Churchyard Information

Friends of Kirk Hallam Church

Our next AGM is on Tuesday 25th April 2023 at 7.00pm in church – everyone is was welcome to attend.

Guide for Burials & Interment of Ashes


Saying ‘goodbye’ to a loved one is never easy.  We don’t always know what they would want for their funeral or if they would prefer to be buried or cremated.  On this page  you will find some of the facts about having your loved one either buried or interred in All Saints Churchyard, remembering that it is a Christian Churchyard and therefore different to a council run cemetery. 


This term is used to mean the person being laid to rest into a full grave as a whole, intact body.  At Kirk Hallam we are blessed with having the space for hundreds of burials for the years to come. 

Digging a grave out is actually a hard and technical job.  A grave can only be dug by someone given permission to do so by the Vicar.  The local funeral directors in Ilkeston know the ones who are authorised so they can arrange this.  In Kirk Hallam we can generally have a grave dug to a double depth and maybe in some places even a little deeper.  The grave digger will only dig where the Vicar has stated, so if a grave is reserved (details on how to reserve a grave in this leaflet) it will only be used for the person who has it legally reserved.  The Vicar will liaise with the family about where the next available space is, graves are normally dug in chronological order but exemptions can occasional be made for pastoral reasons. 

Even when your loved one is buried, you don’t actually own the land, it is still the church’s land, but you are expected to maintain the grave monument.  Depending on the lay of the land monuments can be erected after a period of no less than 6 months. 

There are strict rules about what grave monuments are permitted in All Saints Churchyard.  For graves the monuments have to be honed dark grey stone, of a set size, with a limited range of permitted shapes, the colour of the lettering is restricted, as indeed the wording or symbols that can be used.  Before any monument can be erected each one needs permission from the Vicar.  Stone masons are used to doing this for you.  

Flowers – fresh, or silk are permitted on the grave plinths, not on the grass.  Plastic flowers are not permitted by the Church of England.  Please do not leave anything else on the graves such as photos, toys, ornaments etc. they are not permitted and may be removed.  Things do get taken off graves, it is not possible to secure the area.  This may cause you distress, so please don’t leave anything on the grave or plot.  The safety of other visitors to the churchyard has to be taken on board, so anything glass will be removed straight away.

At Christmas only wreaths are permitted (not decorative arches around the monument or festive trees behind it) and any Christmas wreaths need to be removed by Candlemas, anything else is in breach of the rules and may be removed. 

Interring Ashes

We are not permitted to scatter ashes in the Churchyard.  Any scattered ashes that are found will be immediately removed, it’s very distressing because ashes do not dissolve into the soil, rather they clump, becoming very obvious in the Churchyard, it is not a dignified end for a loved one.  

Ashes can be interred in caskets, or boxes or cardboard tubes, your Funeral Director will have a variety of possibilities for you to choose.  In general ashes plots can be dug to a double depth, but depending on tree roots it may not always be possible.   

Plots should have a stone plaque, laid ideally at the same time as the ashes are interred.  Again there are rules about which stone can be used, lettering and symbols.  Your stone mason will be able to advise you on what is acceptable at Kirk Hallam.  As with graves, fresh flowers are permitted and some silk flowers but nothing else except a wreath at Christmas which should be removed by Candlemas.

Myth Busting…

‘How can I plant a tree or have a new bench in memory of a loved one?

This would have to have permission via a ‘Faculty’ from the Diocese of Derby.  Currently we are not able to plant any more trees or install any more benches in the Churchyard.

I’ve seen an ashes plot with kerb stones, so I want them for my loved one’s plot’

It may be correct in an older part of the churchyard you’ve seen something different that you like, but that doesn’t set a president, the rules have changed and are quite tight, hence the Vicar can only authorise what is permitted now, rather than what was permitted 50 years ago.

‘Its my land, I can do what I want for my loved one’s grave’

No, it isn’t.  You have paid for a loved one to be laid to rest, the land is still owned by the church and managed by the Parochial Church Council and Church Wardens in the absence of an incumbent.  You will, like everyone else, need to adhere to the rules of the Church of England and the Diocese of Derby.

‘I wish I’d never buried my loved one there, I want to have her buried somewhere else’

When someone or their ashes is laid to rest in a Churchyard, it is for ever.  You may move home to another part of the country but that doesn’t mean you can move your loved one’s mortal remains.  To exhume a body is a lengthy, in-depth legal process requiring a license from the Home Office.  The first step in this process is to arrange to talk to the incumbent.

‘The new grave hasn’t settled. Can I re-turf my loved one’s grave?’

Please leave the maintenance of your loved one’s grave to the Church’s volunteers, different graves take longer to settle, also the weather can affect the time.  Graves take time to settle, and if the ground dips the gardeners are experienced at filling it in. 

‘I’m researching my family history; do you have the historic records?’

We only have the current registers in church, all the older ones are stored at the County Archives at Matlock, please contact them to make an appointment to view the relevant documents. 


We want the Churchyard to be a place of comfort and peace for everyone, as well as a safe space, physically and spiritually.  Everyone is welcome to sit, pray and reflect on the beautiful views.  

Our volunteer gardeners do an amazing job of looking after our beautiful Churchyard and make it a place of peace.  But it is not easy, we need more volunteers, if you have time in the mornings to spare (they start at 8am) then please phone Rev’d Christine on 0115 7831793