Like the church building and its contents, any significant work in the churchyard requires a faculty. The Chancellor often delegates the authority to allow new monuments or inscriptions to the incumbent, within certain guidelines, by means of the diocesan Churchyard Memorial Regulations 2018 (see below). Every significant work not covered by these, or any monuments which do not comply with them, will require a faculty.

The maintenance of the churchyard may also be affected by secular jurisdiction. Planning permission should be obtained for any new building work, work involving drainage, landscaping, the laying or altering of paths etc.

For information on how to care for churchyard memorials and monuments including repairs, cleaning, condition surveys and risk assessments please see the detailed guidance on the Historic England website page Caring for Historic Cemetery and Graveyard Monuments.

For information on how to look after churchyard trees, please see the guidance notes at the bottom of this page. If you looking for an accredited arboriculturalist, you will find the Arboricultural Association's Approved Contractor Directory helpful: https://www.trees.org.uk/ARB-Approved-Contractor-Directory

The presence of scheduled ancient monuments in the churchyard, above or below ground, makes it also necessary to apply for the appropriate consent before any work is undertaken. Any works involving trees will also need permission if the tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order or in a Conservation Area.

Other statutory protection measures which may affect a churchyard include the designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which may prohibit certain site-specific operations.

Any work with archaeological implications, such as digging drains, repairing monuments or tree removal, will require careful consideration of the potential archaeological evidence before any of the above permissions are given. Remember, you can always contact the Church Buildings Adviser, Keith Halliday, for help and advice (01904 699523 or email: keith.halliday@yorkdiocese.org).

The national archaeological standard for memorial recording, produced by the Council for British Archaeology (2000, 2002), has been updated and is now available at the Discovering England’s Burial Spaces (DEBS) web site: http://www.debs.ac.uk/ This is designed to support community recording projects (including those by parishes or local history groups, or those enabled through the National Lottery Heritage Fund), and to provide the methodology for heritage professionals.

This system complements the Burial grounds of England Survey, but also offers alternative ways of creating or updating a churchyard plan by the community at little or no cost.

Burial Grounds of England Survey

The Church Buildings Council is working with the Church of England, Historic England, the University of York and Atlantic Geomatics to develop software and a survey methodology to create digital plans of our churchyards and cemeteries which is compatible with the Church Heritage Record and Online Faculty System.

For more information, see:

Burial Grounds of England Survey

Atlantic Geomatics - Burial Grounds