Memorials need to be made of a material that will:

  • Withstand the weather
  • Can take a lasting carved inscription  
  • Is suitable for shaping and ornamentation.

Time has shown that natural stone (i.e. stone, slate, marble and granite) has all of these qualities.

Selecting a memorial mason

The Cemeteries Team have a list of registered stonemasons, however, you may wish to use a company recommended by a friend or relative, or you may wish to look around. It is generally advisable to use one which specialises in memorial masonry.

They should understand stone and so be able to give you reliable advice as to whether the stone you are choosing is suitable for the type of memorial you require and the area in which it is to be fixed.

Memorial masons must have public and products liability insurance of no less than £5million and must also give a ten year guarantee.

Obtaining permission

Before a memorial may be erected in a churchyard or cemetery, written permission must be obtained from its management.

The initial enquiry

It is important to obtain a written estimate clearly setting out full details of the memorial you are considering and all the costs involved.

The estimate should include the memorial itself (with full details as to size, materials etc), the lettering, any ornamentation and finishes, the secure installation of the memorial on a proper foundation, the cemetery or churchyard fees and VAT.

Lettering and ornamentation can be carved, sand blasted or machine cut. These options and the different types of stone available all vary in price.

If you obtain estimates from more than one company, do check them carefully to make sure you really are comparing like with like.

Placing the order

When you place the order you may be asked to pay a deposit, with the balance of the agreed price payable later. Before signing to confirm your order it is important to check it thoroughly.

Be particularly careful that the wording and spelling of the inscription and any dates are shown correctly. Any alterations should be confirmed immediately and in writing.

Please note: unless you give definite written instructions to the contrary, the layout of the inscription may be left to the letter carver.

The availability of the materials, the complexity of design and the condition of the ground will affect the time the memorial will take to complete. A reputable memorial mason will advise you on this.

Responsibility for the memorial

It is important to remember that it is you, and not the cemetery or churchyard management, who is responsible for the maintenance of your memorial.

If it should become dilapidated or unsafe, steps may be taken to lay it down or remove it. It is therefore wise to arrange for it to be regularly maintained and insured.