We know how important memorials are as a lasting symbol of remembrance. We provide help to make sure that all memorials meet cemetery regulations. All headstones, memorials or inscriptions are subject to approval by the parish council.
Applications to erect a memorial should be submitted through our memorial application form (below) with details being completed by both yourself and your appointed memorial mason.
All memorials must be erected in accordance with the National Association of Memorial Masons Code of Working Practice. Any memorials that do not comply may be removed and action may be taken against the installer.
All headstones must have the appropriate grave number engraved into the base.
Additional information on memorials and regulations within our cemetries can be found in our Burial Ground Policy and /or Cemetery Regulations.
Memorial testing will be carried out periodically within all our cemeteries. Notices will be displayed in each cemetery giving the dates of these inspections. Further details are available in our Cemetery Memorial Safety Programme set out below:
Why are memorial safety checks needed?
Tragically, there have been incidents elsewhere in the country where people have been injured or killed by falling memorials in cemeteries.
Moulton Parish Council has a responsibility, under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, to ensure that risks within their cemeteries are properly managed.
As a result, the Health and Safety Executive requires regular safety inspections to be carried out to memorials within our cemeteries.
What do the safety tests involve?
- Each headstone will have a visual inspection to assess its condition.
- It will then be given a hand test to check that the stone is not in any immediate danger of falling.
- Finally, a confirmatory test may be undertaken using a mechanical force measuring device, only if felt necessary, after the results of a hand test are found to be inconclusive and where some movement is felt. Force will not exceed 25kg at 1.5m or the apex of the memorial, whichever is lower.
- If a memorial cannot accept a pressure of 25kg, the tester will record the pressure it was able to accept.
- If the stone does not move or show signs of instability during the test, it is passed as safe.
Guidelines drawn up by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) have been used for this testing purpose. The guidelines require that memorials can accept pressure up to 25kg. (ICCM Guidelines)
Who does the checks?
The checks are carried out by a specialist contractor who makes sure that the work is carried out carefully and with due respect. Each memorial tested will be recorded to indicate that the safety check has been carried out. The record will include the date, type and condition of the memorial and any action taken.
Who is responsible for keeping memorials in a safe condition?
The grave owner or their next of kin are responsible for the memorial and have a duty to keep the memorial repaired and in a safe condition.
What happens with headstones which fail the test?
Depending on its location in the cemetery, a headstone may be secured using a wooden support and banding and/or marked with a notice. The laying down of a memorial will only be undertaken in the most serious of cases. No memorials will be removed from a grave space. Where possible, we will write to grave owners as soon as possible to inform them where it has been necessary to support a memorial for safety reasons. Details of memorials that require remedial action will also be posted on our website
Can I repair the memorial myself?
Please do not attempt to repair or remove memorials yourself, they are very heavy and for your own safety, and that of others, only accredited memorial masons should carry out repair work on memorials within our cemeteries.
If I have insurance cover on my memorial will the costs of repair be covered?
We recommend that all memorials sited within our cemeteries are insured against all risks. Please check with your monumental mason or insurer to find out if repair work is covered.
My headstone has a notice placed on it and I haven't been contacted first. Why?
Our immediate priority is to make sure that all our cemeteries are safe for the public to enter. Headstones that fail the test will have a notice attached to them. We will contact as many grave owners as possible whose memorials have failed the test. If we have not written to you, it may be because we've not got up-to-date contact details for you. To update your contact details please use this form (Change of Grant of Right Holder)
Will my headstone be subject to further tests in the future?
Yes, we will be carrying out similar tests at regular intervals in the future, at least every five years. Because of this we recommend that your memorial is insured and is regularly and professionally checked and maintained by your memorial mason to ensure it is safe
Where can I get further information?
We understand how upsetting it can be for families to see work being carried out on a memorial to a loved one and we want to help people deal with their unsafe memorials as quickly as possible. Anyone who wants to talk about what is happening or requires further information can contact us.