At Brixworth, our Churchyard is still open for burials and internment of ashes.
Please note that it is a Churchyard and not a civil cemetery, and as such is subject to Rules and Regulations laid down by our Diocese. If these are not compatible with your wishes, or the wishes of your loved ones then it is worth discussing suitability in advance in an open and honest manner. These must be respected, and are enforced by the PCC for the good of all who have friends and relatives in our Churchyard, and have often selected our Churchyard for this very reason.
We appreciate that bereavement is a difficult time for any family, and such things may be the last thing on people’s mind – but it is something to consider when choosing the last resting place of a family member, in order to avoid any unpleasantness later.
If you prefer a civil graveyard site with different regulations as opposed to a Churchyard, then the nearest is Kingsthorpe Cemetary.
The current Diocese regulations are available for review here.
Certain special locations in the Churchyard (The Garden of Remembrance) are also subject to additional local PCC byelaws – these will be discussed with you on application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who is responsible for the Churchyard?
A. The Parochial Church Council is responsible. This is a volunteer group of churchgoers elected from the Congregation annually. This is not the same as the village Parish Council, which is a civil organisation. The Parish Council becomes responsible for maintenance only after the Churchyard is closed, see link here for further info
Q. Who maintains the Grass?
A. We are heavily reliant on a network of local volunteers who give their time and equipment freely to maintain the grass length. We used to maintain this via Sheep, but due to complaints received regarding them eating the flowers we have switched to human effort!
Despite this, we never seem to have enough helping hands, and we have unfortunately lost a couple of our key volunteers in the last few years which has had a noticeable impact. If you can volunteer to help with this maintenance do please get in touch. We have a mower you can use, and will provide training and safety equipment.
Q. Can’t you just hire someone to mow the grass?
A. External contractors cost in the region of £500 to do this each and every time. This is not an insignificant amount of money, and we are reliant on Congregation donations to raise it. We do not receive any monies from the Parish Council in support of this.
In June, hopefully our fellow villagers will have noticed that we did indeed commission a contractor to break the back of it but we can’t do this that often as we simply don’t have the funds. We are hopeful new volunteers can come forward and help maintain it through the rest of summer.
Our Church is a heritage site of International significance and whilst it is a privilege to worship in such a site – it does require significant sums to upkeep.
Q. I can’t give my time, but can I help with the Churchyard upkeep via a donation?
A. Yes, of course. Please contact our PCC Treasurer.
Q. I pay my taxes, can’t you just ask the Parish Council for money?
A. Unfortunately, Brixworth Parish Council has a stated policy of not funding grant applications from religious organisations. This was recently reaffirmed (28/06/16) when a grant application for tree maintenance was declined on this basis.
We believe this to be wholly without merit and have appealed. If you agree with our appeal we suggest you make your opinions known to your Parish Council.
Hence the only current source of funding for Churchyard maintenance is via the congregation.
Q. The Church is rich, can’t the Queen pay for it?
A. We get this a lot. This is a popular misconception. The fact is our local Church is a heritage site of International significance and whilst it is a privilege to worship and live near such a site – it does require significant sums to upkeep. Our accounts are reviewed annually at the Parish meeting and are available from the PCC Treasurer. The inconvenient truth is the other churches in the Diocese are already subsidising the Parish by a large annual sum to keep the church at its current levels. This isn’t really fair.
Q. Why can’t you levy a charge for maintenance from the families of the people in the Churchyard?
This is harder than it sounds. Firstly, families can leave or not be from the area and it can be difficult to trace them. The PCC are just fellow normal villagers like yourself – we’re really not in the business of going around and demanding monies with menaces, nor would we want to!
Q. So, what’s the future – what happens when the Churchyard is full?
At the current rate of internment we expect this to occur within approximately seven years. Certainly within a decade. This has already been flagged in the recent Neighbourhood plan.
Brixworth PCC have no intention of purchasing additional land once the Churchyard is full. Simply put, we do not have the funds needed to make such a land investment – which we believe would be in the region of at least six figures.
Once the Closing Order has been granted by the Ministry of Justice, then under Section 215 of the Local Government Act 1972, a Parochial Church Council may give notice to the Parish Council, requiring the Parish Council to take over the responsibility of maintaining a churchyard which has been closed by Order in Council. Three months after the giving of the notice, the Parish Council becomes legally responsible for maintaining the churchyard.
Although the statutory period for giving notice to the Parish Council is three months, the General Synod Office requested in 1981 that PCCs try to give Parish Councils at least twelve months notice, in order to allow Parish Councils time to make appropriate provision in their budgets.
Brixworth PCC have already notified Brixworth Parish Council of our near term intentions, so they can investigate the considerations regarding funding and purchase of suitable land within the village for the next burial ground – assuming there is a will to do so, the village may simply use the Civil Cemetery at Kingsthorpe.
More information is available at: http://www.peterboroughdiocesanregistry.co.uk/churchyards.html
We hope this article has been useful, and clarifies the roles and responsibilities in the village.