All four of the churches in our benefice have churchyards which are ‘open’ - that is, there is space in each for burials and cremated remains.
Please click here for information about adding a name into the Book of Remembrance.
The introduction of memorials, to mark places of burial, are subject to Rules set by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Worcester (see below).
These rules seek to ensure that churchyards are both reverent and beautiful, and are kept wisely for future generations; and, that memorial stones match their surroundings and can gradually weather with the passing of time.
Inkberrow Living Churchyard project
It was decided to manage the central area of old graves in a different way from the rest of the churchyard in St. Peter's, and this is described below.
The title above appears to be a contradiction when you consider that the primary use of most churchyards is to bury the remains of our nearest and dearest. Sadly often the older burial areas become neglected and end up as a thick tangle of bramble.
The Living Churchyard project is a countrywide initiative set up some years ago by the church and partners such as the county councils to help members of the church, community, or schools to become more involved in managing and enjoying their local churchyard.
At St Peter’s a small team of helpers has been involved with the project for over a year and are trying more of a planned approach to help foster the wealth of flora and fauna that can flourish if it is given a chance. In order to do this, the wilder parts are being managed as meadowland. This means that it was allowed to grow until high summer when a special working party came together to cut it and make it into hay. The aim of this approach was to increase the number of wild flowers, but the intention in the future is to bring in other species in the form of seed or small plugs from other churchyards in the county. The County Council’s conservation officer has agreed to help us with this, but if you are a botanist or have special skills to help us on our way we would like to hear from you.
In addition to grassland management, walkways have been cut through to give people access to more areas. A remembrance seat has been placed at the junction of these paths and provides an excellent spot where people can simply enjoy the solitude and beauty of the place away from the pressures of modern life.
St Peter’s churchyard is a very special place to be enjoyed by all its visitors and we hope to manage it sympathetically in order to enhance this amenity. Although a contractor is employed during the summer months to mow, we are dependent on volunteers to weed and plant the flowerbeds and look after the shrubs and trees and maintain the wilder areas. Offers of help to maintain it are always gratefully received.
Reservation of a grave space
It is often possible to arrange for the reservation of a grave-space, although, if the applicant resides outside the Parish, they must show a relevant connection with the church or churchyard concerned, and the Parochial Church Council must agree to support their application. This is because we have limited space in our churchyards, and must give priority to residents of the Parish.
Reservation is arranged through a legal process which involves fees amounting to approximately £350. Anyone requiring information about this should, in the first instance, contact the Vicar of the Parish. The form of Petition can be obtained from the Diocesan Registrar, 8 Sansome Walk, Worcester WR1 1LW (01905 723561) (Shewlett@marchedwards.co.uk).
Diocese of Worcester - Rules for the Introduction of Churchyard Memorials
Standards for memorials
1. Dimensions of Headstones
a) Headstones should be no larger than 4 fl (1200 mm) high measured from the surface of the ground, 3 ft (900mm) wide and 6 ins (150mm) thick. They should be no less than 1 ft 8 ins. (500mm) high, 1 ft 8 ins. (500mm) wide, and no less than 3 ins. (75mm) thick, except in the case of slate materials, which may be thinner but no less than 1 ½ ins. (38mm) thick.
b) Horizontal slab stones not exceeding 2 ft (600mm) wide and 6 ft (1800mm) length, sunk so that the surface of the whole is level and flush with the surrounding earth.
c) Simple crosses not exceeding 3 ft (900mm) in height.
2. Base and Foundation Slab
A headstone may stand on a stone base, provided that it is an integral part of the design and does not project more than 4 ins. (102mm) beyond the headstone in any direction, except where a receptacle for flowers is incorporated. The vase must be flush with the top of the base, which may then extend up to 8 ins. (200mm) in front of the headstone. The base must by fixed on a foundation slab set flush with the ground and extending from 3 ins. (75mm) to 6 ins. (150 mm) all round so that a mower may pass freely over it. The base of a memorial may be so shaped that it can he inserted directly into the ground at sufficient depth to ensure stability.
a) All memorials must he made of natural stone with no reflecting finish, or of hardwood. Stones traditionally used in local buildings, or stones closely similar to them in colour and texture, are to be preferred. Black, green, blue or red granite are not permitted under these terms and conditions, nor granite darker than Rustenberg grey, no black nor white marble, synthetic stone or plastic.
b) An Incumbent or Priest in Charge may propose to the Diocesan Advisory Committee that stones of other types and colours should be permitted in a particular churchyard and, when the proposal has been considered by the D.A.C. he may seek the authority of the Chancellor to introduce such stones into the churchyard. If the Chancellor authorises the introduction of such stones, he will specify the further types and colours which may be used.
Headstones need not he restricted to a rectangular shape, and curved tops are preferable to straight-edged tops. Memorials in the shape of a heart or a book are not permitted, nor are photographs, portraits, kerbs, railings, chains, chippings or glass shades.
Figure sculpture and other statuary can only be authorised by faculty.
Inscriptions must be simple and reverent, and may include appropriate quotations from literary sources. Inscriptions should he incised, or in relief, and may then be painted. Plastic lettering is not permitted.
No advertisement or trademark should be inscribed on a headstone. The mason’s name may be inscribed at the side in unleaded letters, no larger than ½ in (13mm) in height.
8. Flowers and Vases
Except where the design of a headstone includes an integral receptacle, any flowers must be placed in a removable container sunk completely into the ground. Small stone vases not exceeding 12 ins. (300mm) x 8 ins. (200mm) x 8 ins. (200mm) may be permitted- Consent for these must be obtained and the appropriate fee paid- The use of plastic and other artificial flowers is not permitted.
9. The Parochial Church Council may level any grave mound at its discretion at any time more than twelve months after the latest interment in the grave.
10. Prior to any headstone being erected, the person responsible for installing that stone shall make the grave free of any dip or mound.
11. Commemoration after cremation and burial of ashes: The Parochial Church Council (PCC) encourages the use of a Book of Remembrance (available at St Peter’s, Inkberrow and St Paul’s, Cookhill). However, individual memorial stones are allowed; they should be of standard material, size and design. Such memorial tablets may be erected vertically or horizontally, and must not exceed 21 ins. (520mm) x 21 ins. (520mm). The total surface of a horizontal stone must be level and flush with the ground.