Churchyards & Trees

A churchyard is much more than a garden around a church. It is a burial ground, but also a place of quiet reflection and recreation, a habitat for rare plant and animal species, and the setting of the church building.

The good management of a churchyard needs to take into account a range of issues, from the burial rights of parishioners to the wildlife management of the churchyard.


Churchyards have for centuries been used as the place of burial for the dead of the parish.

Burial, monuments and exhumation are, along with all other matters relating to churchyards, regulated by law. Ministers and others responsible for the care of churchyards therefore need to know the law and practice in this area, in particular to give guidance to the bereaved.

For further guidance please contact the Registry Dept 01636 817209 and also


Churchyards are very special places.  Their ambience comes from the memorials, the church itself, and from the history of the community that the place encapsulates.  Memorial design is controlled to ensure that those special qualities are retained and enhanced when new additions are made.

Every church should have a copy of the Chancellor’s Guidelines for Memorials, details of which are also on this website. See also the information on ChurchCare:


Churchyards are important not only as places of burial and quiet reflection but for their characteristic habitats and as refuges for wildlife and plantlife.

Useful information and guidance can be found on ChurchCare: and also on the website Caring for God’s Acre:


The care and maintenance of a churchyard, and therefore the upkeep of the trees within it, is the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council.

Under the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 certain works to trees can be done without a faculty, but some will need written permission from the Archdeacon to say that a faculty is not needed. Details of these works can be found at: All other works require a faculty.

Ancient Yews

Nowhere else in Europe can boast so many venerable yews in its churchyards, with many dating back to the birth of Christ and beyond. If you have an ancient, veteran or significant yew in your churchyard there is specific guidance available at .

For further tree guidance please see ChurchCare



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