals

We are happy to conduct Christian funerals in the church for anyone who has died, whether they lived in the parish or not. Normally arrangements are made with the Vicar by the Funeral Directors, and the Vicar will then contact the next of kin to agree the details of the service. The local Funeral Directors have details of the Diocese and Church fees.

Who can be buried in the churchyard?

Originally, anyone who lived in the parish had a right to be buried in the graveyard but the graveyard became full, which meant it was only possible for burials to take place in existing graves. However, part of the graveyard has now been re-opened for new burials, re-using some very old graves which no longer have any memorials. Someone can be buried in the churchyard if they have a close relative buried here and there is room in the grave. If there is not room in the grave for a full burial it may be possible to bury cremated remains there instead. Alternatively one of the new (reburied) graves may be used.

Maintenance of the graveyard

Holy Trinity Churchyard has served the parish of Heath Town since the 1850s. It extends to around 7 acres and consequently takes a great deal of effort to maintain. The Church Council does its best to make sure the churchyard is a worthy place for people to remember the lives of those who have died, and give thanks to God for them. To achieve this, it depends on voluntary support and the financial generosity of the congregation. We make every effort to maintain the churchyard as well as we possibly can but it is simply not possible to do so as well as we would wish. It does help if relatives maintain the graves of their loved ones. We value the care taken by relatives to tend graves.

Churchyard Re-ordering Project

We are currently working on a major project for the re-ordering of the central area of the churchyard, containing graves mainly dating from the 1900’s to the 1950’s. Our proposals are aimed at improving the environment and making the churchyard a peaceful and attractive place for relatives and local people to visit. At the same time we would like to provide an environment where local schools can use educational visits for children to learn about plants and trees, birds, wildlife, local history, and learn to respect a place of burial. The grounds are not very suitable for this at present because of long grass, uneven ground and broken gravestones.

To this end, we would like to remove older gravestones, particularly those in poor repair, and especially the kerbs and slabs covering the graves. In some cases, but not all, it will be possible to retain the headstone, either set upright or flat. Newer memorials and those which are in good condition and well cared for will not be affected. We will also level the ground. We also hope to create a new area for the burial of cremated remains (there have been regular requests for new plots which we have had to turn down), and to provide seating, planting, bird boxes and other features which will enhance the environment.

We have permission for the project and are currently applying for grant funding, and would welcome written comments and suggestions. If you are concerned about particular gravestones which you would not like to be moved, please write with the name(s) and approximate date(s) of burial concerned so that we can take this into account in drawing up plans. We will then look at those graves and contact you to discuss how they might be affected by the proposals. If you wish to send a donation, please make cheques payable to “PCC Holy Trinity Heath Town”. We value your views and would like to work with you to make the churchyard a more attractive place for many years to come.

Memorials

When someone dies whom we care about deeply, we naturally want to remember them in a way which is appropriate and dignified. Often this means putting a memorial in the churchyard, at the spot where the person was buried. Although the Vicar is in charge of the parish, the person who has complete legal authority over all the churchyards in the Diocese is the Chancellor of the Diocese. Strictly speaking no memorials should be put in a churchyard without his permission - but he does issue guidelines to clergy allowing a certain range of memorials without further consultation. The Vicar has the duty of enforcing the Diocesan guidelines. Therefore, when you do want to make arrangements, first you must see the Vicar, who will give you the official form to be used, and advise on the type of memorial. Nothing other than flowers should be placed on a grave without permission from the Vicar; unauthorised alterations or additions may have to be removed.

For more information about funerals, please contact us. Click here for information on Memorial Services.


Comments