St Peter's Churchyard has been a place where loved ones have been laid to rest over many centuries. It is visited by many people who value its sense of peace and calm. It is a place where one can feel a sense of closeness to those who have died.
The Churchyard is managed by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) within the framework of a set of regulations laid down by the diocese of York. This is to ensure that the Churchyard is a safe environment and continues to be a place of reverence and beauty for all.
Families are encouraged to care for their individual memorials having respect for the feelings of others using the churchyard.
An English Churchyard has a special place in our countryside and heritage lying as it does around a listed building. It is not the same as a cemetery and is covered by different regulations issued by the Chancellor of the Diocese.
Memorials may only be erected in accordance with these regulations and after approval by the Priest-in Charge, who has delegated powers from the Chancellor. Normally memorials should be in local stone or exceptionally in South African Grey granite and may not be honed or polished. The wording on memorials is also strictly controlled Inscriptions may only be in a shade lighter or darker than the stone and gilding of inscriptions is not permitted. Vases may only be placed in the churchyard with prior approval and are to be set within the base of the memorial stone.
Stones marking the burial of cremated remains are subject to the same regulations and are usually 15-18 inches square and are set flat into the ground. These are placed in free areas around the churchyard.
Maintaining the Churchyard
Every effort is made by the Churchwardens and PCC to ensure that the churchyard continues to be a pleasant place to visit and is kept in good order. Some years ago all kerbs around graves were removed to make the task of grass cutting more efficient. For this reason stones which are laid flat for safety reasons are set level with the ground and no vases are allowed.
It is possible however to plant suitable small bulbs e.g. snowdrops, crocus or small daffodils or plants such as primrose or cowslips which will not interfere with mowing.
Some years ago we were advised to set aside part of the churchyard as a wildlife area, to encourage the flourishing of native species. The areas chosen were the copse at the entrance to the churchyard and the area under the trees near the road. We hope that trees, plants, animals and insects will flourish there.
The Churchyard is open for people to visit whenever they are able to.
We hope that you enjoy the time spent is this quiet, pleasant place. A bin is provided for rubbish and is sited under the trees near the seat on the North side of the church. We would ask that you use it or take you rubbish home. Please unwrap bouquets of flowers before placing on graves. The use of artificial flowers is not permitted in the churchyard.
The PCC are grateful to parishioners who offer their assistance in keeping the churchyard tidy. In order to maintain the parish and Diocesan policy all work must be carried out in accordance with the regulations and with the permission of the Priest-in -Charge.
A summary for your guidance
Expressing our love and care in keeping with an English Churchyard
Fresh flowersare always delightful and add to the beauty of the churchyard. When they fade, they can be placed in the bin provided.
Bulbs planted to naturalise; snowdrops, short daffodils or narcissi and hardy cyclamen bring pleasure every Spring and return into the grass.
Christmas wreaths of natural foliageare welcome from mid December to mid February, when the bulbs will take over.
Items which are not permitted because they are dangerous or out of keeping with the churchyard will be removed if placed on graves and include:
- Glass or other breakable or sharp items
- Pictures, portraits or photographs
- Statues or ornaments
- Trees or shrubs
- Kerbs, railings or chains
- Artificial flowers (plastic, silk etc) except for Remembrance poppies around 11 November
- Chippings, gravel etc
- Memorials in the shape of a book, cross or heart
- Vases, unless approved in advance.
St Peter's Churchyard is governed by the Churchyard Regulations of the Diocese of York