St. Mary’s Churchyard provides an environment of Christian peace and repose. Headstones remain here for centuries and provide a source of information about the character of Broomfield Village and those who have lived here they also provide inspiration to future generations.
We hope that you enjoy this place of beauty and tranquillity and that you will find comfort and solace in your grief. We also hope that you will be able to assist us in providing an environment which is fitting as the final resting place for your loved one and for so many other villagers.
This page should help you to understand the nature of our beautiful and historic churchyard, give you guidelines to assist you in making choices regarding a funeral, a headstone and other choices regarding the way you wish to remember your loved one here. It will also offer you some advice regarding the bereavement support offered by the Vicar and other people in our Parish.
St. Mary’s Churchyard is an open churchyard. We are able to offer both burials and interment of cremated remains.
Who can be buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard ~ Broomfield?
There is a legal right for anyone who was a parishioner at the time of death, or who died in the parish or whose name was at the date of death on the church electoral roll of the parish, to be buried or have his/her cremated remains interred in the churchyard.
Please remember that Parish Boundaries change and that the village of Broomfield is slightly different to the Parish of Broomfield. If you are unsure about whether you live in the Ecclesiastical Parish of Broomfield please contact the Vicar.
Cremation or Burial
If you choose a cremation, the funeral service can take place either in the church, followed by a short service of committal in the crematorium; or the whole service can take place at the crematorium. The Ministers at St. Mary’s church are available to lead either type of service, but this does need to be booked through your funeral directors.
A short time after the day of the funeral your funeral directors will contact you to discuss how you wish to dispose of the ashes. It is the duty of the minister to ensure that cremated remains are buried and they may not be scattered on the surface of the churchyard. Ideally the cremated remains should be interred directly into the ground without any container.
We have a small Garden of Ease at St. Mary’s where Ashes may be buried or if there are other graves which belong to your family you may wish to have the ashes interred in those. Either way you will need to have a conversation with the Vicar to assist you in making the right choice for you and your family.
If you choose a burial, the funeral service will take place in the church followed by a short act of committal at the graveside. After the funeral at least six month must elapse before a memorial stone can be erected.
There are a variety of stones which may be chosen for a headstone, all of which must be ethically sourced. The stone which you select must be unpolished, which means that it must have a matt, non-reflective surface and must not be polished or finished in any manner which gives an effect similar to that of polished stone. In some cases it is possible to allow part of the headstone to be honed (which is the stage before final polishing).
The words of inscription on a headstone are highly significant and care needs to be taken to choose appropriate wording. The inscription needs to be in English, names of the deceased must be written in full (if the person was known by an abbreviated name it may be added in brackets after the Christian name), the dates of birth and death are also included. The headstone is an opportunity to record in words something about the character or life of the person commemorated, so that future generations, both of the family in question and the public generally, will be able to read the testimonial and reflect on the life recorded on the memorial. Any quotation used on a memorial in a churchyard must be consistent with the Christian belief in life after death. An appropriate quotation from the Bible, or a suitable line from a hymn or poem may be used. The Minister who conducted the burial can help you with your choice in this regard.
A small Christian symbol can also be included on the headstone, or a single flower. Photographs are not allowed.
Other wording, symbols or pictures cannot be approved by the Vicar; if however, you wish to discuss a design for a headstone which does not fall into the above categories it is possible to apply for a faculty and the Vicar will assist you with this. There is no guarantee that a faculty application will be successful.
Caring for the Grave
Flowers, plants, trees and benches: Where a flower vase is included in the base of the headstone fresh flowers or cuttings from shrubs or bushes may be placed in the base. No plastic or artificial flowers of any kind are allowed. (The only two exceptions to this are: Poppies on Remembrance Sunday and wreaths at Christmas)
The working party of St. Mary’s Church has the authority of the PCC to remove dead flowers, trim overgrown or unsightly plants, mow the grass and to keep the churchyard in good order. Empty flower pots or vases will be removed and stored in one of our outbuildings. The working party also has the authority of the PCC to remove artificial flowers, photographs or other artefacts which are inappropriately placed on a grave or at the Garden of Ease. Any items will be taken and stored for a period of approximately 6 months and can be retrieved by speaking to one of the working party on any Tuesday morning or by telephoning the Vicar.
Trees in the churchyard are under the control of two separate agencies which work together to ensure a balanced environment for all trees to flourish. If you are thinking of planting a tree in memory of a loved one please contact the Vicar in the first instance. In all circumstances permission from the local authority and a faculty will need to be obtained from the Chancellor before a tree is able to be planted.
Benches in the Churchyard
At the present time we have more benches in St. Mary’s Churchyard than would normally be recommended. If you are thinking about a bench in the Churchyard in memory of a loved one please speak to the Vicar. In all circumstances a faculty will need to be obtained from the Chancellor before a bench is able to be installed.
Care of those who have been recently bereaved is taken very seriously by the Ministry team at St. Mary’s Church. They are always available if you feel you need to talk about your loved one who has died or any issues you may have surrounding their death or funeral.
Every year, at the end of October, we hold a service for those who have been bereaved over previous years. Letters will be sent to those who have been recently bereaved inviting them to the service, however, if you do not receive a letter or your loved one died more than two years ago, please do feel free to attend the service. There will be a poster on the church notice board and details in the church magazine around that time.