St Mary's Churchyard is a large area of land surrounding the church building on all sides, extended in 2007 to provide a further one-and-a-half acres on the north side. The churchyard is maintained by a small but dedicated group of volunteers led by the Churchyard Committee. The Committee meets twice a year in March and October and is made up of the following members:
Enquiries about the churchyard may be addressed to any member of the committee.
As well as graves of civilian and military parishioners, the churchyard includes a Garden of Remembrance for the interment of cremated remains.
Graves are marked with a simple wooden cross at the time of interment, and a small mound of earth will usually be left. After about a year the grave should be levelled, and it is at this time that application may be made to the incumbent for the introduction of a memorial.
All memorials and any other items placed in the churchyard must comply with the Churchyard Regulations 2004, which describe in helpful detail which types of memorial are permitted as well as the materials which may be used. The regulations encourage fresh flowers (which must be placed in a vase of permitted stone) as symbols of the gift of creation and the planting of annual flowers and bulbs as symbols of resurrection, but discourage artificial flowers. Please note that plastic and glass containers are not permitted, as they are safety hazards; grave surrounds pose a trip hazard and are also therefore not permitted. A copy of the regulations is displayed on the church noticeboard and may also be downloaded from the diocesan website: Churchyard Regulations.
Please keep dogs on a leash and ensure that any dog mess is cleared up and removed.
Visitors and families of the deceased can help enormously with the task of maintaining the churchyard by observing these few simple regulations, so that the churchyard can remain a place of peace, dignity and respect for the departed.
St Mary's Churchyard hasn't always been as well-kept and tidy as you'll find it today, but thanks to the hard work of our volunteers we now have a churchyard we can take pride in. A lot of work was carried out on the Garden of Rest in particular, as well as elsewhere, from 2010 to 2011: see our Before and After Gallery to find out more.
Churchyard working parties are held at various times throughout the year to trim back vegetation and clear weeds and debris: more helpers are always very welcome, especially in the autumn when the leaves need to be cleared up. Please keep an eye on the weekly notice sheet for dates and times. Please bring your own tools, work gloves and other equipment whenever possible.
A number of large bins are positioned around the churchyard, and each one is clearly marked for the types of material which may be disposed of in it: please ensure that you use the correct bins for compostable, recyclable or non-recyclable materials.