In Elmdon Park, Solihull

Churchyard questions

We have tried to answer below the most commonly asked questions about our churchyard, and hope this will be useful. Click on a question to view the answer.

Please do get in touch with any further queries.

Graves and plots

Elmdon Churchyard has both full sized graves for burial in a coffin, and “Garden of Remembrance” areas where cremated remains (ashes) may be buried.

Who can be buried in Elmdon Churchyard in a full sized grave?

We have a very limited number of new full sized graves remaining. New full sized graves are available for those who have the legal right to be buried here – those who:

We treat those who have moved into a residential care home from a former home within the parish as if they were residents in the parish.

See also:

Who can be buried in Elmdon Churchyard in the Garden of Remembrance?

New plots in our Garden of Remembrance, for burial of cremated remains, are available to those who have the legal right to be buried here – those who:

In addition, the Rector has discretion to give permission for a new plot in the garden of remembrance for:

  • Those who at some time of their life would have had the right to burial in Elmdon churchyard
  • Those who were baptised, confirmed or married at Elmdon Church
  • Those with an immediate family member (spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling or child) buried in an existing plot where there is no further space for an additional burial
  • Those on the Church Electoral Roll of the parish of St Mary’s Hobs Moat
  • In very exceptional pastoral circumstances

We treat those who have moved into a residential care home from a former home within the parish as if they were residents in the parish.

See also:

Can another person be buried in our existing plot or grave?

Further burials can take place within an existing family plot or grave, so long as there is space available, irrespective of whether the person to be buried themselves had the legal right to burial in the churchyard.

Please get in touch with details to allow us to locate your plot (name and approximate date of previous burial), and we will be able to check our records to see if there is space for a further burial.

In some cases it may be necessary for the ground to be “rodded” – this is an unobtrusive method of testing the depth of a grave using a metal rod, without having to open the grave.

Can I reserve/buy a grave or plot?

Due to the limited space remaining within the Churchyard, it is not our practice to reserve graves or plots in advance.

There are a small number of remaining informal reservations from the 1960s and 1970s, which will be honoured for as long as possible.

When a new grave or plot is needed, we will allocate its location, normally in the next available space.

It is important to understand that, in a Church of England Churchyard, you do not purchase a grave or plot, or own the “exclusive right of burial”. (This is quite different to how things work in a council-owned cemetery.)

Can you help me to find a grave or plot?

Yes – get in contact with as much information as possible (ideally full name and approximate date of burial) and we will search for you.

For more complex and time-consuming searches there may be a fee.

What will happen when all the space is used up?

Once the remaining full-sized graves have been used up, the Churchyard will need to be closed to further burials through a legal consultation process, leading to a decision by the Privy Council.

If this happens, further burials in existing graves, and new plots for burials of ashes, would still be possible.


How do we organise burial in a full-sized plot?

Ask your funeral director to contact us using our online Funeral Enquiry Form, and we will be in touch with them to arrange details of the funeral service and burial.

How do we organise burying my relative’s ashes?

Either you or your funeral director should contact us using our online Burial of Ashes Enquiry Form, and we will be in touch to arrange the burial of ashes.

See also:

Can I bury the ashes myself?

No. We are required to record details of everyone whose remains are buried in the churchyard, and so must be involved when your relative is buried. Please contact us using our online Burial of Ashes Enquiry Form.

Also, please note that it is against the law to scatter ashes in the churchyard – they must be buried.

What happens when the ashes are buried?

We will dig a new plot or reopen your existing family plot. One of our ministers will lead a short service in the churchyard, during which there will be a Bible reading and prayers, your relative’s remains will be placed in the plot and committed to the ground, trusting in the Christian hope of resurrection to eternal life.

Do the ashes need to be in any particular container?

Your loved one’s ashes can simply be poured into the ground, or buried in a biodegradable container (e.g. paper, cardboard or softwood). If required, your funeral director should be able to supply a suitable container.

New plots for burial of ashes measure 18” x 9” and the container needs to fit easily into this space, with room to spare. Please let us know its dimensions several days in advance of the service.

Some older existing plots are smaller than this, and in these plots ashes may need to be poured into the ground.

What are the fees for?

The fees are set by the General Synod of the Church of England and contribute towards the cost of the minister’s time, our administrative processes, and a contribution towards future maintenance of the churchyard.


How do I organise a plaque or headstone in the churchyard?

Your first port of call should be with a memorial mason, who will help you to think through options, and give you an indication of costs.

They should be familiar with the Churchyard Regulations for the Diocese of Birmingham, and are welcome to contact us if any advice or clarification is needed on this.

Once you are ready to proceed, the memorial mason will contact us to seek formal permission to introduce your headstone or plaque.

Do I need to have a memorial before the burial takes place?

It is normal for the person’s remains to be buried first, and the memorial installed at a later date. For full size graves you must wait at least six months before a headstone can be installed, to allow the ground to settle.

For an existing plot, what happens to the memorial when a new burial takes place? Do we have to move it?

For a plot containing cremated remains, we will remove the existing memorial temporarily before digging, and replace it after the service.

For burial in a full-sized grave, your funeral director will need to arrange for the existing headstone to be removed before the grave is dug.

Which memorial masons can I use for a memorial?

You can use any memorial mason. We work regularly with a number of local firms who know the Churchyard regulations and have the correct form to apply for permission. Please contact us if you need more advice.

How do we apply for permission to install a memorial?

Your memorial mason will apply on your behalf, and arrange for payment of the fee.

What are the rules for what sort of memorial we can have?

To summarise briefly the current diocesan regulations, as they apply in Elmdon Churchyard: 


Headstones on full-sized graves must be in the shape of an upright headstone or of a book, basically rectangular in shape with the top edge flat or in the shape of a cross. There must not be a sculptured figure protruding from the top of the headstone.

It should be no larger than 4’ 1” x 2’ 2” x 0’ 4” (1.25m x 0.65m x 0.11m) and no smaller than 2’ 0” x 1’ 8” x 0’ 3” (0.60m x 0.50m x 0.08m). It may stand on a stone base that does not project more than 0’ 4” (0.11m). If a vase hole is included, the front of the base may extend 0’ 7” (0.18m) in front of the stone.

Diagram of a headstone showing the permitted maximum and minimum dimensions as described in the preceding paragraph.

Cremation Plaques

New plots for burial of ashes measure 18” x 9” (0.46m x 0.23m), and this is the maximum size of plaque for these plots. Some older existing plots are smaller than this, normally 9” x 9” (0.23m x 0.23m). Your plaque will be laid flush with the ground. 

Type of stone

Memorials should be a natural stone that is in sympathy with the church building, or light or dark grey granite are also permitted. Black is not allowed.

Wording and other details

The wording you choose must include the full names of the person buried, with their dates or years of birth and death. The lettering can be either uncoloured, or white – but not silver or gold. Any additional wording will need our approval. (In particular, your wording needs to be consistent with Christian scripture, teaching and doctrine.) Do consider whether you need to leave space on the memorial for future use.

Any request for a decorative carving in addition to the words will need to be made through the “faculty” process as we are not allowed to authorise this locally. This involves applying through the Consistory Court and the process is costly and time-consuming, and may not be successful.

Why is there a fee for applying for a memorial?

Before your memorial can be approved we are required to check the details against our records, and ensure that your proposal fits within the parameters we are allowed to authorise under the Churchyard Regulations.

The fee covers our admin time checking your application, together with a contribution towards churchyard maintenance.

If your memorial cannot be approved by ourselves, because it falls outside the parameters we are allowed to authorise, it is possible to apply through the “faculty” process. This involves applying through the Consistory Court and the process is costly and time-consuming, and may not be successful. In this case, the standard fees apply in addition to the court costs.

How do I get another name added to a memorial?

Contact your memorial mason; they will apply to us on your behalf for permission, and arrange for payment of the fee.

Can I have a memorial plaque for someone who isn’t buried here?

In some cases where there is a family memorial in the churchyard, you may wish to add the name of a family member who is not buried here. (For example, there is a grave near the church building which includes the name of a family member who died during the First World War and has no known grave.)

We would not do this unless you already have a family memorial to which the name could be added.


Can I leave flowers, plants and ornaments on our plot?

Under the Churchyard regulations, cut flowers may be left on a grave, but must be cleared away when they die. Bulbs and small plants may be planted on graves with the permission of the rector. No artificial flowers may be placed on a grave except for Remembrance Day poppies. No teddy bears, photographs, balloons or other sentimental items should be left on a grave.

Can I put artificial grass/stone chippings/kerbs on my relative’s grave?

These are not permitted under the Churchyard Regulations for the Diocese of Birmingham, and they can make the job of our churchyard maintenance volunteers more difficult and dangerous.

Do not install artificial grass, stone chippings, kerbs, railings or lighting in the churchyard.

Who maintains the churchyard and our plot and memorial?

The churchyard is maintained by a dedicated team of volunteers who would welcome your help!

Maintenance of your memorial remains the responsibility of your family.

An older area of the churchyard, near the church building, is kept as a wildflower area and cut once a year.

It is never acceptable to verbally abuse or threaten our churchyard volunteers.