The text below is a copy of the Churchyard Regulations for Tutbury St. Mary’s Priory Church as posted just inside the gate at the Castle entrance.
They are taken from the Lichfield Diocesan Regulations that apply to all churches. They are also very similar to the rules applied in Council cemeteries.
There is nothing special or unique about the rules in Tutbury churchyard, in general similar rules apply throughout the country.
Regulations set out what is and what is not permitted in the churchyards by the Lichfield Diocese. ln particular they set out those memorials and related items which can and those which cannot be permitted by the incumbent and PCC.
The Nature of Churchyards.
First and foremost, churchyards are consecrated to God. Accordingly, they must be treated and cared for in a manner consistent with that consecrated status. They provide appropriate settings for Christian places of worship and as such send out a message of the Church’s commitment to worshipping God in the beauty of holiness.
Accordingly, the memorials placed in our churchyards must be fitting and appropriate and they must be fitting and appropriate not just for today but also for the future.
The Purpose of these Regulations.
The purpose of the Regulations is to preserve and enhance the quality of our churchyards while minimising the scope for conflict and discord when decisions have to be made as to the form of memorials. The Regulations exist to create fairness, equality and consistency of treatment for all. They seek to promote peace, dignify and good order in churchyards where it is necessary to balance the concerns of the past, present and future and where there will, inevitably, be a spectrum of views about what is appropriate.
The Regulations set out those matters which may and which may not be authorised by a parish incumbent.
Burial in a Churchyard.
Many people have a right to be buried in a churchyard and the Church welcomes those who wish to exercise that right. However, even when there is a legal right to burial in churchyard there is no right to a memorial nor to have any particular inscription on a memorial. Those are matters which need separate permission.
The maintenance of memorials is the responsibility of those who erect them and after those persons have died of the heirs of the person commemorated. However, the churchyard as a whole also has to be maintained. The ground remains with the church and not the individual family.
It is important that those making decisions about memorials do so after proper reflection and not when they are most acutely feeling their loss. For that reason, no application for a memorial may be made within six months of an interment.
Churchyard Past and Present
The incumbent and PCC may not permit memorials which includes kerbs, railings, or chippings.
The incumbent and PCC may not permit any permanent memorial or element of a memorial which involves stone, concrete, metal, glass, plaster, or plastic objects whether in the form of model people, animals, or toys or otherwise. Were similar or other portable items have been left on a grave such items may be left in position for the period of one calendar month after interment. lf the items are not then removed by those who placed them on the grave they will be removed by the churchwardens or a person authorised by them. The incumbent and PCC may not permit any object designed to make a noise when moved by the wind. These will be removed by the churchwardens or a person authorised by them.
Stone crosses of similar dimensions to headstones and hardwood crosses may be permitted. Wooden grave markers are to be removed once a suitable headstone or permanent marker has been erected.
Memorials are not to be considered in isolation but in their context as part of the churchyard as whole. Memorials of a different material from the church or from the other memorials in a churchyard can harm the appearance of the churchyard and mar the setting of the church.
Flowers and other ltems
Artificial flowers are not permitted and should be removed from any memorials on which they are laid. By way of exception to this prohibition the placing of wreaths and poppies is permissible in the periods of and leading up to Remembrance Day, Christmas and Easter and on the anniversaries of death or marriage. Such items are to be removed not more than one month after those occasions. lf the items are not removed by those who placed them on the memorials within that period they should be removed by the churchwardens or a person authorised by them.
Tutbury churchyard has over the years taken on a cluttered and untidy appearance which does fulfil these regulations. Therefore, the PCC has agreed that after a period of 6 months from July 2016 those items that can be removed will be removed by the churchwardens or persons authorised by them. Should you wish these items to be returned to you then they can be collected on any Saturday morning but after 12 months from July 2016 the items will be disposed of in a suitable area of the churchyard.
For further information, please contact The lncumbent, Churchwardens or Verger (Contacts)