Church Buildings

Image of a single storey church on a hillside

Church buildings and graveyards can be sources of great inspiration and are clearly greatly valued in many ways by local communities. In some parts of the diocese, churches combine roles of being centres or landmarks of faith with being the sole open and accessible building where people can gather for religious worship or community events. Whilst historic church buildings require regular maintenance and repair, developing and enhancing what is there can offer a future sustainable use for much-loved buildings and their continuity can help bring stability and focus to our communities.

Guidance & Policies

Support is available for clergy, churchwardens and others who manage and maintain historic church buildings.

Links to further areas of resources and information

Other websites that might be useful for parishes

Useful links and resources

 
Churchyards & Memorials

Churchyards are set apart for the reverent burial of parishioners: those whose names are on the church Electoral Roll and those who die in the Parish. These churchyards are therefore part of our Christian faith and heritage and are, usually, full of character. But, like people, they are all different. Just as a memorial that might be entirely suitable for one person would be altogether wrong for someone else, so a headstone that is appropriate in one churchyard may be unsuitable for another. So a memorial should respect its surroundings.

It should be in harmony with those around it and with the churchyard as a whole. The character of the churchyard depends on that of all the memorials within it: no one of those should spoil that general appearance.

Churchyards have to be maintained by the parish for centuries to come. This means that memorials should be designed to allow for that maintenance to be as simple as possible. That is why kerbed surroundings, railings, chains and chippings are not allowed. Inscriptions should be the most appropriate in all the circumstances, accurately commemorating the person who has died. Wording and symbols are best kept simple and dignified.

You will want the very best to commemorate your loved one, so do not become totally committed to any particular idea until you have thought it through carefully and do not actually commission any work until you have the Vicar’s formal approval. You would be in a very difficult position if permission were not given for a memorial that had already been completed. The Vicar is only allowed to approve monuments which comply with the Regulations set out in the download. These Regulations are intended to encourage good practices
in order to create and maintain a place of peace, dignity and respect for the departed.

Churchyard Regulations

Memorials

You can apply to introduce a memorial into a Churchyard - please download the Memorial application form

 
Quinquennial Inspections of Church Buildings

Every parish must appoint an Inspecting Architect or Surveyor, chosen by the PCC from the approved list and agreed with the DAC, to inspect its building every five years. The Architect or Surveyor should be consulted about all but minor matters and will normally be the architect for all major alterations or extensions. For guidance on how to go about appointing an inspecting architect please follow the links below.