Guide A guide to arranging a burial

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3. Memorials, floral tributes, planting and ornamentation

Monuments may only be placed on a grave when the exclusive rights of burial have been purchased and approval given by the Council.   If the applicant is not the owner of the exclusive rights of burial a legal transfer will need to be completed before a memorial application can be accepted.

Kerbs, railings, posts or chains to enclose a grave are not permitted nor are chippings and similar materials to cover the surface of the grave.  In the past these had been allowed in the old cemetery sections.


Only single grave headstones are permitted on graves and must not exceed the following dimensions: height 1.20m (47.25 inches), width 0.90m (35.5 inches), thickness 0.10m (4 inches).

All headstones shall be constructed of granite, slate or other similar natural hard stone. Any other material will be removed at cost to the owner.

Where there is no concrete memorial support beam built into the ground memorials must be placed on undisturbed ground – not on the part of the ground that has been dug. Foundation bases should be of either best-quarried materials or reinforced concrete conforming to BS 7263.

Cremation tablets

Ashes plots in section L Seaton cemetery, SA Sidbury cemetery and XO Sidmouth cemetery are designed with a flat concrete slab  18" x 18"  flush with the surrounding grass the memorial must be laid flat to sit directly over the concrete slab.

Only tablet style memorials are permitted on ashes plots, they mist  be flat, no larger than 18" long and 18" wide and 2" high.

All tablets shall be constructed of granite, slate or other similar natural hard stone.

Where a vase is required it must be included within the tablet, No memorials vases, plants, planters etc may be placed on the grass surrounding the tablet.

Monuments and tablets must be fixed by approved stonemasons. All applications  to erect, repair or add an inscription must be made on our application form.


Suitable wording may be inscribed on monuments and tablets. Prior approval for inscriptions must be obtained from us, using our application form.

Temporary memorials

Providing an exclusive right has been purchased for a grave and the council has approved the design of the temporary memorial, a temporary wooden memorial may be erected on a grave (not an ashes plot) for the first twelve months following an interment. The dimensions of the wooden cross or other religious emblem shall not exceed 91.44 cm (3') in height above ground level and 68.58 cm (2'3") in width and not exceed 10.16 cm (4") in thickness.  At the end of the twelve-month period following an interment, the owner of the exclusive right of burial must remove and dispose of the temporary memorial and reinstate the surface of the grave to the council’s satisfaction.  If the memorial is not so removed it will be disposed of by the cemetery staff at the expiration of this period following consultation with relatives.

Floral Tributes, Planting and Ornamentation

 On the day of a funeral, flowers and wreaths may be placed upon the grave in which the burial takes place and will be removed at the discretion of council staff when they become unsightly. No permanent planting of any kind will be permitted.

  1. No persons other than duly authorised officers of the Council shall interfere with or alter the grass area of the grave, which will be maintained by the Council at no cost to the owner of the grave.
  2. Flowers, shrubs, trees of any kind, wreaths, flower containers or items of similar nature shall not be taken out of the cemetery without the permission of a duly authorised Council officer or the written permission of the owner of the article concerned.
  3. No trees, shrubs or any other plants shall be planted on any grave or ashes plot whether exclusive right of burial has been purchased or not.
  4. Artificial flowers, whether silk or plastic are not allowed. An exception to this rule is made for Remembrance Day poppies and traditional Christmas wreaths which are permitted and will be removed when they fade or decay.
  5. Vases should be placed on the plinth of the memorial or on the cremated remains tablets – not on the grass or soil adjoining the memorial or tablet.  Glass, ceramic and plastic vases are not permitted.

Woodland burial ground

No memorials of any kind are allowed in the woodland burial ground

There is a cost for submitting a memorial application.

Apply for permission to erect a monument or add an inscription