Guidance for Funeral Directors

As reviewed by the Chancellor of Chichester Diocese and agreed by the PCC in July 2022.


PLEASE NOTE THAT ASHES SHOULD BE ‘POURED’ FROM A VESSEL DIRECTLY INTO THE GROUND. No container should be buried. However, if the family require a container then it should be biodegradable, such as paper or cardboard. Small caskets – of wood or metal – are not permitted.


  • Size

No more than 4ft nor less than 2ft 6in high (1200mm,750mm); in the case of a burial of ashes, headstones should be no more than 21in high (535mm) nor less than 18in (460mm).

No more than 3ft nor less than 1ft 8in wide (900mm, 500mm); in the case of a burial of ashes, headstones should be no more than 16in wide (400mm) nor less that 15in (380mm).

No more than 6in nor less than 3in thick (150mm, 75mm), unless slate is to be used in which case a thickness of 2in (50mm) is permitted;

In the case of infant burials, headstones must be no less than 2ft x 1ft 3in x 2in (600mmx 375mm x 50mm).

A base forming an integral part of the design of a headstone may be included, provided it does not project more than 2in (50mm) beyond the headstone in any direction and provided that it is fixed on a foundation slab of an approved material which itself is fixed flush with the ground and extending 3in to 5in (75mm to 125mm) all round so that a mower may freely pass over it.

Up to two integral sockets for flower vases are permitted in bases, in which case the base shall be of the following dimensions: Height (from ground) 3 ins (min) to 6 ins (max) Width 2ft (min) to 3ft (max) Depth 10 ins (min) to 1ft (max)

  • Materials

The following stone is permitted: Limestone: Portland Hornton Purbeck or Horsham Nabresina Derbyshire Caen/Normandy Hopton Wood Aura/Aurisina Sandstone: York Slate: Blue/Black (Cornish) Green (Westmoreland) Grey/Blue (Welsh) Granite: Light to medium grey

  • Position

No memorial may be erected within 5 yards (4.57 metres) of the outer wall of the church building save by authority of a faculty.

  • Appearance

Polished stone or mirror finish is not permitted.

Coloured lettering is not permitted save as follows: Nabresina limestone may have the lettering picked out in contrasting matt;

Slate may have the lettering picked out in off-white matt;

Granite may have the lettering picked out in off white matt.

  • Inscriptions

Incumbents should require an accurate design of the proposed inscription before approving an application. Photographs or representations of objects or motifs such as a child’s toy are not permitted nor the use of ‘pet names’. Bronze or ceramic inserts are not to be used. Badges, crests or emblems may be used provided they are seemly and appropriate for the deceased. Any representation will need to be designed so that it may be accurately cut by a skilled craftsman. Masons’ or carpenters’ names, signs or marks may be inscribed on any monument provided their position and appearance are unobtrusive having regard to the monument as a whole.

  • Fixture

Regard must be had to health and safety concerns, and to current industry standards for the fixing of monuments safely and securely.


An incumbent may NOT consent to the introduction of a cross, for crosses have been too freely used in burial grounds in the past. Such monuments require a high standard of design. However, the incumbent may authorise the temporary introduction of a simple wooden cross to mark a recent burial. A brass plaque bearing the name and dates of the deceased may be affixed to the cross. Such cross must be removed upon the erection of a stone memorial or after a period of 18 months, whichever be the sooner.


For the avoidance of doubt, the following are not permitted:

  1. kerbs, railings, fencing or chippings;
  2. memorials in the shape of vases, hearts, open books;
  3. memorials incorporating photographs or portraits;
  4.  mementoes, windmills, toys or little animals;
  5.  the use of ‘pet names’
  6.  artificial flowers.

Extract from Diocese of Chichester CHURCHYARD REGULATIONS Issue 5 April 2020 (as amended by the PCC and agreed by the Chancellor).