All Saints’ Churchyard, Down Ampney


Since the 13th century parishioners of Down Ampney have been buried in the churchyard surrounding All Saints’ Church. It is a beautiful setting adjacent to open fields and a meadow in which sheep are grazed. In early spring the churchyard is filled with thousands of snowdrops. The churchyard is in a quintessentially English setting.

The responsibility for caring for the churchyard lies with ‘Down Ampney Parochial Church Council’. The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is made up of local people who give their time and talent voluntarily to help maintain the church and churchyard, and care for the community. We are very grateful for the help and support given to us by the civil authority – ‘Down Ampney Parish Council’ – which helps us by cutting the grass in the churchyard.

Although people have been buried in the churchyard since the mid-1200s, our Parish Registers start in the 1500s, when Henry VIII required all churches to maintain a Bible written in English, a service register and registers of Baptism, Marriage and Burial. The earliest written record of a burial in Down Ampney Churchyard is of ???? in ????.

At present, the churchyard is still ‘open’ for burials and interment of ashes.

Frequently asked questions –

Who can be buried in Down Ampney Churchyard?

In law, people have the ‘privilege’ to be buried in the churchyard where they reside, but no-one has the ‘right’ to be buried. Permission has to be sought from the Vicar – who is usually contacted by the Undertaker. If you live or die in the parish, you are eligible to be buried in the churchyard.

Should the churchyard become full of burials, the Vicar and PCC can have the churchyard ‘closed’ by an Order made by the Privy Council. The PCC is not the ‘Burial Authority’ and is not obliged to keep a churchyard open, when full.

Are you running out of space?

Yes, the present churchyard is nearly full of burials and there are only a few plots remaining.

The parish has been offered a site adjacent to the present churchyard on which the Vicar and PCC have managed to secure Planning Permission as an extension to the churchyard. We are in the process of fund-raising to do works (fencing, drystone walling, site clearance and seeding, gates, legal fees for conveyancing etc), but this may take sometime. Local people have been funding-raising, but we still need about £35,000 to complete the necessary works.

Can I reserve a space in the churchyard?

It is possible to reserve a space in a churchyard. You would need to apply to the Diocesan Registrar (the Bishop’s Legal Officer) and complete an application for a ‘Faculty’. This does incur legal costs. In the case of Down Ampney, because the churchyard is nearly full, the PCC considered that it would oppose new applications to reserve a space in the churchyard. In practice, therefore, it is very unlikely that you would be successful in getting a Faculty to reserve a space in the present churchyard.

How much does it cost to be buried in the churchyard?

The fees for burials and interments are set by the Church of England and are the same for every CofE churchyard in the country. They tend to be very much LESS expensive than those charged by Town and Parish Councils.

In 2018 the fees are as follows:

Service in church
Burial of a body in churchyard immediately before or after a service in church £303.00
Burial of a body in churchyard on a separate occasion £331.00
Burial of cremated remains £131.00

No Service in church
Burial of a body in churchyard immediately before or after a service in church £393.00
Funeral Service and Burial of a body in churchyard £221.00
Burial of body in churchyard (committal only) £331.00
Burial of cremated remains £158.00

Can I put up a memorial for a loved one?

Yes, it is possible to have a headstone or plaque as appropriate.

There are guidelines about this, which are set out by the Diocese of Gloucester in its ‘ Churchyard Regulations’ - which can be found at:
www.gloucester.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Churchyard-Regulations-2015-Website-PDF-1.pdf

If in doubt, start by having a conversation with your monumental mason (who should know all about the regulations) or speak with the Vicar, who can advise you.

Just a note to say – Cotswold stone does not weather very well and, whilst entirely acceptable for using for a memorial – it probably won’t last very long.
Black marble and polished stones are NOT allowed.

Are there rules about what can be put into a churchyard?

Churchyards are owned by the church and are ‘public’ spaces there to be enjoyed by all. They are also places where people come to pay respects to those whom they love but see no more.

So, yes, there are regulations about what may be placed in a churchyard – we would much prefer fresh flowers; Christmas wreathes are permitted, as are poppy wreathes in the Remembrance season. We encourage people to plant snowdrops. The Diocesan Regulations state that there should not be plastic flowers or ornaments.

People are very good at putting things on graves, but are not always able to return to remove them so we regularly remove dead flowers. Christmas wreathes and flowers are removed by the Vicar in the first week of February each year. Remembrance wreathes and crosses are removed when looking ‘tired’.

For more detailed information see: www.gloucester.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Churchyard-Regulations-2015-Website-PDF-1.pd

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