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Churchyard Regulations 2005

The 2005 Churchyard Regulations are a step forward from previous legislation in that:

  1. An attempt has been made to use plain English rather than legal-speak
  2. Incumbents are given greater freedom with memorials
  3. Information about churchyard management matters is included with the regulations 
  4. Perhaps the most important single change is that giving the newly-bereaved just the most immediately relevant sections from the regulations is encouraged

These Regulations are issued by the Chancellor of the Diocese after consultation with the Bishop of Guildford, the Archdeacons and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC). Any query should be referred to the Diocesan Registrar. The addresses of the Registrar and the Secretary of the DAC can be found below. The Regulations apply generally to all churchyards in the Diocese of Guildford, unless the Chancellor has, at the request of the Incumbent and the Parochial Church Council (PCC), agreed a special Scheme to meet particular local circumstances.

These Regulations replace the Churchyard Regulations 1981 and came into force on January 1st 2005. A copy of these Regulations shall be kept in the vestry of every church where burial rights exist, or there is an area set aside by Faculty for the interment of cremated remains, and it should be available for inspection.

A notice, issued by the Registrar drawing attention to these Regulations, shall at all times be displayed in the church porch or on the notice board.


  • The Churchyards Handbook (4th Ed) published in 2001 by Church House Publishing, Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3NZ
  • The Association of Burial Authorities / Zurich Municipal Guide to Safety in Burial Grounds

Useful Addresses

The Secretary, Diocesan Advisory Committee, Diocesan House, Quarry Street, Guildford GU1 3XG Tel: 01483 790313

The Registrar, The Bishop of Guildford's Registry, 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3JT Tel: 0207 222 5381 Fax: 0207 222 7502

The Coroners Unit, Ministry of Justice, 5th Floor, Steel House, 11 Tothill Street, London SW1H 9LH Tel: 0207 210 0066

The Arboricultural Association (maintains a directory of Consultants), Ampfield House, Ampfield, Romsey SO51 9AP Tel: 01794 368717

Arboricultural advice can also be obtained from the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley (Tel: 01483 224234) and from Merrist Wood College of Agriculture and Horticulture (Tel: 01483 884000).

Churchyard Regulations Introduction

  1. The purpose of these regulations is to summarise the relevant law relating to churchyards; Provide a framework of rules, so that the beauty of our churchyard heritage is maintained.; Give practical guidance for Health and Safety, as well as maintenance issues. The churchyard is the setting for the Parish Church and it needs to be a place where people can be quiet, remember and pray, without the distraction of things that are unsightly or inappropriate.
  2. Because this document contains rules, it is difficult to make it reader-friendly. It also contains rules for matters which seldom concern the bereaved (for example, Exhumations, Trees in Churchyards). What is needed, therefore, is an 'Extract from the Regulations' which is relevant to the bereaved particular to the parish. PCCs can help their Incumbents (who have at times a very delicate pastoral duty to discharge in discussing with bereaved relatives the appropriate type of memorial), by creating their own 'Extract'. A model 'Extract' is included as Appendix D.
  3. The word 'Incumbent' is used in these regulations to refer to the Vicar, Rector, Priest-in-Charge, Team Vicar or, in the case of a vacancy, the Rural Dean. It does not include the Curate, who does not have the Incumbent's delegated authority.

SAFEGUARDING The Diocese does not tolerate abuse of any kind. Enquiries
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