Many people wish to mark a grave by placing a memorial with a personalised tribute.
If you want to place a memorial you must own the Exclusive Right of Burial for the grave. A permanent memorial can be put in place after six months, when the earth has had time to settle.
You can place the following temporary tributes on the grave:
- A wooden cross (these are normally supplied by the funeral director)
- Flowers in a non-breakable container
A memorial for a cremation plot may be erected any time following the burial of ashes.
To erect a memorial you must complete a permit giving details of the proposed work and pay the relevant fee before any work can be carried out.
Do I have to use a stonemason?
Yes. Any memorial placed in our cemeteries must be fixed by a stonemason listed with the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons (BRAMM) or on the Register of Qualified Memorial Fixers (NAMM RQMF).
This is to make sure that all memorials are securely and safely fixed – all stonemasons must be able to demonstrate that their work meets British Standards BS58415. Restoration and cleaning must be also be carried out by a stonemason registered with BRAMM or NAMM.
What kind of memorial can I have?
Memorials shall not include the following:- no planting of shrubs, bulbs, trees or perennials, no plastic flowers, no glass containers/items, ornaments, solar lights, lanterns, chippings, wind chimes, balloons, windmills, items on sticks or any other decorative feature not in keeping with the Cemetery. This applies to all areas of the cemeteries with some exception to the children’s areas.
The whole of the grave will be turfed/grass seeded flat and mown by the Council staff. Movable/permanent items such as pots, vases, and ornaments, are not permissible on the grave space infront of the headstone. Grave surrounds of any kind such as fences, kerbs, stones, etc. and plants, bulbs, shrubs and trees planted in the soil are not permitted and will be removed by the Council
All memorials must be approved by Bridgwater Town Council and a permit granted.
The maximum dimensions of a headstone on a lawn section are 3ft 6″ in height (from ground level) including plinth/foundation – 3ft wide and a minimum of 3″ thickand must be fixed with a ground anchor system. If you do not wish to have a headstone you may apply to have an approved vase measuring no more than 8″ x 8″ x 8″ or a lawn tablet or desk vase tablet measuring no more than 18″ x 18″. 4″ at the back and 2″ in the front.
No plants, bulbs, shrubs, and trees planted in the soil are permitted and will be removed by the Council.
No grave surrounds made of plastic or stones are permitted and will be removed by the Council chipping must be within a kerb surround.
The maximum dimensions of a headstone on a traditional section are 4ft in height (from ground level) including plinth/foundation, 3ft wide, adnd a maximum of 3″ thick and must be fixed with a ground anchor system. In addition, you may also apply to have a kerb surrround of 7ft x 3ft and/or a ledger/cover slab of 7ft x 3ft and an approved vase measuring no more than 8″ x 8″ x 8″.
Garden of Rest
No items are permitted outside the foundation base and will be removed by the Council.
Maximum dimensions of a memorial on a garden of rest section are foundation base 2ft x 2ft – tablet/desk vase tablet 18″ x 18, 4″ at the back and 2″ in the front.
Burial area – the dimensions of a full memorial on the children’s section, which cannot be exceeded, is 2ft in height including base, the kerb set length will depend of the age of the deceased.
Grave owners do not have to have a full memorial on the children’s section. The owner may prefer to have a headstone or Vase only.
Garden of Rest area – the dimensions of a full memorial on the children’s section, which cannot be exceeded is a Desk Vase Tablet or tablet 12ins x 12ins on a foundation base which must be 18ins x 18ins and flush with the turf. No more than two flower containers may be incorporated within the memorial.
You are able to purchase a seat in both Bristol Road and Quantock Road Cemetery. A location for the seat will be identified by the cemeteries staff. If there is a certain area you would like the seat to be placed, please let us know. We will try to find a location that is suitable, as near as possible to your request.
The seat must be purchased through the Cemeteries Office and the cost includes the purchase, fixing of the seat and maintenance for 10 years. Inscriptions can be provided by the person making the order or we can obtain a quote from our suppliers. Please see fees and charges for the price (this does not include the inscription).
For memorial seats in parks please see Memorial Benches.
Memorial Safety Checks
We have an on-going programme of memorial safety checks in our cemeteries to make sure they are safe places for you to visit.
Where we'll be testing
Memorial safety checks are taking place all in our cemeteries. Each memorial over 2 feet in height will be tested to make sure it’s not at risk of falling over and injuring someone.
We will put up notices at each cemetery around a month before the checks are due to begin. Also, there will be notification on the website.
What does the test involve?
A specially trained member of staff or contractor will start by doing a visual inspection of the memorial, followed by a hand test. This will involve pressure being applied to the memorial to check for movement. In most cases, there will be no movement and a record will be kept that the memorial has passed the test If the memorial moves it will fail the test. Please see our Memorial Safety Policy for more information.
Frequently asked questions
Why Are We Carrying Out Memorial/Headstone Safety Checks?
Safety inspections and testing are required to ensure our cemeteries are a safe place for visitors and for
employees working in them. Sadly, over the past few years there have been several incidents in other
cemeteries around the country where unstable memorials have fallen over onto people, including children,
resulting in both fatalities and serious injuries. The Health and Safety Executive, who encourage, regulate and
enforce workplace safety in the UK (HSE), are interested in Memorial Safety and have issued notifications to
Local Authorities insisting that they have policies and procedures in place to ensure the stability of memorials.
Bridgwater Town Council has a responsibility for the safety of all visitors to the cemeteries and those working
Who is responsible for my memorial’s repair and condition?
The holder of the Exclusive Right of Burial for the grave is responsible for keeping the memorial repaired and
in a safe condition. However, the Council has the obligation of making the cemeteries safe and will use
reasonable means to ensure the safety of those working in or visiting it. A warning notice will be attached to
any memorial if it is found to be in an unsafe condition and the holder of the Exclusive Right of burial
contacted to arrange a permanent repair with a qualified, registered, monumental mason.
What is done during the safety test and inspection?
Each memorial will be given a visual check to assess condition. It will then be given a push test (steady,
gentle pressure applied to the top of the memorial) to check its stability. The results of the test are logged
and recorded. This safety check is carried out by officers of the council or its chosen contractors.
What if the memorial fails the test?
As the cemeteries are a public space, the council has a duty of care to make sure an unstable memorial is
made safe immediately. Depending on the level of danger posed by unstable memorials, it will either be
temporarily made safe and a warning notice will be applied to the memorial or, in the case of an immediate,
high-risked hazard, the memorial will be laid flat and a warning notice applied to the memorial. In both cases,
the council will then contact the holder(s) of the Exclusive Right of Burial for the grave to inform them.
Why have I not been contacted regarding the temporary support/band and/or
cautionary notice that has been applied to my memorial?
It is the council’s priority to make safe any unstable memorial found during the inspection. We want the
cemeteries to be a safe place to visit and work. As soon as possible following the inspection, we will write to
the holder of the Exclusive Right of Burial using the address we have on our records. If we have not
contacted you it may be because we do not have current address. Please contact us on 01278 427692 or
[email protected] to check or update your contact details.
Will my memorial undergo tests in the future?
Yes. The council will carry out these tests at periodic, regular intervals and all memorials will be inspected at
least every five years.