High Street,
Essex CO7 6DE

Dedham and Ardleigh Parishes Office at The Assembly Rooms
Tel: 01206 322136
Email: Opens in separate window


Our Churchyard

The Vicar writes:
The churchyard is an important place within this community. It is not only a place of rest for the remains of loved ones who have died, it is also a ministry to their living and bereaved relatives and friends. For this reason there are Diocesan Regulations which guard the space from misuse and keep the area safe for those who mourn, as well as those who maintain it. From time to time our village has to be reminded of the existence of these regulations, in order to avoid misunderstanding or unnecessarily hurt feelings.

No memorial of any kind may be placed in the churchyard without written permission. This permission must be given by me (in my absence, the Rural Dean) in writing or, in the case of those memorials which fall outside of the 'standard' type, by the Chancellor of the Diocese. In the raw period just after a bereavement, people may leave all manner of things on a grave but these will have to be removed. Please do not blame our groundsman. He is only doing what he is required to do. The only permanent memorials are those which have been given written permission, following a formal application for the same. For reasons of the safety of our maintenance staff, at no time should anything made of glass or plastic be placed on or near a grave.

Only real flowers are permitted. These should be placed on the grave without paper, cellophane or plastic wrapping. The exceptions to this "real flowers" rule are poppies in November, and Advent wreaths nearer to Christmas, and these should be removed within a month of them being placed on the grave.

Because of the longterm maintenance implications, these may not be planted without permission (any that are will be removed).

For safety reasons the only kind of flower vases permitted are those made of stone or metal. Where these are not an integral part of a stone memorial then separate permission for them must be obtained. Glass and plastic vases will be removed.

No other kinds of ornament are permitted on any grave in our country churchyard. Thus toys, balloons, candles, lights, pictures or garden ornaments (all of which have been placed in our churchyard in recent years) will be removed. If this causes offence, please try to appreciate that the grave you tend is not in a private space such as a garden, but in a public space; one which has to be maintained safely and in a way that pleases the many other people who must share the space with you. This is why there are churchyard regulations, and also why I have given instruction for them to be maintained.

Please be aware that, as part of the periodic maintenance of our church burial grounds, a general schedule of clearing has (or will) include the removal of the following from graves:

- all memorials and shrubbery placed without permission
- all flower containers or tributes that are not made of stone; - including those made of plastic, glass, china, porcelain, terracotta or cloth material
- all wire, nylon or plastic netting
- all artificial flowers
- grave borders of wood or metal
- and, after a year, all earth mounds or extensions beyond the footprint of an authorised memorial.

Small tokens placed at the foot of a memorial stone may be left for a short while (for example, to mark special anniversaries) but these are not allowed to be placed permanently, so in due course they may be removed without further notice.

Whereas some leeway is given to the recently bereaved, after a year all votives, memorials and floral tributes must be within Diocesan regulations, a copy of may be obtained from the Parish Office, or at: http://www.chelmsford.anglican.org/uploads/Churchyard-Handbook.pdfOpen in a new tab/window

This work is done for the overall appearance of our much-loved country churchyard, as well as for the safety of those who have to maintain it and to visit it. If you have any cause for concern about a particular grave, please contact the Parish Office