The Cemetery and Chapel on Bridgnorth Road are owned and maintained by Much Wenlock Town Council.
Friends of the Cemetery Group
A group of volunteers meet once a month at the cemetery to help maintain the natural beauty within the grounds. They meet on the first Friday of every month for two hours and welcome anyone who is interested in joining the group. Please contact Councillor Mary Hill for more details: Telephone (01952) 727564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
All ground in the cemetery is consecrated and you may only purchase plots in certain parts. You need to decide whether you would like a single or double depth plot, also what type of interment it will be (coffin or casket). Plots may be reserved upon request. When purchasing a plot at Much Wenlock Cemetery, what you are actually buying is the Exclusive Rights of Burial for a period of 100 years. You are not buying the grave freehold; it is more like purchasing a lease. The Council issues a Deed of Grant when the plot is first purchased. The Town Council’s records contain details of all registered grave owners but it is important that each grave owner keeps their Deed of Grant document in a safe place, as it is proof of ownership. Possession of the Deed does not in itself signify ownership of the Exclusive Rights.
Exclusive Rights may be renewed for a further term towards the end of the lease, but the further term must not exceed 99 years.
The Deed of Grant along with identification and a death certificate of the deceased must be legally produced before each burial. Each burial requires an Interment Form and fees paid for the preparation of the ground before it takes place. The interment form must include the depth of the grave, overall dimensions of the coffin or casket, also whether it is a new or old grave. Please note that Interments on Saturdays must take place between 9:00am and 2:00pm.
ALL applications with headstones, inscriptions, materials and colours must have the signed approved from the Town Clerk, prior to installation. Any additional changes or alterations to inscriptions also require the signed approval from the Town Clerk.
Before installations of monuments, gravestones, tablets and inscriptions the plot owner must complete a Memorial Application Form and produce the Deed of Grant along with identification. A NAMM approved fixing method is required for all memorials. The Town Council is responsible for memorial safety and security and therefore all masons who carry out work in the cemetery are required to produce a Fixer License, which can be obtained annually from NAMM. Please note that curbstones are no longer permitted in section E and F of the Much Wenlock Cemetery. The Town Council reserves the right to remove any hazardous headstones or any headstone that have been installed or inscribed without prior permission. If you would like to place a commemorate seat on Town Council Land, you will need permission from the Town Council. Please apply in writing to the Town Clerk.
Please note that in pursuance of the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 the following applies:
2. (1) No burial shall take place, no cremated human remains shall be scattered, and no tombstone or other memorial shall be placed in a cemetery, and no additional inscription shall be made on a tombstone or other memorial, without the permission of the officer appointed for that purpose by the burial authority.
18. (1) No person shall:-
(a) Wilfully create any disturbance in a cemetery;
(b) Commit any nuisance in a cemetery;
(c) Wilfully interfere with any burial taking place in a cemetery;
(d) Wilfully interfere with any grave or vault, any tombstone or other memorial, or any flower or plants on any such matter, or
(e) Play any game or sport in a cemetery
(2) No person not being an Officer or Servant of the Burial Authority or another person authorised by or on behalf of the Burial Authority shall enter or remain in the cemetery at any hour when it is closed to the public.
19. Every person who commits an unlawful act shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £100 and in the case of a continuing offence to a fine not exceeding £10 for each day, which the offence continues after conviction thereof.
Exclusive Rights of Burial
When buying a grave, the Exclusive Rights of Burial are being purchased, on a leasehold basis, for an initial period of 100 years. This can be renewed for a further 99 years towards the end of the initial lease. If the owner dies, they have an automatic right to be buried in the grave (provided there is space to do so).
Burial Law states that permission must be received from the ‘Exclusive Rights of Burial owner’ for any burials in, or memorials placed on, the grave. If there is no living owner, Much Wenlock Town Council will need to establish who is legally entitled to the grave, and the “transfer of ownership” must be completed before a burial can go ahead or a memorial can be installed.
Transfer of Grave Ownership
If the Exclusive Rights of Burial are transferred, it is only for the remaining time of the lease period.
A transfer of the rights to a grave can be done whilst the owner is still alive by completing and submitting a ‘Deed of Assignment Application’.
Transferring grave ownership when the owner is deceased
If the deceased grave owner made a valid will that requires a Grant of Probate, ownership can be transferred to the executors. The applicant must produce a sealed copy of the Grant of Probate and complete the ‘Probate Form’.
If the estate is not of sufficient value for a Grant of Probate, ownership can be transferred to the executor with a ‘Statutory Declaration’ and production of the will. They are then responsible for identifying the rightful owner and complete the transfer by a ‘Deed of Assent’.
If there is no valid will, but the estate is of sufficient value to need a Grant of Probate, ownership of the grave can be transferred to a personal representative of the deceased on production of a sealed copy of the Grant of Letters of Administration. Again is it then the responsibility of the representative of the deceased to identify the rightful owner and complete the transfer with a ‘Deed of Assent’.
If there are no executors, or letters of administration, the deceased is known to have died intestate, and there are specific rules when dealing with cases like this. The person applying for the transfer of ownership will need to complete a Statutory Declaration. This is a legal document produced by the Cemeteries Office at Much Wenlock Town Council and must bear the impressed seal and be signed in the presence of a Magistrate or Commissioner for Oaths.
The Statutory Declaration will set out the facts regarding the original purchase of the Exclusive Rights of Burial, the death of the registered owner, intestate or otherwise and the relationship of the applicant to the registered owner. A death certificate may be asked for.
Please note that when transferring ownership:
• It is a legal requirement to establish the grave ownership.
• Where there is a family dispute and relevant consents are withheld, the ownership cannot be transferred.
• There can be a maximum of two owners per grave. Other beneficiaries must sign a renunciation form to relinquish their rights to ownership.
• A fee is payable to transfer a grave ownership with the Magistrate or Commissioner for Oaths.
• All certificates supplied with a transfer application must be originals, or certified copies.
Documents required for transferring the Exclusive Rights of Burial when the owner is alive: Form of Assignment, identification, Deed of Grant and Death Certificate
Documents required for transferring the Exclusive Rights of Burial when the owner is deceased, has left a Will and applicant/s have obtained Probate: The Grant of Probate bearing the impressed seal, Assent of Executor or Administration Forms, identification, Deed of Grant, Death Certificate
Documents required for transferring the Exclusive Rights of Burial when the owner is deceased and has left a Will but no Probate was obtained by applicant/s: Statutory Declaration Form, Form of Renunciation, identification, Deed of Grant, Death Certificate
Documents required for transferring the Exclusive Rights of Burial when the owner is deceased and hasn’t left a Will but Letters of Administration have been obtained by the applicant/s: The Letter of Administration bearing the impressed seal, identification, Deed of Grant, Death Certificate
Documents required for transferring the Exclusive Rights of Burial when the deceased owner has not left a Will and Letters of Administration have not been obtained by the applicant/s: Statutory Declaration Form, Form of Renunciation, identification, Deed of Grant, Death Certificate
Cemetery Forms can be obtained form the Town Clerk’s office must be completed in full and require the signed approval from the Town Clerk. Statutory Declaration Forms and Renunciation Forms must be witnessed before a Magistrate or Court of Justice, and bear the impressed seal. Should you have any questions relating to the ownership of a grave or the transfer of ownership, please contact the Cemeteries Officers at Much Wenlock Town Council on 01952 727509.