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 within the churchyard, which is a matter for the Incumbent and PCC to decide at their discretion. Anyone wishing to be buried in a specific plot in a churchyard can only acquire a right to be buried there by obtaining a Faculty to authorise the reservation of an exclusive right of burial in a particular grave.
Please see the page for grave space reservation for details on how to apply to reserve a burial or cremation plot.
Where a churchyard has only limited space remaining for new burials, the PCC may want to explore the possibilities of:
- re-using old parts of the churchyard where there have been no burials for at least 75 years, particularly where there are no memorials or other grave markers (see Guidance for this on the main page for Churchyards & Burials); Or
- acquiring additional land to form a churchyard extension. Often local landowners will be prepared to make available a suitable area of land, sometimes as a gift to the church, to enable burials to continue in the parish. Where this is a possibility, the PCC should seek advice from the Diocesan Registrar about the steps to be taken.