Exclusive Rights Information

Selection of Grave Space

The selection of grave spaces, in all cases, is at the sole discretion of the Council.

Exclusive Rights of Burial

The Deed of Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial is an official document which confirms with the purchaser their right to burial within a defined grave space in the cemetery. There is a popular belief that the grave itself is purchased. In fact, only the rights of burial are purchased and not the land itself, which remains the property of the burial authority.

Bodmin Town Council issues new Deeds of Grant of Exclusive Right of 50 years, allowing the purchase of extensions at the end of that period at 10 year increments up to a maximum of 100 years. Renewing or extending the Deed of Grant of Exclusive Right is strongly recommended. With so many Exclusive Rights on its records, the Council is unable to send reminders and the responsibility of renewal lies with the Deedholder’s, who should contact the Council to arrange an extension.

The Exclusive Rights of Burial is for up to a maximum two normal interments within the grave plot. However, when the maximum of two normal interments has been reached, the plot may still be utilised for the interment of cremated remains.

It is important for the Deedholder to retain the Deed in a secure place, as it is the only legal document held by the owner confirming their entitlement to the burial and memorial rights.

After the rights have lapsed, grave ownership reverts to the Council and the Council is at liberty to reuse or resell any space remaining.

Transfer of Deed of Grant of Exclusive Rights of Burial

If the owner of the Exclusive Rights dies, it is reasonably assumed that they gave permission to have themselves interred in the grave. After this, the Rights become part of their estate and may be left in a Will or assigned by their executors to someone else. If the Rights are not specifically mentioned in the Will, they will form part of the ‘residue’ of the Will, usually willed as ‘and all my other worldly goods’ at the end of the Will.

Whoever inherits the Rights will need to contact the Council and arrange for a transfer of ownership before the grave can be opened again. It is not possible to place a new monument or alter an existing one without the express permission of the owner (Exclusive Rightholder).

In cases where the owner of the Rights died some years ago and the family wish to reuse the grave, there will be a need to legally transfer ownership. This may involve seeing copies of Will(s) and / or Grants of Probate. Otherwise there may be a need to make a Statutory Declaration in front of a Commissioner for Oaths, Solicitor or Magistrate. Although the Council can advise of the process and provide specimen paperwork, ownership is the family’s responsibility and the Council is unable to accept a booking for an interment unless ownership has been clearly established.

Exclusive Rights that are no longer required by the Rightholder may be surrendered to the council at any time, by writing to the council and returning any Deed(s) held.

Change of Address for an Exclusive Right of Burial

Please write to Bodmin Town Council to change your address on your Deed of Grant, giving your old and new addresses.

Unpurchased Grave

It is possible to arrange for a burial to take place in an unpurchased grave (sometimes referred to as a common or public grave). The Exclusive Right of Burial, as explained above, is not sold and the rights to the grave are retained by Bodmin Town Council. It could be that future unrelated burials could take place within the grave. Memorials are not permitted on unpurchased grave spaces.

Interment

Only human remains may be interred in the Cemetery (plus any small articles that can be reasonably contained in a standard coffin or casket).

Please note that only persons employed by the Council can carry out excavations for interments.

A certificate of the Register of Births and Deaths, or in the case of an inquest, a Coroner’s Order for the Burial, must be delivered to the Clerk or other authorised officer, prior to the interment.

In the period following a burial, the grave surface will naturally be subject to soil settlement. The initial settlement usually lasts for about six to nine months, during which time the surface will be topped-off by cemetery staff as required. Once the initial settlement has taken place, the surface will be grassed over. Over future years the grave naturally continues to settle and may require re-surfacing from time to time. This work is usually carried out in the late autumn or early winter, but Cemetery staff will be pleased to top-off / resurface a grave when requested by the Exclusive Rightholder.

Restricted Access to your Grave

There are times when the Council will need to excavate the grave situated at the side or foot of the grave you have purchased for other burials. Boards will be placed over the grave and it may be difficult for you to visit for a short period. Please be prepared for this eventuality and be assured that after the funeral, the grave will be cleared and the area left neat and tidy. Indeed, when a burial occurs in the grave that you hold the Exclusive Rights for, the Council could be required to cover the adjacent graves thus causing a similar situation for other grave owners.

Vaults or Walled Graves

Detailed drawings, together with a copy of any inscriptions, must be submitted for the approval of the Burial Authority and the work on the construction shall not commence until approval has been received in writing and the appropriate fee has been paid.

Bearers

Funeral Directors are responsible for arranging sufficient bearers to carry and lower the coffin in a dignified manner. The Council understands that family members and mourners will often wish to assist with this and the Council respects that decision. The Council asks you to be aware that any mourners who do assist with the bearing or lowering of the coffin do so at their own risk.

Interment Fees

Please be aware that in addition to the fee charged for the Exclusive Right of Burial, an Interment Fee for opening and closing a grave is charged. The Interment Fee is charged every time a grave is opened for an interment and the level of the fee depends on the depth to be opened and the scale of charges that applies at the time. The current schedule of charges can be found here.

Interment of a child

There are sections of the New Cemetery that are set aside for the interment of children. Bodmin Town Council makes no charge for the interment of the body of a child not more than sixteen years of age, or for still born babies, where the parents are parishioners.

Lawn Cemetery

The New Cemetery, where most new interments occur, is operated in what is known as a lawn style. Using this system helps the Council maintain the cemetery efficiently and makes the excavation of graves for future burials more straightforward. The types of memorials that are allowed are set out in the Memorial Regulations and whilst visitors are welcome to place flowers in vases attached to the headstone or floral tributes on the headstone base the placing of flowers, shrubs and trees, including annual plants, on the grave is not permitted. The Council reserves the right to remove and dispose of such planting without notice or compensation.

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