Regulations for the Interment of Ashes in the Churchyard of
St. Andrew and St. Mary the Virgin, Fletching

These directions and rules have been devised with reference to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester’s General Directions concerning churches and churchyards.


The Incumbent and Parochial Church Council understand that most people reading these regulations will be going through a time of particular distress  and are anxious that everything possible should be done to ease the pain.  That is why these regulations have been set out as clearly as possible so that misunderstandings can be avoided.  Obviously, the Incumbent or the Churchwardens would be more than happy to discuss any questions or concerns, but these regulations are designed to ensure that the churchyard remains the special place that it is today, a beloved and important part of the community in Fletching and a place of prayer and reflection in which our historic Church has stood for over one thousand years and of which we are custodians. 

The Churchyard

The Churchyard is the area immediately surrounding the Church.  These regulations apply to the designated area for interments of ashes in the Churchyard.  The Churchyard is closed for burials, but there is a burial ground beyond the Churchyard to the North East, which remains open.  These regulations do not apply to that area, which is the responsibility of the Parish Council and for further information you need to consult the Clerk to the Burial Board.

Who may be interred in the Churchyard

Those who have been either resident in the Parish or whose names appeared on the electoral roll may be interred in the Churchyard, and those others for whom the incumbent gives consent.

The number of interments in each plot

It is perfectly possible for a plot to be used for more than one interment of ashes (although three would be the limit) as long as it is sufficiently deep. It is, therefore, important that you make your request known to the Incumbent or Churchwarden when the plot is used for the first time.  

Some churches allow plots to be re-used after the passage of a certain length of time.  The Parochial Church Council has decided that this would not be appropriate for Fletching, and instead the Churchyard will be closed for further interments once it is full.  This, however, is likely to be many years in the future.

Interment of ashes

The Minister committing the ashes to the earth should normally pour them into the ground from the container in which they were brought to the Churchyard.  However, if preferred they may be interred in containers which are ecologically-friendly, such as wooden boxes.

Interment of ashes is considered permanent and should be treated with the same reverence as a corpse.  This means that once committed to the earth, the ashes cannot be removed.  It is customary for ashes to be treated as a whole for interment. 

Memorial stones

a)Size and materials

Memorial stones are a very important way to commemorate the person whose ashes are interred, but to ensure that they are in keeping with the Churchyard and its environment they must be of a standard size (12” x 12” x2”) and be made of stone, which must be one of the following:

Hopton Wood


Slate:Blue/black (Cornish)
Grey/blue (Welsh)
Green (Westmoreland)

Granite:Light to medium grey


The stone must be flush with the ground.  This is to ensure that the lawn mower can pass easily over it.  To make maintenance as easy as possible, no other objects may be put above the ground.

c)The best time for laying the stone

It is suggested that a memorial stone is not laid until about six months after the interment.  This allows the ground to settle.  Meanwhile, a temporary stone may be put in place by the Churchwardens.


The text and design for a stone must be approved by the Incumbent.  Inscriptions should be simple and must not include photographs or portraits.  This is simply to ensure that nothing is done which is not in keeping with the historic environment of the Churchyard.


Application for a memorial stone should be made using the standard form, available from Funeral Directors.

Vases and flowers

The marking of graves with flowers is a very important part of remembering a loved one.  Vases are therefore warmly welcomed.  They must be fitted flush with the ground so that the lawn mower can pass over them when they are empty.  No mementoes, windmills or toys may be placed around the grave.

Wreaths and cut flowers will be removed when they have withered by those who care for the Churchyard.  Except for Remembrance Day poppies, no artificial flowers or foliage are allowed and will be removed.

A gift for the Church in memory

If it is wished to make a gift to the Church in memory of a loved one, then do please contact the Incumbent or the Churchwardens, who will be able to make suitable suggestions.