Memorials on graves
Many people wish to place a memorial on the grave of their loved one. Memorials allow you to mark the grave and to add a personalised tribute. We have a few simple rules to make sure that memorials are safe, well maintained and in keeping with the character of the cemeteries.
Different rules apply for the Gardens of remembrance for ashes.
What is a memorial?
A memorial is anything above the level of the ground that is placed on the grave as a tribute to those buried there. Headstones, vases and plaques are the most common memorials. Some people choose more unusual memorials, such as pieces of sculpture.
Can I place a memorial on a grave?
If you want to place a memorial on a grave you must hold or purchase memorial rights for that grave. If you do not own the grave, you must also obtain the permission of the grave owner, if there is one, or contact us to discuss whether you can purchase the rights to the grave, known as the exclusive rights of burial.
Memorial rights are granted for a period of 10 years. This may be extended at the end of the period.
What kind of memorial can I have?
In the lawn sections of the cemetery, you can choose any kind of lawn memorial.
There are a few sections where special rules apply. Modern, highly polished memorials are not permitted on Edwardian and Heritage graves. Kerbs are only permitted in the dedicated kerb section at Exwick Cemetery and on Heritage graves at Higher Cemetery . Your stonemason can advise you on suitable memorials.
There are no memorials on graves in the natural burial ground at Exwick Cemetery , but there is the option to buy an engraved river stone which can be placed in the woodland walk at Exwick Cemetery.
When approving memorials, we need to be sure that the memorial will be safe and will last for at least the period of the memorial rights. We also consider whether the memorial might offend other cemetery users.
If we refuse permission you will be given a full written explanation.
When can a memorial be erected?
After a funeral we cover the grave with earth and put the flowers and wreaths on top. A month later (or less if the weather is bad) we remove all floral tributes and dispose of them.
You may put up a wooden cross up to 500mm (18") high on the grave temporarily. You may leave flowers in a non-breakable container - please do not use glass, ceramic or thin plastic until a memorial can be installed. Please do not plant anything directly into the soil.
A permanent memorial may be erected six months after a full interment. This allows time for the ground to settle. However you do not have to wait six months to apply.
A memorial for a cremation plot may be erected any time following the interment of ashes.
Must I use a stonemason?
We have a list of Approved memorial masons who meet our criteria of quality and insurance. If you wish to use a stonemason who is not on the leaflet please contact us and we will check that they meet our criteria.
Any memorial fixed in Exeter City Council cemeteries must comply with BS8415 and masons must be able to produce evidence that any ground anchor is fixed in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations and not in an a way that may negate any guarantee issued by the manufacturer. The Council has only adopted the BRAMM scheme and will review all such memberships after the expected judicial review in Cardiff.
Restoration and cleaning
Restoration and cleaning must be carried out by a BRAMM registered stonemason. You should apply to us for permission before the work is carried out.
Occasionally we may need access to a grave next to yours for a burial. If so we will erect a cover over your memorial to protect it and may place soil on the grave. This will last no more than a few days. On very rare occasions we may have to remove your memorial for safety reasons so we can access the grave. If we do so we will be fully responsible for restoring your memorial in a safe and clean state after the funeral.
We have a legal obligation to test memorials for safety. This ensures that the cemetery is a safe environment for staff and visitors to the cemetery. If your memorial is found to be unstable, we will temporarily support the memorial. We will contact you to explain that repairs are needed. You are responsible for maintaining your memorial in safe condition. If required work is not carried out in a reasonable time, we will make safe as we see fit.
Unfortunately vandalism does happen occasionally in cemeteries. We will prosecute anyone caught causing vandalism but we cannot be held liable for any damage caused by the irresponsible actions of others.
We strongly recommend that grave owners take out insurance to protect their property. Your stonemason can advise you about this.
Other types of memorial
We also offer the opportunity to buy memorial trees, benches and plaques on benches in the cemetery grounds.