Consecrated ground and burial grounds—issues for developers
Consecrated ground and burial grounds—issues for developers

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Consecrated ground and burial grounds—issues for developers
  • Consecrated land—Church of England
  • Compulsory purchase powers
  • Burial grounds
  • Exhumation of human remains
  • Charitable trust

Consecrated land—Church of England

For the purposes of this section of this Practice Note, consecrated land means any land or building which has been the subject of a service of consecration in accordance with the rites of the Church of England. In the case of some ancient churches and churchyards, consecration has to be presumed (for want of any formal record), but usually the Diocesan Registrar holds a record of all consecrations (and deconsecrations) within the diocese.

Consecration is not confined to churches, churchyards, burial grounds or other land within the ownership of the Church of England. Cemeteries which are owned by a parish council, local authority or commercial operator will invariably also be consecrated, as may some crematoria. Private land which has been used for family burials, or as a natural or woodland burial ground, may also be consecrated.

Consecration is not confined to burial grounds; for example many private chapels (such as might be found within the precincts of hospitals, universities, colleges and schools) may well also be consecrated.

Consequences of consecration

Consecrated land is subject to faculty jurisdiction (ie it falls to be dealt with under ecclesiastical, and not secular law). That jurisdiction also extends to:

  1. certain unconsecrated buildings licensed for public worship, after 1 March 1993, under the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991 (1991 Measure)