Burial Grounds

Chesham Bois Burial Ground is located next to Bois Wood in an area designated as Chiltern AONB.  There has been a burial ground here since 1924, and in 2007 the site was extended to include a woodland burial site and a further new formal burial area.  It also includes a Garden of Remembrance and a small chapel for hire.

Burial Ground Chesham Bois

Chesham Bois Parish Council aims to maintain the Burial Ground as an attractive and tranquil memorial to those whose lives are remembered here.    The Burial Ground provides for burials of any denomination or none, and is not attached to any particular church, though there are some plots available within consecrated ground in the formal burial areas.

Path through Chesham Bois burial grounds

If you require any further information, or wish to reserve a plot please contact the Sexton on 07753 616426, or email the Clerk on clerk@cheshamboispc.org.uk

Formal Burial Grounds

The Original Formal Burial Ground sits in the landscape nearest to the formal entrance to the right of, and above, the Chapel.    The Original Formal Burial Ground is laid out in a series of rows either side of the main path that leads to the top of the hill.  The left-hand side, above the Chapel, is consecrated ground.   The majority of plots at the bottom of the hill have now been sold, so for those who would prefer more level access to plots, we opened the New Formal Burial Ground in 2007.

The New Formal Burial Ground is situated to the left of the Chapel, and again is arranged in rows on either side of a main path running up the hill.

formal burial ground, chesham bois

In both formal burial grounds, there may be some restrictions on choice of location, to ensure that plots are accessible for the grave diggers, but the Sexton will be happy to help you make your decision. Plots can accommodate single or double depth burials and in addition 3 caskets of ashes.  It is also possible to reserve Family Plots which are double width as well as double depth, and could include 6 caskets.    Plots for children or ashes alone are available upon request.  Terms and conditions of ownership of all forms of plots are given below and fees for purchase or reservation of plots are given in Appendix 1.

Memorials are permitted within the formal areas, subject to approval by Council.  Owners are responsible for ensuring the maintenance and safety of memorials once installed (see detailed rules in Appendix 2).

Woodland Burial Ground

The Woodland Burial Ground provides an alternative to the Original  and New Formal burial grounds which have marked plots, and has been planted as a series of glades and woodland to provide tranquil unmarked resting places.  The designated ground sits on the hillside further to the left of the formal burial grounds.   Currently many of the trees are immature and plots are therefore only offered in the planted areas.   The Sexton will be pleased to help you choose a plot within your preferred area, either by visiting the site, or discussing it over the phone.  Plots in the Woodland Burial Ground are only single depth, and can accommodate an additional 3 ashes caskets.  Half plots are available for ashes caskets.

Woodland burial ground, Chesham Bois

Trees planted include beech, ash, hornbeam and hazel – all native to the area. The glades are cut three times a year to encourage native species and in order to maintain this as a natural habitat in keeping with the woodland environment it is therefore important that plot owners accept that other planting cannot be introduced or authorised.

Despite this, we recognise that sometimes families wish to mark the burial plot in a manner which is in keeping with the woodland burial ethos.  We ask that families abide by the detailed guidelines set out in Appendix 3. A range of wildlife boxes are also available to be sponsored in a loved one’s memory.

The Garden of Remembrance

This area can be found at the bottom of the formal burial ground beside the Chapel.

Memorial plaques may be fixed to the Wall of Remembrance.  The fees for memorial plaques are in Appendix 1

The Chapel

Exterior Chapel Sept 17

The Chapel was built in 1926 and sits between the Original Formal Burial Ground and the New Formal Burial Ground towards the bottom of the hill.  

Seating up to 50 people, it is available for hire to support burials of any denomination or none.   It is not usually accessible at other times.

Services for Relatives & Visitors

Visiting Hours and Restrictions on Access

The Council welcomes relatives and visitors during daylight hours.

The main burial ground gates are normally kept locked, except on Sunday afternoons when cars are permitted in the parking area.  Vehicular access to the top of the burial ground should be made by arrangement with the Sexton.

At all other times, pedestrian access is permitted and there is limited parking just outside the grounds.

Owners and visitors are responsible for their own safety in the cemetery and we would ask that dogs are kept on a lead at all times, both in the formal areas, and the Woodland Burial Ground.

Burial Records

The Council hold detailed records on those interred within the burial grounds since 1924, including a few graves which are supported by the War Graves Commission.

The Council reserves the right to charge a fee for staff time spent on searching through burial records.  Please contact the Clerk by email to find out more.

Burial Grounds: Terms and Conditions of Use 

  • Plots are purchased for a period of 99 years. The Exclusive Rights of Burial is a deed of grant issued to the purchaser of the grave.  This deed entitles the holder to determine who is buried in the grave and apply for a Memorial Permit.   If the ownership of a deed has changed, proof will need to be provided to the Council before any interment can take place.
  • At the end of the 99-year period of the Exclusive Right of Burial, the owners shall have the choice of renewing that right subject to the rules and regulations in force at that time.
  • Where Plots are reserved by purchasers for their own use, it is recommended that the Council is notified of the contact details for the next of kin, or the person to which ownership of the plot will transfer, if known.
  • The purchaser of a reserved plot is responsible for informing the Council of any change of address. If after 20 years Council are unable to contact the purchaser, the reserved plot may be offered to another family.
  • Full payment for plots and interments must be received prior to burial taking place.
  • Memorials can be erected only in the formal burial areas and are the sole responsibility of the registered owner of the burial plot. They can be installed only following permission by the Council in line with the requirements set out in Appendix 2.    They should be maintained to a safe standard.  The owner of the plot should be in possession of a valid Memorial Permit from the Council, renewable on a 5-year basis.
  • The registered owner of a plot with a memorial installed prior to 2017 will be contacted following the first Council safety inspection after 2017 and a safety permit issued if the memorial is in satisfactory condition. Safety inspections occur every five years.
  • Planting on graves in the formal areas is permitted as long as it is appropriate and in keeping with the area. Plants with the potential to grow into large shrubs will be removed by the Council as these can affect the foundations of memorials nearby. No trees are permitted.
  • Planting on graves in the woodland area is permitted only in accordance with the guidelines in the woodland burial section and Appendix 3 of this document.
  • Council reserve the right to revise these terms and conditions.

Appendix 1: Fees and Charges

PDF download of Fees & Charges.

Plot Purchase and Burial Fees

The scale of fees charged for plot purchase or reservation are the same for the Original Formal, New Formal and Woodland Burial Grounds.  The Council requests that, where plots are reserved by purchasers for their own use, they are notified of the contact details for the next of kin, or the person to which ownership of the plot will transfer, if known.

Different scales of fees are charged as follows:

a. If the residence of the deceased or the plot owner is in the Civil Parish of Chesham Bois at the date of death or at the date of reservation; or where a resident has passed away in a nursing home or hospice outside of the parish having moved from the civil parish in the previous 24 months, or longer at the Clerk’s discretion.  Single Fees

b. If the residence of the deceased or the plot owner is in the Ecclesiastical Parish but outside the civil boundary at the date of death or at the date of reservation: Single Fees + ⅓

c. If neither the deceased nor the plot owner is a resident of the Parish: Double Fees

1  For the exclusive right of burial for 99 years (maximum 4 owners at any one time)

A full-size adult plot                                                  £400

A small plot for an ashes casket                              £300

A family plot (double width, double depth)           £750

Family plots are only available within the Original and New Formal Burial Grounds

2  For the interment of coffins and caskets of ashes

For an infant under 12 months or foetus              Free of Charge

For a child under 18 years                                       £100

For an adult                                                                £300

For casket of ashes                                                   £100

For scattering of ashes                                             No charge

Please discuss with the Sexton prior to scattering ashes.

3  Sexton’s Fee:                                                          £50

For the services of the Council’s employee who attends the burial

4  Gravedigger’s Fee                                               paid directly

5  Minister’s Fee                                                       paid directly

6  Hire of the Chapel                                               £50

The Council must approve gravediggers.

All fees due to the Council are payable in advance of the burial.

Memorial Fees

Following a burial, plot owners may decide to erect a memorial to their loved one on the burial plot, once the soil has settled (usually 12 months).

Different scales of fees are charged as follows:

a. If the residence of the deceased or the plot owner is in the Civil Parish of Chesham Bois at the date of death or at the date of reservation; or where a resident has passed away in a nursing home or hospice outside of the parish having moved from the civil parish in the previous 24 months, or longer at the Clerk’s discretion.  Single Fees

b. If the residence of the deceased or the plot owner is in the Ecclesiastical Parish but outside the civil boundary at the date of death or at the date of reservation: Single Fees + ⅓

c. If neither the deceased nor the plot owner is a resident of the Parish: Double Fees

The fees indicated include the first inscription.

Headstones & Raised Tablets                                           £200

Kerbstones at discretion of Council                                 £500

For each subsequent inscription                                      £50

Council must approve the wording on memorials prior to installation.  Once a Memorial installation has been approved, a Memorial Permit valid for 5 years will be issued, subject to the memorial being in safe condition

Renewal of Permit (every 5 years)                                    £5

Garden of Remembrance Plaque Fees

These must be in Karin Grey Granite and be of the following dimensions: –

A plaque of size 9” x 8” x 1” (225 x 200 x 25mm) bearing an inscription of up to 100 letters

a) to be retained for 50 years                                                  £50

b) to be retained for a further 25 years, an additional         £50

Having sought and received approval from the Council, applicants must arrange, and pay direct, for the purchase of the plaques and for the fixing to the wall.  Work must be carried out by an approved contractor.

The Council reserves the right to remove plaques which do not meet with the above requirements or which are remaining outside the time purchased.

Donation of Benches to the Burial Grounds

The Council will accept the donation of benches, with or without memorial inscriptions, to the Formal Burial Grounds.    Benches will be installed at the donor’s own expense, and the bench and installation should be of an appropriate standard as required by the Council.   The precise location of the bench must be agreed with the Council.    The bench will subsequently be maintained as a Council asset, and the Council reserve the right to remove any bench which becomes unsafe.    Those interested in buying a bench in memory of a loved one should contact the Clerk for more information.

Sponsorship of Wildlife Box in the Burial Grounds

A limited number of habitat boxes can be provided by the Council, which can be sponsored in someone’s memory.   The Council will specify the location of the boxes within the surrounding woodland.    Boxes are available for birds, bats, and various insects such as solitary bees and ladybirds.

Sponsorship of a wildlife box comprises the price of the box for its lifetime, guaranteed for 3 years.   The Council reserve the right to move the box location.

Insect/ Bird/Bat Box Sponsorship                          £85

Burial Records Fees

Fees associated with Burial Records should be paid as specified by the Clerk of the Council.

Search Fees for copies of Burial Record               £10 per hour or part thereof

Transfer of Exclusive Right of Burial                       Free

The Council reserve the right to charge an appropriate administration fee (£10 per hour or part thereof) for frequent, or non-standard transfers.

PDF download of Fees & Charges.

Appendix 2: Monuments, Headstones, Tablets and Inscriptions.  (Formal Burial Grounds Only)

Download PDF on regulations relating to Monuments, Headstones, Tablets & Inscriptions

  1.  Only the plot owner(s) can apply for a memorial.
  2. The memorial remains the sole responsibility of the plot owner.
  3. All types of memorials are permitted in the Original Formal and New Formal Burial Grounds, but are subject to approval by the Council prior to installation. Permission is based on the type, inscription and the material to be used, having regard to the rural setting of the burial ground.
  4. Inscriptions must be simple and reverent.
  5. Memorials are to be installed to comply with the NAMM Code of Practice; we recommend that plot owners use a mason who is a member of NAMM (National Association of Memorial Masons) or BRAMM (British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons).
  6. Headstones must be installed so that the ratio of height above ground to depth below ground shall be no greater than 2:1 unless a shoe is used in which case the ratio can be up to 3:1.
  7. It is usual to wait twelve months before installing a headstone to allow settlement.
  8. All material and labour costs are to be paid by the applicant.
  9. Headstones and/or tablets are limited to one per half plot.
  10. Planting of shrubs is discouraged as the root system can disturb the memorial and those in the immediate vicinity. The Council therefore reserves the right to remove any plants which have the potential to grow too large (e.g. small conifers).
  11. Memorial plaques can be installed on the wall in the Garden of Remembrance, following payment of the appropriate fee and subject to agreement by the Council in line with the provisions set out for memorial plaques.

Memorial Permits & Safety Checks

Once a memorial has been installed, the plot owner will be issued with a Memorial Permit, valid for 5 years, confirming that the Council has approved the installation.    It is the responsibility of the plot owner to maintain the memorial to a standard deemed acceptable by the Council.  The Memorial Permit will be renewed by the Council for a further 5 years, on receipt of the appropriate fee (which covers administration and memorial safety testing), subject to the memorial being in safe condition.

Memorials are checked regularly for stability.  If found to be unstable the Council will attempt to contact the plot owner, but reserves the right to take remedial action.  If it is found necessary to lay memorials down, all charges, including the cost of reinstatement will be the responsibility of the plot owner.

The Council accepts no responsibility for damage to graves, memorials etc. unless caused by its authorised contractors.  It should be noted that kerbing may become damaged as a result of mowing, and for this reason is discouraged.

Should a plot owner feel no longer able to take responsibility for the memorial permit or upkeep of the grave they should contact the Clerk as a transferal of Exclusive Grant of Burial will need to take place.

Download PDF on regulations relating to Monuments, Headstones, Tablets & Inscriptions

Appendix 3:   Regulations for Additional Planting (Woodland Burial Ground Only)

Download PDF on Regulations relating to Additional Planting in the Woodland Burial Ground

The Council wishes to maintain the Woodland Burial Ground as a natural environment, without marked graves, and request that plot owners respect this aim.

If a family would like to sow or plant around a loved one’s grave, they must let the Council know in advance to ensure that the correct location is used.

The Council has identified a list of native plants which may be used once its permission has been sought and given.  Please contact the Clerk on 01494 432585 or clerk@cheshamboispc.org.uk for further information.

  • Only plants on the list provided may be used – whether as plants, bulbs or seeds. Hybrids and cultivars of these or other non-natives are not acceptable and will be removed.
  • Please ensure that planting looks as natural as possible, without straight lines or delineating graves, otherwise plants may be removed.
  • Nothing already growing in the burial ground may be disturbed or dug up.
  • The earth on new graves may be topped a few times within the first few months after a burial, and the soil may take a year to settle fully; so plot owners should note that any early planting may become covered in soil.
  • If plants require watering, families will need to do this themselves. The Council cannot be responsible for plants being eaten by local wildlife.

Only biodegradable materials should be used in the burial ground and there should be no visible markers for the grave.    Any markers, ornaments or non-native planting on graves will be removed by the Council and kept for a short period for the family to reclaim.

If a memorial plaque is required, plot owners may choose to place one in the Garden of Remembrance following payment of the appropriate fee and subject to agreement by the Council in line with the provisions set out for memorial plaques in Appendix 2.

Alternatively, families may wish to consider whether they would like to sponsor a bird or bat box in memory of their loved one, which will be installed in the woodland near the burial ground.    Fees are provided in Appendix 1.

Download PDF on Regulations relating to Additional Planting in the Woodland Burial Ground

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