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Burials and headstones

Information about our Cemeteries and guidance on burials and headstones

Arranging a burial

Using a Funeral Director can assist a family but it is not necessary to use one. The Funeral Director, if you use one, will be able to:

  • arrange the booking of the date and time
  • arrange officiants
  • coordinate paperwork
  • advise what can take place during a funeral
  • arrange other practical elements of the funeral including, where necessary, arranging the grave to be dug

If you would like to arrange a burial in one of our cemeteries, please liaise with a Funeral Director or contact our office at Mintlyn Crematorium.

Please note, the mass release of balloons or any sky lantern is not permitted.

Cemetery spaces

There are no new grave spaces available at Hardwick Road. The cemetery is still used for burials and the interment of cremated remains in existing family graves.

All the other cemeteries have land available for burials.

There is an area at Gayton Road cemetery set aside for the burial of stillborn children and infants. 

Each of the cemeteries, except Hardwick Road, have areas set aside for the burial of cremated remains.

All bereaved have responsibilities in the council cemeteries for ensuring that they comply with the rules and regulations, and that memorials are kept safe, clean and tidy.

Exhumation

Exhumation of both buried coffins and cremated remains requires legal authority, which in our cemeteries will be in the form of a Ministry of Justice Exhumation Licence. These need to be arranged via GOV.UK - Apply for an Exhumation Licence.

Burial records

All burial or grave records for our six cemeteries are held at Mintlyn Crematorium. We do not hold records for any other Cemetery or Churchyards. For enquiries about locating a family grave at any of our six cemeteries please see our genealogy searches page.

Frequently asked questions

We've provided answers to some of our frequently asked questions below.

How do I buy a grave?

When you 'buy' a grave you are buying the right to bury in a grave, not the land. These rights are known as the Exclusive Rights of Burial. The purchase can be arranged via a Funeral Director, or you can make your own arrangements directly with us. It can be arranged in advance or at the time of the funeral. Buying the rights application is available from our office. Alternatively, please see our fees,forms and documents page.

How long can I buy the rights of a grave for?

The Exclusive Right of Burial is sold for 99 years.

Who can buy the rights to a grave?

Anyone can buy the Exclusive Rights of Burial to a grave in one of our cemeteries. If there is someone else already buried in the grave we have to make sure that the relatives of that person do not have a claim on the grave rights.

What is the difference between unpurchased and purchased graves?

A purchased grave is where the Exclusive Rights of Burial can be bought for a period of 99 years. Rights may be renewed at the end of this period. The owner of the Right of Burial can decide who will be buried in the grave and memorials are allowed in line with our cemetery regulations.

An unpurchased grave, sometimes known as a public or common grave, is where the Exclusive Rights of Burial have not been purchased and we decide what goes on or in the grave.

What can I put on a grave?

If you own the Exclusive Rights of Burial you can put a headstone on a grave. If you don't own the rights or the grave is unpurchased there are restrictions on what is allowed. Our Guide to Placing a Headstone leaflet will answer most questions about how to arrange a headstone for a grave. This can be found at the bottom of this page. All families have responsibilities in our cemeteries for ensuring that they comply with the rules and regulations, and ensure that memorials are kept safe, clean and tidy.

Are there restrictions on the type of headstone?

Yes, we do have restrictions on the type of headstones allowed. All headstones have to be approved by us. Some of our cemeteries have sections where only certain types of headstone memorials are permitted after the funeral has taken place. If you know what type of headstone memorial you will want on a grave, it's important you let us know, so that a grave in the correct location is allocated before the funeral.

Lawn Type Graves

We only allow the owner of the rights to put a headstone, small vase, or cremated remains tablet on the grave, or it may be left unmarked. We don't allow anything along the full length of the grave. As the name lawn suggests, after the burial has taken place, the grave will be levelled and will be grassed over. 

Kerbed Section Graves (Traditional)

If you want a grave that has a kerb around the full length of it, you must check that we will approve a kerb in the allocated grave space.

Cremated Remains Graves

Smaller graves that only permit cremation tablets.

Can I bury cremated remains in the cemeteries?

Yes, cremated remains can be buried in an urn or casket in either the section dedicated for cremated remains or in a full sized purchased grave. 

How much will it cost?

Please see our fees, forms and documents page.

Please note, we will charge double the listed fees if at the time of death the deceased was:

  • not a resident of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, and
  • you can't prove they had lived within the boundary within the last five years

I don't want to be buried in a cemetery or churchyard

If you're interested in a burial that is not in a cemetery or churchyard the Natural Death Centre has guidance on alternatives.

Contact the Environment Agency and your local planning office for the latest laws on burial on private land such as farmland or a gardens. 

How do I arrange to be buried in my garden?

There are restrictions on consents, watercourses and grave depth, and the close proximity of neighbours and listing the burial on the house deeds. You also need to consider devaluation of the property due to the presence of a grave and the risk of later exhumation. 

Further information

We have guidance leaflets providing further information.

Our leaflet 'A Guide to Burials and Cemeteries in West Norfolk' outlines some questions that most often arise, and our Guide to placing a Headstone will give some help on putting a headstone on a grave.

For the full information you can also view our 'Cemetery Regulations' booklet.

All our guidance leaflets can be found in our document downloads below.