8th August 2023
Wokingham Borough Council Cemeteries
Burial facilities are available to all Wokingham Borough Council residents at our two cemeteries located at:
- Shinfield, Grovelands Road, Spencers Wood, RG7 1DP
- St Sebastian’s, Heathlands Road, Wokingham, RG40 3AR
See our cemeteries page for more details.
- Burial bookings can be made during office hours 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, telephone: 0118 9746000
- Burials to take place between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday
- To meet the religious and cultural needs of faith communities requiring a same day or short notice burial, we also offer an out of hour’s burial service. This service is available from Monday to Friday, 5pm to 9am, and on weekend days and public holidays and can be accessed by phoning 0800 212 111
- Notice of Burial / Interment form is required for each burial. This form sets out all of the information required by the cemetery for the preparation of the grave and for completion of the statutory burial registers
- Registrars Certificate called the ‘Certificate for Burial or Cremation’ (green form) must be obtained when the death is registered; or a Coroners Order can be provided if the deceased was referred to a Coroner for a post-mortem
- Burials in existing or reserved graves, may only take place with the written permission of the registered grave owner
This documentation is required before a burial can take place.
Buying a grave
- We recommend that you discuss the type of grave and any memorial that you would like on the grave with family members before arranging a burial. This ensures that you purchase the right grave for your needs
- Wokingham Borough Council offers both purchased and unpurchased graves in its cemeteries.
New graves are currently available in both of our cemeteries. Please contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0118 9746000 for further information
- When buying a grave, you do not purchase any land and no ownership of land is transferred to you. What is purchased is the Exclusive Rights of Burial for a grave plot, which is effectively a leasehold arrangement
- You can purchase a grave plot in a Wokingham Borough Council cemetery for a period of 100 years, which is renewable at the end of the lease
- The leaseholder must give written consent for the grave to be opened for burials and apply for any memorial permits necessary
Graves available in our cemeteries
- Traditional grave - A grave that allows for a memorial headstone with kerbs, low fence or surrounds and to plant flowers over the full length of the grave. Trees and large shrubs are not permitted. Maintenance of the memorial and grave space remains the responsibility of the grave owner
- Cremated remains plot - These plots are smaller than full size graves and are for the burial of cremated remains only
- Unpurchased grave - Unpurchased graves do not have any additional rights and therefore, no memorials are permitted, and unrelated persons may be buried in the grave
- A grave may be dug for up to three adult burials; however, no guarantees can be made as ground conditions may vary. We will do our utmost to dig the graves at the maximum depth if requested
- The number of burials should be specified at the first burial, as we cannot deepen the grave subsequently
- In a dedicated cremated remains plot, two caskets can be interred
- When a grave has been bought, a Deed of Grant is issued and the name of the registered grave owner is recorded in the statutory register as the person owning burial rights
- The grave deed grants the owner the exclusive rights to a grave for a period of 100 years. No ownership of land is granted for the grave and the land remains the property of the council.
The deed grants the owner the right to
- be buried in a designated grave if space is available (includes cremated remains)
- authorise further burials in the grave where space is available (includes cremated remains)
- apply for a permit to place an inscribed memorial on the grave or give permission for an additional inscription to be added
- The grave deed is an important document and must be produced in the event of any future burial in the grave. It is essential, therefore, to keep the deed in a safe place to avoid any future problems
- Permission must be given by the owner for any burials in, or memorials placed on, the grave
- If there is no living owner, the council will need to establish who is legally entitled to the grave, and the 'transfer of ownership' must be completed before a burial can go ahead
Fee and charges
Read our latest Fees and charges (PDF document)
Why have I only been sold the grave for a set period of time?
- Unfortunately, the law stipulates that graves cannot be sold for more than 100 years. However, the law does permit grant of ownership to be extended and so accordingly we write to owners offering the opportunity to renew the right at the end of the current lease
I am told the grave is for two people - there is only one person in the grave and I now want two more burials to take place in the grave.
- When a grave is purchased to take two full body burials, the depth to which the grave is excavated for the first burial must take into account the need for the second burial
- There are legal requirements as to how much earth must be left on top of the last coffin, and it is therefore not physically possible to put an extra coffin into the grave without breaking the law. However, after the grave is full for coffined burial cremated remains caskets or urns may still be buried within the grave
What happens when the lease expires?
- At the end of the lease period we will write to the registered owner with the option to renew the rights for a further period
- It is vitally important that you keep us fully informed should you change address, otherwise you may not receive a notice of renewal at the appropriate time
How do I transfer grave ownership or what happens when the grave owner has died?
- A living grave owner may transfer the ownership of the grave rights by contacting our offices for advice on the necessary legal transfer of the deed. Please note a fee may be payable.
- When the grave owner is deceased the grave ownership can be transferred via the owner's estate. The means of transfer can be very complex and while there is a legal procedure to follow, each case must be looked at individually
- If you need to transfer ownership when the owner is deceased, you will need to contact our offices to arrange for a transfer to take place with due compliance with the law.
I have misplaced my grave deed. What should I do?
- If you lose or misplace your grave deeds you should contact our offices for advice.
Please advise us if you change your address. This is most important to enable us to keep our records up to date and contact you should the need arise.