Graves and gravestones
The Diocese of Chelmsford lays down Regulations about graves and gravestones that apply to every parish in the diocese. The Regulations have changed considerably over the years, and will no doubt continue to do so, so existing headstones are not a guide as to what may be permissible today. For the outline guidance click on Churchyard Handbook November 2012 or request a copy of the 'Churchyard Handbook' from the Diocesan Resource Centre (phone 01245 294405). The Rector and Churchwardens will also be glad to advise you.
Looking after graves
Many bereaved people find that looking after the grave is a comforting or healing activity, and we encourage this. However, please be aware that the Diocese has strict rules about flowers on graves, and about planting bulbs and other vegetation on the grave. The intention is that all the materials in the churchyard should be in tune with nature, and therefore alive and fresh, as far as possible. Fresh flowers, or cuttings from shrubs or bushes, may be placed in a vase near to the headstone. Plastic or other artificial flowers are not allowed. However, an exception is made for poppies at the time of Remembrance Sunday, and for wreaths at Christmas for a maximum of fourteen days.
Please do not make any changes to the general look of a grave without permission. Many old graves have kerbstones around them, and you may think that white chippings are attractive, but to add kerbs or chippings to an existing grave is prohibited without application to the Registrar at Chelmsford. Even then, permission is likely to be declined (and the cost of an application is over £100).