Care of graves

Holy Trinity has rightly been described as a country church within a city. Its much-loved churchyard is set aside for Christian burial and for memorials to parishioners who have died. It is a place that all are welcome to visit, and it serves as a garden for the benefit of the people of Headington Quarry and beyond.

In order that the beauty and peace of the churchyard may be preserved the Churchyard Committee asks that the following guidelines for the care of graves and ashes be observed. Your cooperation would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Everything in the churchyard, from the memorial stones to the trees, shrubs, flowers, and wildlife, is a matter for care, consideration, and respect.
  2. Memorials should be in keeping with the Christian religion.
  3. Memorials should be unpolished and of a light-coloured stone matching the local stone with which the church was built. Portland stone and Nabresina are especially recommended.
  4. Because they are easily damaged, memorials in the shape of crosses or hearts are to be avoided.
  5. Plots should not be marked off with kerbs, fencing, railings, or chains, and they should not extend beyond the area allotted to them or take over space reserved for others. Chippings are not allowed.
  6. The planting of native wild-flowers on graves is encouraged, and we are happy to advise further on this. Artificial flowers, whether plastic or otherwise, are not permitted, with the exception of Remembrance Day wreaths and poppies, and those should be removed within a month.
  7. Statues, garden ornaments, lamps, windmills, photographs, videos, sound-recordings and the like are not allowed.
  8. Toys may be placed on the grave of a child but they must not become permanent fixtures and should be removed within a year of the child’s death. Toys are not permitted in other circumstances.
  9. Headstones on graves should not exceed 27” in height and 22” in width, and should be at least 3” thick.
  • The dimensions of a memorial tablet marking the place of internment of ashes of just one person should not exceed 12”x12”. Where the ashes of two people are to be interred in the same plot the dimensions of the tablet may be increased to 14”x 14”.
  • A flower pot may be placed on top of an ashes memorial but because space in the churchyard is now severely limited the planting of flowers around ashes memorials is not permitted.

We are aware that there are existing graves which do not conform to the guidelines, and the clergy and the Churchyard Committee are dealing with the matter in as sensitive a way as they can. It should be remembered, though, that the fact that breaches of the guidelines have occurred in the past does not constitute a ground for further breaches; Holy Trinity has a duty to comply with the Churchyard Regulations of the Diocese of Oxford which can be accessed here  

In case of doubt as to what is permitted please discuss the matter with the Vicar or write to the Churchyard Committee, c/o the Parish Office, 46 Quarry Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 8NU.