To be buried in the churchyard of St John the Baptist, Barlaston, you must either live in the parish, or die in the parish, or be on the electoral roll of that church, or have a partner already buried there. Fresh graves are dug to double depth so that there is room for a partner to be buried there also.
The fee that is paid through the Funeral Director to the church at the time of the burial is a one-off fee which goes towards the upkeep and maintenance of the churchyard. No-one owns a plot, rather the churchyard is held in trust by the Diocese of Lichfield and is maintained by the Parochial Church Councils for the good of the whole community and not individual families.
In order to help that process, the Chancellor of Lichfield Diocese has issued regulations that must be upheld by the Vicar and the Parochial Church Council.
Some people would like to have photographs, or toys, or ornaments on their loved one's grave, while others are distressed by such things. We all have different tastes on the subject, but the Chancellor's regulations are set to maintain our English country churchyards as special, quiet places that blend into the countryside around them. In order to maintain the whole churchyard in a tidy state, we need to be able to cut the grass regularly, effectively and efficiently. Therefore, the only thing that the Chancellor of the Diocese allows on a grave is a single headstone, which may incorporate a flower vase. Christmas and anniversary wreaths and artificial flowers will be removed periodically. No other objects are allowed.
For safety's sake, chippings, kerbstones, plastic edging, vases, glass and china objects, toys, windmills, photographs and poems are not allowed.
Some people argue that it's alright for them to place such objects on their loved one's grave if they cut the grass and maintain the grave. However, the grass-cutter can't turn off the mower when he comes to such a grave. To save on time and fuel he has to keep going, and objects placed on a grave impede his progress. Many objects are a health and safety hazard. For example, china and glass are at great risk of being broken. Lighter objects can be blown around away from the grave. Only this year, immediately after a funeral, someone nearly badly hurt themself because someone had left a china pot with bulbs on a grave. For that reason, we shall be uplifting all objects extra to the headstone, incorporated vase and flowers.
To be bereaved is one of the most distressing things that can happen to us in this lifetime. So by way of ministry to the bereaved, we hold a Memorial service twice a year - in May and at the start of November. This service is for anyone in the community who would like to especially remember and give thanks for a loved one who has died - whether it is recently or in years gone by. We always send an invitation to any family for whom we have conducted a funeral in the previous year, but if you would like us to invite you, do contact the Church office and leave your name and address.