St Mary Magdalene Church Policies


For those who have a legal right to have their remains interred in the churchyard, i.e. [a] persons resident in the parish; [b] persons whose names are on the church electoral roll of the Parish at the time of their death; [c] persons dying in the parish. In addition, [d] for any other person to the burial of whose remains the Incumbent  consents (in giving such consent, 

the Incumbent shall have regard to any  general guidance given by the PCC; consent will only be given sparingly.) 

-  Ashes will be interred directly into the ground by a Church of England minister: no containers can be used.  

-  There will be no individual memorial or marker. The PCC will keep  accurate records of the location of ashes, the date of burial and the  name of the deceased. 

A memorial plaque can be placed on the Memorial tablet if required: 

-  The memorial plaques will be affixed to the Memorial tablet by the stonemason. 

-  Plaques will be of a standard size. 

-  The Inscriptions will all have standard lettering and form: the name of  the deceased and full dates of birth and death only, as follows:


                                                           Margaret Young 

                                              8th March 1931 – 10th May 1980 

- Fresh flowers will be placed in the flower holders each week. 

(Individuals may request particular flowers to mark anniversaries etc at their own expense. Any such requests must be made through the church wardens). 

- No artificial flowers or other tokens will be allowed. This is in  accordance with the Graveyard regulations of Chelmsford diocese. We plan  to encourage compliance with these rules throughout the church and graveyard over time.


- Burial of ashes - the statutory fee set out by Parliament is £162 (in 2019) 

- The fee for attaching of a commemorative plaque to the memorial stone - including a contribution to the future upkeep of the Garden of  Remembrance – is £420 (in 2019) (Unlike at Parndon Wood, this is  effectively in perpetuity.) 

Both fees are subject to increases in future  years and payment should be made in advance. 

- Please contact Fr James Rodley (Vicar) on 01279-451065 or if you would like to discuss the interment of cremated remains or a memorial plaque.



St Mary Magdalene has a new area in the churchyard for the burial of ashes (Garden of Remembrance)

The establishment of the new area is an opportunity to make improvements to the churchyard and to ensure that we comply with Diocesan regulations. 

These regulations are not just ‘petty bureaucracy’ - they exist to preserve our churchyards as places of peace and tranquillity, where wildlife can flourish and visitors can feel close to God.  What we may  think is appropriate, may offend someone else tending the next plot. The regulations keep everybody to the same standards. They make the churchyard easier to manage, uncluttered and tidy. 

We really appreciate that people have expended much time and care maintaining their loved ones’ plots. Regular visitors may have noticed  that the churchyard maintenance has improved recently, thanks to the Probation Service Community Payback team and our volunteers. But we also need the support of churchyard visitors and those who look after graves to keep the churchyard a special place.  

In order to make sure our churchyards remain these special places of peace and  remembrance for everyone, now and in the future, English church law sets down rules and regulations. Each church, like St Mary Magdalene, is  responsible for making sure that our churchyard follows those legal  requirements. 

(For full details see the Diocesan Churchyard Handbook: this may be inspected on request to the Vicar or churchwardens, or  obtained from the Diocesan Office at 53 New Street, Chelmsford CM1 1AT, tel: 01245 294400 or 

Over the years, people have made changes and modifications to graves and to  ashes burial plots. As more people have made changes, others have followed suit. That’s meant there are now quite a number of items in our  churchyard that are not allowed including:  

-  monuments such as  statues or other stonework that have not been specifically approved by  faculty (legal permission) from the Diocese of Chelmsford. 

-  candles, wind chimes and other decorations.

-  artificial flowers (these are not allowed because they are not natural and can endanger wildlife).

-  extra plants and shrubs in pots on top of plots, make it impossible  to mow the grass and keep the churchyard looking its best. (With legal  permission, flower holders can be inlaid into gravestones).


What changes will we make, and when? 

What we are trying to do is to make sure our churchyard is always a place of quiet and repose, holy  ground where comfort is drawn from the peace provided by being close to God and to his church.  The rules and regulations we have to follow are there to help us to do this. That does mean that we are asking families to make changes to those graves and plots where, for all sorts of reasons, the regulations have not been observed. We understand that this is a very sensitive issue, and so we are happy to offer whatever pastoral support you might need. 

Please also ask if you are unsure what is allowed and what isn’t. 

So we request respectfully that all unauthorised structures, decorations, artificial flowers and extra pot  plants be removed by 31st July 2018. Any items left over by 31st October 2018, will be removed, labelled and bagged/boxed for collection by families within 12 months.  

We also ask, on a continuing basis, that: 

-  Plastic wrappings must be removed from flowers. 

-  All rubbish and discarded plants must be removed. 

Note  that ashes plots in the new created remains area will not be  individually marked or have tablets on them.  There is a single memorial  tablet on which names will be recorded, where required. The PCC will  keep accurate records of the location of ashes, the date of burial and  the name of the deceased. Please ask for more details about the new  Garden of Remembrance if you are interested. 

We’d like to  thank everybody involved in the churchyard for their understanding and  cooperation while we make these changes to improve the churchyard.  

Guidelines agreed by the PCC in May 2018 

Our churchyards are not just here for now, for us to have a personal memorial to those we love; they are here for everyone to enjoy, and for future generations.  

So please help us to “keep the peace.”