A parishioner has a right to be buried in the churchyard of the parish in which he or she resides, provided that it has not been closed for burials by Order in Council, and provided that there is still room for burial. However, a parishioner does not have a right to be buried in a particular place, which is a matter for the Minister to decide at his or her sole discretion. Anyone wishing to be buried in a particular place in a churchyard can only acquire a right to be buried there by obtaining a Faculty to authorize the reservation of an exclusive right of burial in a particular grave. There is a special Petition form to apply to reserve a grave space, available from the Diocesan Registrar’s office.
An applicant should complete the front of the application and ask the minister (or, if there is no Minister, the Rural Dean) to complete the reverse of the form. The grave to be reserved should be referred to by row and number on a churchyard plan. If there is no churchyard plan kept at the church, a sketch plan should be attached to the application showing the position of the grave to be reserved, with sufficient measurements from fixed points to enable the grave to be accurately identified. The completed form should then be sent to the Registrar.
A fee is payable on lodging the Petition. The current Diocesan Registry fee is £249.60, and applies whether the application is for a normal grave space or for a plot for the interment of cremated remains. This fee is normally revised on 1 January each year. The appropriate fee is the fee applicable at the time when the Petition is lodged in the Registry, not when the Faculty is granted.
The Petition will be sent to the Chancellor of the Diocese, who will normally direct that Public Notices are published at the church, to give notice of the application to parishioners and an opportunity for objections. The notices have to be displayed for 28 days. If no notices of objection are received by the Registrar, the Chancellor will normally direct the grant of a Faculty. A fee may be payable to the Parochial Church Council where a grave space or cremation plot are reserved to cover future maintenance of the reserved plot.
Where, for example, husband and wife desire to be buried together, they may either (a) make one application for the right for both to be buried in the same grave, in which case only one set of fees is payable, or (b) make separate applications for the reservation of two adjoining grave spaces, in which case the above fees may be payable in respect of each separate application.
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