Funerals and Graveyards

Burial and Interment Policy of the Itchen Valley PCC

Introduction

This page is designed to help those who are hoping to have their relations buried, interred or commemorated  in the churchyards of the Itchen Valley Churches by answering some frequently asked questions.

The burial or interment of a loved one is an incredibly sensitive affair and discussion of what is wanted as a permanent memorial can be very difficult, as it is done at a time of grief.  Itchen Valley PCC does not want to add to the distress of the bereaved in handling this and so we would recommend that those seeking burial or interment space in one of our church yards read this page thoroughly beforemaking an application.

Funeral, Thanksgiving and Memorial Services

The rules also apply to anyone hoping to have a funeral and/or thanksgiving or memorial service whether or not the burial or interment takes place in one of the churchyards of the Itchen Valley Churches or elsewhere.

General Rule

It is important to recognise that the question of who can be buried or interred in our churchyards is covered by legislation (the Burials Act) and places upon the Rector a legal duty (where there is an open churchyard) to provide burial or interment space for those who are parishioners when they die or who are on the electoral roll of the parish when they die.

There is no legal obligation to provide burial or interment space for anyone who was formerly resident in or whose family has an historic connection with the parish.  Indeed, in view of the Rector’s legal duty to bury those who are parishioners, it could be argued that it may be a breach of that duty to give scarce space to those who do not qualify by being resident in the parish when they die or being on the church electoral roll.

Please understand that, subject to what follows below, this means that any request by the bereaved with respect to someone who does not qualify will necessarily be declined.

Anyone who is not resident in the parish can be put on the electoral roll of the parish, provided that they habitually attend public worship in the parish for the six months prior to enrolment.  It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they apply to be put on the roll and that they make a record of habitual attendance, while seeking to qualify. Itchen Valley PCC regards attendance at least monthly over the six month period, as constituting habitual attendance.

Exceptions

The only circumstances in which the Rector will exercise his/her discretion to allow burial or interment space to someone who is not resident in the parish at the time of death or is not on the church electoral roll are as follows:

1. Where the spouse of the deceased has previously been buried in the churchyard and the plot was double dug in contemplation of the burial of the spouse, who died subsequently

2. Where cremated remains can be placed in an existing family burial plot without disturbing an existing interment;

3. Where the deceased is a member of a family having a family mausoleum in the churchyard and wishes to be buried in that mausoleum or have their cremated remains placed in it provided there is still room inside it.

4. Where the deceased has lived in the past in the parish for more than five years.

5. Where the deceased has been in the past on the electoral roll of the parish for more than five years.

6. Where the deceased’s family has had a strong historic association with the parish to the satisfaction of the Rector and where in certain churches interments but not burials will be permitted owing to shortage of space for burials.

7. Where the deceased has been given permission to reserve a burial plot and paid the appropriate fee

It is recommended that where possible any application to qualify under the above exceptions is made in advance and in particular under (6) where the Rector will wish to and need time to consult the relevant Churchwardens.

Interments

The exception rules for burials also apply to anyone hoping to have their cremated remains interred in the churchyards of the Itchen Valley Churches.

Memorial Stones

All memorial stones in the graveyards, including their design, type of stone  and wording, should be approved by the Rector.

So far as memorial stones are concerned, please see the following link to the Diocesan guidelines on memorials Winchester Diocese Chancellors Regulations which make clear that the Rector has the authority of the Chancellor of the Diocese to approve memorials and inscriptions which fall within the standard guidelines.  These guidelines change from time to time and it is important not to assume that simply because there is a memorial in a churchyard of the kind that one would choose, that permission will be granted for something similar today.  The policy of Itchen Valley PCC is not to support faculty applications for exceptions to this policy.

In addition, the Rector will have regard to any written or unwritten guidelines and wishes of the Itchen Valley PCC and the District Church Councils of the four churches and may wish to consult and take account of the wishes of the Churchwardens of the four churches.

Cost of running and maintaining our Churches and Graveyards

While funeral fees cover part of the clergy costs, they do not contribute anything towards the cost of running and maintaining our Churches and Graveyards, although we currently receive a small grant from the Parish Council in respect of our statutory obligations arising from our having an open graveyard. We therefore always hope that bereaved families will consider it appropriate to make a suitable one off or regular financial contribution to Itchen Valley PCC particularly where they have not been resident in the parish or on the electoral roll.

Enquiries

All enquiries should be made to the Parish Administrator who is responsible for making the appropriate arrangements including liaising with the family, the Rector and the relevant Churchwardens and Vergers.

It is important that the availability of dates for funerals, thanksgiving and memorial services, burials and interments are checked with the Parish Administrator before going firm as the Rector is a part time volunteer (whose week day working days are only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), the Churches may be already booked, other church events may be taking place and Sidesmen and Organists need to be found.

The Parish Administrator will also be responsible for liaising with the relevant Churchwardens and Vergers about agreeing burial plots and interment sites.

The Parish Administrator’s contact details may be found on the Parish website.