Burial in a churchyard
The Church of England has issued guidance on the rights of people to be buried in the churchyard or burial ground of the parish in which they live.
Right of burial
Under common law all parishioners and inhabitants have the right to be buried in the churchyard or burial ground of the parish in which they reside. Anyone who dies in a parish is also entitled irrespective the length of time they have lived there.
The right of burial also extends to people on the church electoral register at the time of their death even if otherwise they have no right to be buried in the parish.
You should note that this right of burial also extends to the burial of a person’s cremated remains.
Reserving a grave space
There is, however, no right to be buried in a specific part of a churchyard or burial ground. Unless a person, with the right of burial in a parish, reserves a grave space, the selection of the grave will be at the discretion of the incumbent or priest in charge of the parish.
Major problem arising
An increasing number of parishes do not have facilities for burial.
Speak to the priest or incumbent
If the deceased person wanted to be buried in a specific churchyard or burial ground then you should speak to the incumbent or priest of the parish. They will be able to confirm if the person is entitled to be buried there and whether a grave space has been reserved.
They will also be able to confirm the process involved and the arrangements that will need to be made.
The information which we provide through Lasting Post is in outline for information or educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. We cannot guarantee that information provided by Lasting Post will meet your individual needs, as this will very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should therefore use the information only as a starting point for your enquiries.