For the management, regulation and control of:
Reading Borough Council welcomes all visitors to our cemeteries in Reading and asks that visitors respect the peace, dignity and reverence of these facilities as well as other users. We thank you in advance for your consideration.
The regulations in the following pages have been drawn up by Reading Borough Council to ensure that the Cemeteries and Gardens of Remembrance are managed and used in a sensitive and appropriate way for everybody. These are communal spaces for quiet reflection and
remembering our loved ones.
Although these regulations are a requirement for the management of the Cemeteries and Gardens, every effort has been made to avoid restricting the rights and choices of the individual. Therefore, these regulations have been prepared with a balance between individual rights/information and the need to regulate for safe and tidy grounds. For example, the restrictions on glass are based upon these items becoming potential hazards when mowers are used. It is not based upon aesthetic considerations.
The Council has adopted the principles of the Charter for the Bereaved and is committed to giving the individual the rights that are provided by the Charter. For further information contact the Cemetery Office or see the “Information” section of the Institute for Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) website, http://www.iccm-uk.com/iccm/
Reading Borough Council under the Local Authorities’ Cemeteries Order 1977 is responsible for regulating three Cemeteries in the town. It is required by that Order to set out regulations to provide a safe and dignified environment for all visitors and can do anything considered necessary for the proper management of these Cemeteries. The cemeteries for which the
Council is responsible under these regulations are:
The office for all three Cemeteries is located just inside the main entrance gates at Henley Road Cemetery. This is where the Bereavement Services Manager can be contacted.
There are a number of Acts of Parliament and Government Regulations which apply to burials and cremations and also to the way cemeteries are maintained. If there is any conflict between any of the above and the Cemetery Regulations then the above shall apply.
The legislation that some of the rules are based upon includes the following:
Reading Borough Council
All Hallows Road
Tel. 0118 947 2433
The cemeteries open to the public every day of the year at 9am
Closing times vary according to the season:
Please note gates are locked at closing time and there is no facility to unlock them out of normal hours. Cars should not be left on the premises after closing time, as access to retrieve them will not be available until the following morning.
* Closed Wednesday mornings between 8.30am – 10am for staff training.
Burial services can take place at the following times:
Burials at any other time are strictly at the discretion of the Bereavement Services Manager and subject to available resources.
Several types of grave are available in different sections of the Henley Road Cemetery, however there are restrictions on the types of grave depending on the area of the cemetery. These are marked on plans available at the Cemeteries office. The Exclusive Right of Burial is purchased through the Cemeteries office (see Section 8). Memorial stones are not provided and should be purchased through a registered stonemason (see Section 13).
This is a grave with a headstone and a kerb set that forms an edging around the grave area. Monuments, gravestones, tablets, inscribed vases or kerb railings may all be erected.
This is a grave with a headstone, a small area for planting flowers immediately in front of the headstone and a grassed area level with the ground.
This type of grave is only for cremated remains. It has a flat memorial stone within the kerb (not a headstone) and a small area for planting behind the stone.
This type of grave is only for cremated remains. It has a memorial in the shape of a wedge tablet. It can contain up to two sunken flower vases. No other memorial items may be left on this type of grave.
This is a grave that is lined with bricks and slabs. Space for walled graves and vaults is available in the traditional part of Henley Road Cemetery where one end lies next to a pathway.
In keeping with legislation Reading Borough Council makes provision for public or “common” graves at Henley Road Cemetery. No memorial may be placed on any public grave. Cremated remains cannot be buried in public graves. They will be scattered in the Gardens of Remembrance, and the location recorded.
Traditional and lawn earth graves (please note the measurements refer to the grave space and not the permitted memorial size):
4.3 Reading Borough Council reserves the right to change the maximum excavation depth if deemed necessary.
4.4 Cremated remains flat tablet graves:
4.5 Cremated remains wedge tablet graves:
4.6.1 Reading Borough Council follows the traditional Christian manner of carrying out burials so that all deceased face east. This means that on some lawn style grave sections the memorial will be placed at the foot end of the grave, not at the head.
4.6.2 There is an area within Henley Road Cemetery for Muslim burials where the graves have been aligned with Mecca.
The backfilling of graves by mourners is at the discretion of the Bereavement Services Manager. Three full days notice must be given of the request to backfill to allow time for Risk Assessments and Health and Safety assessments to take place.
4.8 Reading Borough Council, subject to weather and seasonal changes, will keep all grassed areas tidy. However, the memorials cannot be cleaned or maintained. This is the responsibility of the owner.
5.1 Monuments on traditional graves must be within the following measurements:
5.2 Marble or other natural stone chippings, laid on a solid foundation, can only be used where there are memorial kerbs.
5.3 Personal planting (seasonal flowers only) or items of memorabilia are permitted within the dimensions of the full kerb set, measuring 7 feet long x 3 feet wide (the Defined Memorial Area).
5.4 Items placed within the Defined Memorial Area may not exceed a height of 12 inches (300 mm).
5.5 Trees and shrubs are not permitted and will be removed at the discretion of the Bereavement Services Manager.
5.6 Only full kerb sets approved by Reading Borough Council are allowed. Borders or fencing of any other kind are not allowed.
5.7 See Section 16 for general Regulations applicable to memorabilia.
6.1 Only headstones are permitted in lawn grave sections.
6.2 Headstones on lawn graves should be within the following measurements:
6.3 Graves in lawn sections will be turfed level with the ground. Mounds are not permitted as this hinders maintenance.
6.4 Personal planting (seasonal flowers only) or items of memorabilia are permitted in a small border in front of the memorial headstone (the Defined Memorial Area). The border must be no wider than the base of the memorial stone and a maximum of 2 feet long measured from the edge of the upright headstone (not the foundation stone).
6.5 Items placed within the Defined Memorial Area may not exceed a height of 12 inches (300 mm).
6.6 If borders are not tended, Reading Borough Council reserves the right to seed or turf the area.
6.7 As soon as possible after the funeral, usually within a 12-month period, Reading Borough Council will either sow grass seed or turf over the grave.
6.8 Reading Borough Council, subject to weather and seasonal changes, will keep all grassed areas tidy, however, the memorials will not be cleaned or maintained by the Council, these are the responsibility of the owner.
6.9 See Section 16 for general regulations applicable to memorabilia.
There are three types of graves for cremated remains:
7.1.1 Provision is made for the interment of two standard size caskets of Cremated Remains (a maximum of 12 x 9 x 6½ inches). If larger caskets are used there may only be space for one interment.
7.1.2 Only memorials in the shape of a Wedge Tablet may be installed.
7.1.3 The tablet shall be of natural quarried stone with facilities for one or two sunken flower vases at the thicker end.
7.1.4 Tablet measurements must not exceed:
7.1.5 The tablet must be placed on the foundation stone provided by the Council, set at ground level, measuring 24 inches length, 18 inches width, and 2 inches thickness (minimum). The memorial is placed 3 inches from the rear of the foundation stone and at equal distance at both sides.
7.1.6 Where a plot is purchased and no memorial is intended to be placed thereon, the plot shall be covered with the foundation stone as above. No memorial items may be left on the stone.
7.1.7 A double row of memorials will be placed “back to back” with grass pathways separating each double row.
7.1.8 Only fresh cut and artificial flowers can be placed in the vase/s in the memorial.
7.1.9 No other memorial item may be left on or near these graves.
7.1.10 See Section 16 for general Regulations applicable to memorabilia.
7.2.1 A flat tablet memorial may be installed. The tablet can be two different widths depending on whether a vase section (supplied by Reading Borough Council) is required.
The tablet should measure exactly:
7.2.2 Personal planting (seasonal flowers only) or items of memorabilia are permitted in a small border behind the Memorial Tablet, measuring 300mm long by 1200mm wide (the Defined Memorial Area).
7.2.3 Items placed within the Defined Memorial Area may not exceed a height of 12 inches (300 mm).
7.2.4 If borders are not tended, Reading Borough Council reserves the right to turf over the area and include it in grass mowing.
7.2.5 Up to four sets of cremated remains in a casket or urn can be interred in a cremated remains plot.
7.2.6 See Section 16 for general Regulations applicable to memorabilia.
7.3.1 Lawn graves for cremated remains face east or west in alternate rows. Memorial headstones should be erected in an upright position close to the outer edge of the plot and in line with the memorials of adjoining graves.
7.3.2 Headstones on cremated remains lawn graves should be within the following measurements:
7.3.3 Graves in the cremated remains lawn sections should be level with the ground.
7.3.4 Personal planting (seasonal flowers only) or items of memorabilia are permitted in a small border in front of the memorial headstone, measuring 8 inches long x 2 feet wide (the Defined Memorial Area).
7.3.5 Items placed within the Defined Memorial Area may not exceed a height of 12 inches (300 mm).
7.3.6 See Section 16 for general Regulations applicable to memorabilia.
8.1 The grave spaces are used in strict consecutive order or as required by the grounds supervisor. Selection of a grave space is not possible.
8.2 Subject to availability, which cannot be guaranteed, the Applicant can purchase in reserve, the burial rights for one grave space adjacent to the plot they own. A ‘premium’ is payable on the purchase of an additional plot. This is due to the additional work (hand digging) which is normally involved due to restricted access following burials in surrounding graves.
8.3 No more than 2 plots may be purchased by the Applicant at any one time. This is subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed.
8.4 Any person over the age of eighteen may purchase the Exclusive Right of Burial for a period of seventy-five years.
8.5 The fee for the Exclusive Right of Burial must be paid at the time that the arrangements are made at the cemeteries office and a Grave Deed will be issued to the Grave Owner soon after.
8.6 The Deed will confirm the number of burials permitted within the grave. The Deed does not mean that the grave owner owns the land, he owns the Right to Bury only for the seventy-five year term. The land always belongs to Reading Borough Council.
8.7 It is the Grave Owner’s responsibility to let the cemeteries office know of any change of address.
9.1 A transferred Right of Ownership to a grave is only valid if it has been registered and agreed by the cemeteries office.
9.2 It is advisable that once the grave owner has been interred within the grave, arrangements be made for the transfer of ownership. No further burials, interments of cremated remains, scattering of cremated remains, additional inscriptions on memorials or installation of new memorials will be permitted until entitled ownership has been established.
9.3 In cases where the original purchaser is deceased, the new owner must demonstrate ownership of the grave by producing a) A valid Will, b) Grant of Probate, c) Letters of Administration or d) if the others are missing, a completed Statutory Declaration witnessed by a Commissioner of Oaths e.g. Solicitor (please contact office for more details).
9.4 A fee is charged for accepting this documentation which must be paid at the time the form is presented at the office. The form will be retained at the office as a permanent record of the instruction to authorise the grave to be opened.
10.1 Where the burial is to be in an earth grave, the body must be placed in a wooden, cardboard or wicker coffin, casket or a shroud. If the burial is to be in a brick grave or vault, the body should be placed in an airtight inner case of lead or zinc and covered with an outer wooden shell.
10.2 Coffins used for cremation must comply with the requirements of the Federation of British Cremation Authorities.
10.3 The Funeral Director in charge of the funeral should arrange for at least four people to carry the coffin to the chapel and graveside. It is the responsibility of the Funeral Director to increase the number of bearers subject to Health and Safety considerations.
11.1 Once a body or ashes remains have been buried, they can only be removed with permission from the Bereavement Services Manager and a licence granted by the Ministry of Justice. In the case of consecrated ground, consent from the Church of England (called a faculty) will also be required.
11.2 Any disturbance of remains is deemed to be an exhumation.
12.1 Each individual set of cremated remains will be reduced and placed in a container to await the wishes of the applicant regarding its final disposal.
12.2 Where specifically requested, cremated remains can be held at the Crematorium, for a period not exceeding three months. A charge will be made after the initial month.
12.3 In respect of any set of cremated remains left at the crematorium and not removed by the end of the three month period, two weeks notice will be given to the applicant for cremation, after which the cremated remains may be reverently and permanently scattered in the grounds allocated for that purpose.
12.4 All metals remaining after cremation, including orthopaedic implants will be sensitively recycled. This is to ensure that all metals are disposed of in a suitable manner that will reduce the impact on our environment, and to comply with current legislation. It is possible to have metal remains returned if requested prior to cremation.
12.5 The Central Square in the Gardens of Remembrance and other locations as specified from time to time by the manager are not to be used for the scattering of cremated remains. This is to maintain the ecology and landscaping in the grounds.
12.6 All scatterings of cremated remains are to be organised through the office.
12.7 Scatterings can only take place on graves with the written permission of the grave owner.
13.1 Only Memorial and Stonemasons registered with and fixing to the standards of BRAMM (British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons) or NAMM (National Association of Memorial Masons) and Reading Borough Council’s Registration Scheme are permitted to erect memorials within the cemeteries and churchyards administered by the authority. This also applies to memorials being re-instated after their removal to permit an
interment or additional works to be carried out.
13.2 Work may only be carried out by masons with a valid ‘fixers’ licence.
13.3 The identification number of each grave must be included at the foot of all monuments, gravestones or ledger stones on private graves.
13.4 All new memorials shall be subject to a Permit not exceeding 30 years and linked to the memorial masons’ guarantees. During this period the memorial shall be subject to testing to ensure stability. Tests will be carried out every five years or sooner and in accordance to a nationally recognised standard.
13.5 Should a memorial fail a safety test the cemetery management, in accordance with health and safety requirements, will make the memorial safe under the terms of the Memorial Safety Policy.
13.6 Details of the NAMM Code of Working Practice, the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons and the Local Authorities’ Cemeteries Order 1977 are available from the Cemetery office upon request.
13.7 Work can only be carried out in the cemeteries Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 4.00pm. No work is to be carried out on weekends or Bank Holidays. All contractors must report to the office before working on site.
13.8 The Bereavement Services Manager must be contacted before fixing or erecting any monument or memorial, with details of the measurements and design, a copy of the proposed inscription, and a sample or specification of the material to be used.
13.9 Monuments may only be erected on a grave for which the exclusive right of burial has been purchased. Erection or removal of monuments and memorials must be done only after an officer from Reading Borough Council has been on site with the applicant to agree the location and type of work to be carried out.
13.10 Material for the memorials should be natural stone such as Portland, Granite, Marble or Hoptonwood.
13.11 Wood memorials (cross or headstone) are permitted, provided they are fixed by a professional “fixer” approved by Reading Borough Council to standards as above, and come from verifiable sustainable sources.
13.12 A permit is required for any work to be carried out on a memorial. A fee is payable for the permit and must be paid in full at time of application.
Masons who wish to add their names to memorials or monuments must follow the guidelines below:
a) the inscription should be limited to the name of the stonemason only
b) the letters should be no more than ½ an inch in height
c) the inscription should be on the base of the memorial or monument at a maximum height of 6 inches above ground level.
It is the responsibility of the Mason to ensure the memorial is fixed to adequate foundations as recommended by the NAMM Code of Working Practice. The authority cannot accept any responsibility for any foundation supplied unless the memorial has been fixed in accordance with the NAMM Code.
If a memorial needs to be removed from the cemetery to allow a burial to take place, this should be done by a stonemason who should ensure that it is re-fixed within 12 months.
14.1 A full list of memorial options is available at the cemeteries office. This includes plaques, vases, benches, trees, Book of Remembrance entries. Other memorial options and areas will become available in line with the Landscape Management Plan for the Henley Road Cemetery and Crematorium.
14.2 Memorial benches are available from time to time through a lease agreement. It is not permitted to place any other bench in the Cemetery or Gardens of Remembrance.
14.3 Memorial trees are available from time to time through a lease agreement. It is not permitted to place any other tree in the Cemetery or Gardens of Remembrance.
14.4 Rose garden beds are currently unavailable. All Regulations apply to the Rose Garden as to other areas of the Cemetery and Gardens of Remembrance.
14.5 The defined memorial area for any new memorials offered for lease will be specified in the terms and conditions for that memorial.
15.1 Following a funeral service, floral tributes should be placed in front of the appropriate named stand in the display area outside either the West or South Chapel. Any tributes left elsewhere will be removed.
15.2 Floral tributes from funeral services, if not collected by the Funeral Director, will be removed and disposed of three days after the funeral service by the Cemeteries staff.
15.3 Fresh cut flowers may be placed in the receptacles provided in the Hall of Memory. No floral tributes, pot plants or other items may be left in this area.
15.4 All wrappings should be removed and disposed of in the bins provided.
15.5 All perished floral tributes and cut flowers will be removed by Cemeteries staff at their discretion.
15.6 Reading Borough Council cannot be held responsible for any floral tributes that cannot be found. Floral tributes are left at the family’s own risk.
16.1 All graves and memorials have a defined memorial area (except cremated remains wedge tablet graves). Defined memorial areas for graves have been specified above under sections 5.3, 6.4, 7.2.2 and 7.3.4.
16.2 On cremated remains wedge tablet graves only fresh cut and artificial flowers are permitted in the sunken vases. No other item is permitted on or nearby these graves.
16.3 In the Gardens of Remembrance the defined memorial area for plaques is 6 inches wide by 12 inches long.
16.4 In the Central Square in the Gardens of Remembrance the defined memorial area for vase blocks is 7 ½ inches wide by 12 inches long, as defined by the kerbstone located behind the vase block.
16.5 Only artificial flowers, fresh cut flowers and seasonal flowers in pots are permitted in the defined memorial area behind vase blocks in the Central Square. This is to maintain the original design concept for the Square, providing a formal and attractive place for remembrance.
16.6 Items placed within the Defined Memorial Area may not exceed a height of 12 inches (300 mm).
16.7 The following items are not permitted any where within the Cemetery or Gardens of Remembrance:
Many of the above items often end up on the surrounding grass and either get thrown up by mowers and cause personal injury, or cause damage to the machinery or neighbouring memorials.
Glass is a major hazard to people, animals, machinery and other memorials.
Food and drink are not permitted as they attract vermin.
16.8 It is not permitted to plant shrubs or trees anywhere in the Cemetery or Gardens of Remembrance. These will grow to a large size, produce roots which unbalance headstones and cause additional maintenance and cost.
16.9 Weathered artificial flowers or mementos (e.g. wet and discoloured teddy bears) will be removed at the discretion of the Bereavement Services Manager.
16.10 Grass cutting and maintenance may not be carried out around plots which do not conform to regulations in terms of size or what is put on and around them.
16.11 The owner may be liable if items on or around a memorial which are in breach of regulations, cause injury to persons or damage to machinery.
16.12 It is not permitted to hang any item on trees within the Cemetery or Gardens of Remembrance. This is because it may damage the tree and frighten off wildlife.
16.13 Planting (seasonal flowers only) is only permitted in a personal defined memorial area. Anything planted in any other location will be removed at the discretion of the Bereavement Services Manager.
16.14 Christmas wreaths may be placed within the defined memorial area, and on the Lych gate fencing during the Christmas period. They will be removed from 1 February onwards.
16.15 All other Christmas decorations will be removed after 7 January.
16.16 The Council will deal strictly with any encroachment into common areas or on to other graves.
16.17 The Council reserves the right to remove items from behind or on memorials (or from trees and shrubs) having initially given the owner of the memorial lease an opportunity to do so themselves. Instances when this may happen are if items cause offence to others, cause a health and safety risk, encroach on areas where burials or scatterings may have taken place, exceed the defined memorial area, or where planting may grow to an unacceptable size.
16.18 The Council reserves the right to immediately remove any item from the Cemetery if it is deemed to be offensive, unseemly or dangerous.
16.19 The Council will adhere to the published Enforcement framework which details how infringements will be dealt with including time frames and storage information.
16.20 The Council reserves the right not to renew memorial leases where leaseholders are in regular infringement of regulations.
17.1 If a funeral is to be headed by any vehicle other than a funeral hearse, you should contact the Cemetery office to check with the Bereavement Services Manager that this can be accommodated. This includes, for example, horse-drawn hearses, gun carriages and other vehicles of this type.
17.2 Vehicles should not be left unattended for long periods of time in the cemeteries.
17.3 No unauthorised vehicle should be left in front of the chapels.
17.4 Vehicles are not allowed in the cemetery beyond the main car parking area, with the exception of vehicles displaying a disability badge, funeral directors and approved contractors. This is to provide a vehicle-free environment for pedestrians.
17.5 The speed limit in the cemetery is 10 miles an hour.
17.6 Driving on grassed areas or pathways between sections is not permitted.
18.1 Children under the age of 14 years should be accompanied by a responsible adult when visiting the cemetery.
18.2 Only guide dogs and dogs for the disabled are allowed in the cemetery.
Reading Borough Council may charge a fee for a search of the burial register held at the cemeteries office (for more detailed information see the current list of fees and charges).
A plan of the cemetery, showing the position of every grave is kept at the cemetery office and is freely accessible for everyone to use.
Photography and filming can only be permitted with prior consent from the
Bereavement Services Manager.
18.6 All persons entering the cemetery do so at their own risk and the Council shall not be liable (except in respect of personal injury or the death of any person caused by the Council’s negligence) for any injury or damage sustained, regardless of the form of action, whether in contract, tort (including negligence or breach of statutory duty), strict liability or otherwise.
18.7 As above, the Council shall not be liable for personal property brought on to the site or for any damage or loss of memorials or memorabilia.
Reading Borough Council will hold people responsible for any damage they cause to the land or property at the cemetery, Any costs of repairing the damage may be passed on to those people. This may include where people have exceeded what regulations permit in terms of memorials and memorabilia and by doing so, have for example damaged flower beds or lawn areas.
A list of the costs and charges for services provided is available from the cemeteries office. Cheques for services provided should be made payable to Reading Borough Council.
The Council may at any time vary, alter or revoke any of the foregoing Rules and Procedures.
Adopted July 2011
All graves and memorials have a defined memorial area (except the cremated remains wedge tablet grave). Within these clearly defined areas it is permitted to plant seasonal flowers, put personal items of memorabilia or unwrapped fresh cut flowers.
All items of memorabilia must be below 12 inches (300mm) in height.
In 2011, following numerous complaints about memorabilia and the upkeep of the grounds, it became evident that clearer regulations with a transparent enforcement framework were necessary. The Council consulted widely with residents, memorial owners, families of the bereaved and other stakeholders about amending the Rules and Regulations that apply to Reading Cemeteries and Crematorium. Revisions were made to support the implementation of the Charter for the Bereaved by offering more choice, whilst giving the Service the regulatory framework necessary to ensure a safe and dignified environment for all visitors, which is sympathetic to the landscape.
The amended Rules and Regulations were approved by council’s Cabinet on 11 July 2011. This Enforcement Framework was approved at the same time to form part of the Rules and Regulations as an Appendix. It makes clear how the Council intends to deal with any infringement of the Regulations and how this will be communicated to the persons concerned.
The Council recognises the importance of memorials to families after a bereavement and therefore any action to enforce Regulations will be taken in a sensitive and measured way.
The underlying principles behind the Enforcement Framework are:
The Bereavement Services Manager will