In the United Kingdom today there are around 633,000 registered deaths every year. Of these deaths, 29% are buried in churchyards and municipal or private cemeteries.

Contact Bereavement Services:

Cemeteries, Crematoria and Coroner
West Norwood Cemetery and Crematorium
Norwood Road
London SE27 9JU
Telephone: 020 7926 7999
Fax: 020 7926 8030

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Grave space

When checking personal effects of the deceased for a will, find out if they had already arranged a grave space in a churchyard or cemetery.


Most churchyards and many suburban churchyards are full or no longer open for new burials. You will need to check availability of space and rights of burial with the priest or minister responsible.


If a grave space has already been paid for in a cemetery there will be a ‘deed of grant’. This will need to be produced to exercise a right of burial for the deceased if there is enough space remaining in that grave or cemetery. Most cemeteries are owned and operated by Local Authorities and fees vary from site to site.

2. Arranging the burial yourself

It is both lawful and possible for you to arrange the burial yourself, and all that is required is a death certificate signed by a doctor and a certificate of burial from the registrar.

If you wish to have the body buried on private property you will need the permission of the landowner. You should also consult our environmental health and planning departments to ensure that there are no objections.

Once completed, the burial needs to be recorded properly and entered onto the Deeds of the property.

Once the body has been buried it can only be disturbed or removed with the authorisation of a Home Office Licence.

If you wish to arrange the funeral or burial yourself please contact Bereavement Services for assistance or obtain advice from: