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The United Benefice of Orsett, Bulphan and Horndon-on-the-Hill
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Churchyard and gravestones

Who can be buried there?

The three parishes - Orsett, Bulphan, and Horndon-on-the-Hill - all maintain "open churchyards", which means that burials are still allowed as long as there are spaces remaining. Anyone who is a parishioner or lives in one of the parishes can be buried in the churchyards. People who live outside the parish but have some strong connection there may also be allowed a burial space, but this is at the discretion of the Rector and depends upon available space. Places may not be reserved and are allotted as needs arise.

Size of graves

New graves are dug deep enough to allow two full burials. An unlimited number of ashes can also be buried in family graves.


Churchyards are unlike public cemeteries where lots are purchased. In a churchyard, the graves always remain under the control of the church, and the Diocese provides guidelines for new stones. There you can find information about the size, shape, colour, decoration, inscriptions, etc., which apply to gravestones within churchyards. Applications for new stones cannot be made earlier than six months following a burial. Once you select a stonemason or memorial dealer, they should be told that we follow diocesan guidelines and they will provide you with a CR1 form to sign and complete.

Any proposed stone which does not meet with the diocesan guidelines must be submitted through the Faculty process, which requires agreement of the local Parish Church Council as well as the Diocesan Chancellor, who is the bishop's legal officer. This can be a long process and a favourable outcome cannot be assumed.

Replacing gravestones

Because of the protected nature of the churchyard and everything in it, no stone can be replaced without going through the Faculty process described above.

Burial of ashes

Each of the churchyards has a special area dedicated to the burial of ashes. A central monument has the inscription: "Remember in prayer before God those whose ashes are interred here." This is the only monument which is allowed. Only cut flowers are allowed on the lawn area. The burial area is kept as a simple lawn without any plaques for individuals. However, each parish maintains a Book of Remembrance and arrangements can be made for your loved one to be recorded there.

Any further questions or queries about our churchyards should be directed to the churchwardens of the parish concerned - see the website pages for Bulphan, Horndon and Orsett for their contact details.

The following regulations have been agreed by the Parish Church Councils and are posted at the entrance of each churchyard.

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What is allowed

  • All monuments, including vases, must comply with diocesan guidelines and must be authorised by the Incumbent of the local church or the Chancellor of the Diocese. This includes any new inscriptions to existing stones.
  • Cut flowers, bedding plants, or planted bulbs are allowed in front of the gravestone in an area 2 feet wide by 5 feet long.
  • Holly wreaths are allowed at Christmas time.
  • In the area for interment of ashes, only cut flowers are allowed.

What is not allowed

  • No artificial flowers of any kind are allowed in any Church of England churchyard. The only exception to this is for poppies on Remembrance Sunday.
  • No trees, shrubs, or roses are allowed to be planted on or near graves.
  • No new kerbs, fencing or edging of any kind are allowed around graves.
  • Except for those authorised as part of the headstone, no pots, vases, garden ornaments, or plaques are allowed.

The Incumbent and the local Parish Church Councils retain the right to remove anything from the churchyard which does not comply with these regulations.

The United Benefice of
Orsett, Bulphan & Horndon-on-the-Hill



Rev Sue Mann

Tel. 01375 891254

Associate Priest

Rev Max (Steven) Blake

Tel. 01375 360522