St Matthias' Churchyard

The Parish of Malvern Link with Cowleigh

​​​To keep our churchyards suitably respectful and safe for those who visit them and those who maintain them, the Church authorities have issued regulations and guidelines that govern memorials and the management of churchyards. 


After the burial, the ground must be given time to settle, before the erection of a headstone.  After six months or more (depending on the level of rainfall), and before the erection of a headstone, the ground will be leveled and the turf replaced.

Permission for a headstone or an ashes tablet is by formal application to the Vicar.  This is usually done via a reputable stonemason who will advise about statutory fees and permitted dimensions, materials, designs and wording, and will help you complete the application.

The design of the headstone or tablet may include integral flower receptacles.  No other flower container or pot of any kind is permitted on the grave, whether on the headstone (or tablet) or on the grass.

An ashes tablet must be completely flat and level with the grass.  Other than an incorporated receptacle for flowers, no other additions are permitted. 

A simple wooden cross, whether temporary or permanent, is an alternative to a headstone, and formal application and fees are still required.  

Home-made headstones, tablets or wooden crosses are not permitted.

A temporary marker is permitted if supplied and installed by the funeral directors at the time of the burial.  Typically, these are a few inches square and tall and have an incorporated plaque for the name and dates of the deceased.


Please note that the Worcester Diocesan Registry prohibits permission being given by the Vicar and Churchwardens for the introduction into a churchyard of any of the following:

•any crosses, stones or other memorials for which official approval has not been given

•edgings, kerbs, barriers, grit, gravel (all of which have not been permitted for many years)

planted gardens (other than bulbs)

•artificial flowers, except in incorporated flower receptacles, though they will be removed when faded

•vases, pots, troughs, lights, statues, windmills, chimes, toys, trinkets, cards, letters, photographs 

All not permitted items may be removed and disposed of without notice. 

Christmas and anniversary wreaths/bouquets and winter and spring bulbs, immediately in front of the headstone /cross/marker are the only permitted exceptions.


Over the years, many hundreds of graves and memorials have been established in these churchyards.  Many are old and no longer receive visitors, but they were once precious to someone, as are those which are visited and tended now.

The purpose of the churchyards is to provide a peaceful place of rest for the dead and a place of memorial for their friends and relatives to visit.  Churchyards also serve as a community amenity and conservation area.

The responsibility for maintenance of these areas and the costs incurred are borne entirely by St Matthias’ District Church Council.  Some of the day-to-day work is carried out voluntarily by members of the congregation, but the DCC pays for the grass to be cut, the hedges to be trimmed and the trees to be managed.  If you would like to make a donation towards these substantial costs, please contact the Vicar or the Churchyards Officer (see below). We have a special fund to which contributions can be made regularly by a simple direct debit arrangement.  If you feel you would like to join the scheme, please ask for a mandate form.  A regular donation will be much appreciated.


As members of the Living Churchyard and Cemetery Project we aim to conserve as many of the natural aspects of the land as is practicable.

Flowers in the churchyards are welcome but must be removed once they are past.  Dead flowers should be placed in the litterbins at the exits along with any other rubbish or unwanted items. Wreaths remaining after Christmas will be removed just prior to the first grass cutting of early Spring.

Maintenance of the churchyards requires the use of strimmers and lawnmowers.  Therefore, any obstacles (see “Items Not Permitted” in the Regulations over the page) will cause a health and safety hazard to those involved in churchyard care.  Please do not be guilty of causing an accident.


There is no running water available in these churchyards.  The outside tap has long since become the victim of vandalism and has had to be removed.  We recommend you bring water with you. Please take containers home or dispose of them in the litterbins.


Further advice and guidance may be obtained from the Churchyard Officer:

Mr Ian Panton
01684 561764
[email protected]

The first version of this leaflet was published in 2006.  
It was revised in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
The revisions clarified the regulations and procedure, but made no substantial change to the regulations.