1. Interpretation

Throughout these Regulations the following words or terms where used shall have the meaning or signification hereby assigned to them, viz:-

‘the Council’ shall mean the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council;

‘the Cemetery’ shall mean the burial ground provided by the Council at Benhall Mill Road, Hawkhurst, in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells;

‘the Registrar’ shall mean the person for the time being holding office by that designation under the Council with respect to the Cemetery or, during his absence, any officer of the Council duly authorised by the Council to act on his behalf.

2. General

  1. Telephone Message – Any orders or instructions given by telephone will be received at the sole risk of the person giving them and the Council shall not be responsible for any misunderstanding or error which may arise with respect thereto unless they are immediately confirmed in writing and in any manner provided by these regulations.
  2. Plan of Cemetery – A plan of the Cemetery is provided by the Council and may be inspected at the Registrar’s Office without charge.
  3. Register of Burials – A register of burials will be kept at the office of the Registrar where searches may be made and certified extracts obtained during normal office hours upon payment of the appropriate fee.
  4. Calculation of Time for Notices – In calculation the time required for any notice of application to the Council or any of its officers under these Regulations, Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Christmas Day and Bank Holidays and such other days as may be appointed a general holiday shall be excluded.
  5. Chapels – Burials will not be allowed in the chapels in the Cemetery nor may any memorial tablets be placed on the interior walls. The bodies of persons who have died while suffering from infectious diseases may not be taken into the chapels.
  6. Coffin – Affixed to the coffin lid will be a nameplate stating the full name of the deceased person, their age in years and the date of their death.
  7. Numerously attended Funerals – If a funeral is one at which numerous persons are expected to assembly or if it is likely to be attended by bands of music or banners, the Registrar must be notified at least one clear day beforehand.
  8. Punctuality – The time fixed for a funeral shall be the time at which the procession is to arrive at the Cemetery. This time must be strictly observed and in default, the Registrar may allow another funeral to take precedence. A surcharge at the current rate prevailing for funeral services overrunning their allocated time may also be levied at the discretion of the Registrar.
  9. Gratuities – No employee of the Council is allowed either to take any gratuity or to undertake privately work of any kind in connection with the Cemetery either in his own time or during the Council’s time.
  10. Complaints – Any complaints of incivility or inattention should be made to the Registrar.
  11. Advertisements – No advertisements, placard, flag or barrier shall be displayed in any part of the Cemetery and no person shall in the Cemetery or its immediate precincts distribute any business cards, advertisements or literature of any kind or otherwise solicit any order for monumental or other works in connection with any grave.
  12. Vehicles – All motorised vehicles must keep to the main drives and restrict their speed to 5mph. Washing, cleaning, valeting or maintenance of motorised vehicles within the cemetery is also not permitted.
  13. Flowers and Wreaths – Flowers and wreaths may be placed upon any grave (including a grave in a Lawn Cemetery) and left there for five days. All dead flowers and wreaths will be removed at the expiration of that period. All plastic and other artificial flowers, wreaths and greenery will, for the purpose of interpretation in these regulations be treated as ordinary flowers and disposed of accordingly.
  14. Right of Movement – The Council reserves to itself, its officers and employees the right of passage over any graves for any purpose connected with the maintenance and management of the Cemetery and to remove any memorial from an adjoining grave to facilitate an interment if this should be necessary.In the event of such action being necessary the cost of such works shall be borne by the person arranging the interment.

3. Interments

  1. Notice of Interment – All notices of interment shall be given to the Registrar during office hours only on forms provided for the purpose by the Council. All applications for grave spaces shall be made to the Registrar; all fees must be paid to the Director of Finance on or behalf giving notice to interment.
  2. Length of Notice of Interment – The length of notice required for an interment shall be as follows:
    1. Notice of interment (by way of the form referred to in paragraph 3-i) in an unwalled grave or in a walled grave or vault already constructed shall be given not later than forty-eight hours prior to the interment;
    2. Notice of interment (by way of the form referred to in paragraph 3-i) in a walled grave or vault not already constructed shall be given in the case of a walled grave not later than three and in the case of a vault not later than four clear days beforehand. The Council may require longer notice to be given if difficulty is being caused by inclement weather, shortage of gravediggers, a large number of interments or any other sufficient reason. This regulation shall not apply to interments required immediately upon the certificate of a Coroner or the Community Physician.
  3. Hours of Interments – Except on the production of the certificate of a Coroner or Community Physician that immediate burial is necessary on the grounds of public health, interments may take place only between 9.30am to 1.30pm (2.30pm April to September inclusive) on Monday-Friday and will not be allowed on Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holidays, Good Friday, Christmas Day and such other days as may be appointed a general holiday.
  4. Attendance of Clergy – The undertaker or other person having charge of any funeral will be responsible for arranging with the incumbent clergyman or minister for him to be present to perform any religious service thereat.
  5. Certificate of Death – The certificate of the Registrar of Deaths relating to the death of the person to be buried, or in cases where an inquest has been held the certificate of the Coroner or in cases of the interment of cremated remains the certificate of the cremation authority, must be produced to the Registrar before interment takes place.In cases where the certificate of the Coroner or Registrar of Deaths is not produced the Registrar is authorised to accept a written declaration in the prescribed form by the person procuring the burial that a certificate of the Coroner or Registrar of Deaths has been issued in respect of the deceased and the person so procuring the burial will pay the prescribed fee. In the event of the certificate being produced to the Registrar Page 5 of 13 within 24 hours of the burial the fee will be refunded. This provision does not apply to the burial of a still-born child.
  6. Interment of Still-born Children – Notices of interment of still-born children must be accompanied by either a certificate from the Registrar of Deaths or an order from the Coroner.

4. Exclusive right of burial

  1. Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial – On the sale of the exclusive right of burial in a grave space, a Deed of Grant shall be issued to the person by whom or on whose behalf such right is purchased and such person shall be registered in the books of the Council as the owner of the grave. The Deed of Grant shall be carefully preserved by the owner of the grave as this will be required when further interments take place or when it is desired to carry out certain works to the grave. The Exclusive Right of Burial shall be granted for a period not exceeding 35 years in the first instance, at the expiration of which, unless the period of the grant is extended, all rights in the grave will revert to the Council and any memorial erected on the grave can be removed.
  2. Devolution of Exclusive Right of Burial – After death of the registered owner of a grave the Probate of the Will and/or letters of administration, when available, should be sent to the Registrar, Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery, with the original Deed of Grant and the appropriate registration fee so that the grave may be transferred to the Executors or other interested person.
  3. Transfer of Exclusive Right of Burial – Purchasers of the exclusive right of burial shall not dispose of their right without the consent of the Council and a transfer of the exclusive right of burial in a grave space will not be deemed valid until such transfer has been registered upon payment of the prescribed fee at the office of the Registrar.
  4. Opening of Private Grave or Vault – If any interment is to take place in a grave or vault in which the exclusive right of burial has been purchased, the Deed of Grant must be produced at the time of giving notice of the interment, together with the written consent of the owner or his or her legal representative. If the owner of the exclusive right of burial is deceased, the grave space can only be opened on the authority of the person whom the Council shall consider entitled to give such instruction, and a legal transfer of the Exclusive Right of Burial has been effected prior to the opening of the grave. Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this paragraph, the body of the registered owner of a grave will be buried therein without production of the Deed of Grant, provided that there is room in the grave for such burial.
  5. Copy Deed of Grant – Duplicate Deeds of Grant cannot be issued but a copy of the original Deed of Grant can be supplied on application to the Borough Secretary, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells on payment of the free prescribed by the Council. A copy Deed of Grant is not a substitute for the original Deed and cannot be produced in lieu thereof for the purpose of any of the regulations herein contained.

5. Grave spaces

  1. Excavation of Graves and Vaults – Every grave shall be dug as nearly as may be in the centre of its grave space. All graves and vaults in the Cemetery are to be excavated only by workmen appointed by the Council the cost of such works being included in the fee for the interment.
  2. Removal of Monuments – If it is necessary in order to open any grave for an interment therein, any monument stone or kerb erected or placed thereon shall be removed at the expense of the owner of the grave or the person giving the order for burial and shall be re-erected or replaced by and the expense of the owner or person giving the order for the funeral, as soon as practicable after the funeral. The Council reserve the right to execute the work themselves at the owner’s cost if it is deemed expedient so to do.
  3. Depth of Interments – Save in the cases of graves or vaults provided for cremated remains only every grave or vault shall be at least five feet but not more than 12 feet in depth from the surface, and no coffin, urn or casket, shall be buried in any unwalled grave with three feet of the ordinary level of the ground provided that where a grave or vault is provided for the interment of cremated remains only it shall not be more than 4 feet in depth but that no part of the urn, casket or other receptacle containing such remains shall be less than 2 feet below the ordinary level of the ground.A layer of earth six inches thick and in addition any soil found to be offensive or containing human remains shall be left undisturbed above the previously buried coffin. If in the case it is deemed impracticable to conform to the foregoing owing to drainage or any cause, the Council reserve the right to specify the maximum depth to which a grave shall be dug. The depth of every grave shall be recorded in the register of graves.
  4. Number to be Buried at one time – One body shall be buried in a grave at one time unless the consent of the Council has been obtained or the bodies are those of members of the same family and not more than one body will be allowed in any one coffin except in the case of mother and child.
  5. Surface of Graves – Lawn Cemetery and Cremation Plots – The surface of every grave in the Lawn Cemetery and every Cremation plot shall be finished off level with the surround area as soon as the earth is properly settled, and no mounds or kerbs will be allowed in the Lawn Cemetery section or on Cremation plot. No person other than duly authorised officers or servants of the Council shall interfere with or alter the turfed area of the Lawn Cemetery. If it is so wished an area 2 feet 6 inches wide by 1 foot at the head of the grave may be planted with Spring, Summer or Winter bedding plants in lieu of a memorial.
  6. Surface of graves (other than Lawn Cemetery) – The surface of every grave (not being a grave in the Lawn Cemetery Section) shall be turfed over or planted, or covered with a memorial where the right to do so has been granted, as soon as the earth has properly settled after each interment.
  7. Brickwork of Walled Graves and Vaults – The brickwork of the sides and arch of every vault or walled grave shall be at least 225mm (9 ins) thick with ends 105mm (3 ins) thick and sufficient covering stone and no arch shall be visible above ground level. the brick work shall be of materials, design and workmanship to the satisfaction of the Registrar. In vaults and walled graves the brickwork shall be constructed so that a slab of stone not less than 50mm (2 ins) in thickness may be placed over each coffin whereby it may be interred in an airtight manner as provided in Regulation (ix) below.
  8. Coffins – Only wooden coffins or shrouds will be allowed in graves in which the exclusive right has not been purchased. In graves which the exclusive right of burial has been purchased wooden or lead or zinc lined coffins may be used. All coffins to be buried in walled graves or vaults shall be airtight metal coffins or coffins lined with lead or zinc, and shall be entombed separately in an airtight manner, that is to say by properly cemented stone or brickwork which shall never be disturbed.
  9. Cremated Remains – Cremated remains shall be buried in a proper urn, casket or a container specifically designed for this purpose.
  10. Removal of Remains – No coffin or human remains may be removed after burial except with the licence of the Secretary of State or under a Bishop’s faculty as may be appropriate.
  11. Order of Interment in Grave Spaces – Interments in unpurchased graves shall take place in such grave spaces as the Council shall direct from time to time.
  12. Selection of Grave Spaces – The selection of grave spaces shall be subject to the approval of the Council, but the wishes of the applicant will be met as far as practicable.

6. Admission of visitors

  1. Hours of Opening – The Cemetery shall be open every day between the hours specified from time to time on the notice board affixed to the entrance gates. Every person, except officers and servants of the Council, shall leave the Cemetery at the time appointed for the closing thereof.
  2. Children – Children under 12 years of age will not be admitted to the Cemetery except under the care and direct supervision of a parent or other responsible person.
  3. Conduct of Visitors – Visitors must keep to the roads and walks in the Cemetery, abstain from;
    1. Smoking and touching the monuments, shrubs and flowers.
    2. Intoxication through drink or drugs, the use of improper or foul language, shouting, singing and whistling whilst in the cemetery. Likewise, refrain from any indecent, boisterous or discourteous behaviour, including the climbing on or over any gravestone, headstone, tombstone, monument, palisading, gate, wall, fence or building within the same.
    3. The operation of any device capable of producing sound or other musical instrument in the Cemetery Grounds (other than may be approved for accompany a burial service) and
    4. Interfering or distracting contractors or staff whilst in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.
    5. Any person contravening these regulations shall leave the Cemetery immediately upon request of the Registrar or other responsible officer or employee of the Council or of a police office in uniform.
  4. Dogs or Other Animals – Only when assisting their disabled owner will dogs registered for this purpose be permitted within the cemetery. All other dogs and/or other animals are not permitted within the cemetery.
  5. Photography – No person will be permitted to photograph or measure monuments or graves without permission in writing from the owner, which shall be produced to the Registrar. General views of the Cemetery may only be photographed by permission of the Registrar provided nothing in this regulation shall prevent mourners attending a funeral from photographing the flowers and wreaths placed on a grave after the same shall have been filled after the funeral.

7. Maintenance of grave spaces

  1. Planting of Graves and Disposal of Refuse – All plants on grave spaces maintained by the owner and are subject to the approval of the Council and must be kept in proper order; all refuse from cleaning and planting grave spaces must be placed immediately in the receptacles provided in the Cemetery for this purpose. The use of pesticides and herbicides on any grave space is forbidden.
  2. Neglected Grave Spaces – All grave spaces may be kept free of weeds by the Council should the owners of the exclusive right of burial therein neglect to attend to them. The cost of this work shall be repaid to the Council and no grave or vault will be re- opened upon which any costs remain unpaid. The Council reserve the right to remove from any grave space any plants, shrubs, trees, cut flowers or foliage which in the opinion of the Registrar have become unsightly or overgrown or detrimental to any adjoining grave space. For the purposes of this regulation the foregoing shall be deemed to include plastic or any other form of artificial flowers, shrubs or greenery.
  3. Upkeep of Grave Spaces – All graves spaces in which the exclusive right of burial has been sold together with the monuments, grave stones and tablets thereon, must be kept in good repair by the owners. If any repairs are not executed within three months after notice has been given by the Council to the owner or his representative the Council shall be entitled to take possession of the grave space in question with any monument, grave stone or tablet thereon, and to cause the same to be repaired or removed as the Council may think fit. If the name and address of the owner or his representative cannot be ascertained upon reasonable enquiry the notice required by this regulation may be given by posting the same upon the grave space in question and shall be deemed to have been served six weeks after being first posted thereon.
  4. Woodwork and Metal Work – No person shall place or allow to be placed on or around any grave space any woodwork or metal work of any description.
  5. Glassware or other Embellishments – The Council reserves the right to remove from any grave space any glassware or embellishment which in the opinion of the Council is dangerous, unsightly or a nuisance. This includes but is not limited to items constructed of glass, plastic, wire, reconstituted stone or other paraphernalia.
  6. Works to Grave – No person other than the owner, relative, friend or authorised council contractor may carry out maintenance works (excluding works to any memorial placed thereon) to a grave.

8. Monuments

  1. Copyright – All applicants for any form of monument, gravestone, tablet, or erection of any kind or a monumental inscription must satisfy themselves that there is no infringement of any copyright and the Council cannot accept responsibility should any such infringement take place notwithstanding the fact that the monument, gravestone, tablet, erection or monument inscription was approved for erection in the Cemetery.
  2. Erection of Monuments – Monuments may be erected only on grave spaces in which the exclusive right of burial has been purchased. On the completion of the memorials installation, a Deed of Grant for the memorial right shall be issued to the person by whom or on whose behalf such right is purchased and such person shall be registered in the books of the Council as the owner of the right. The Deed of Grant shall be carefully preserved by the owner of the memorial as this will be required for any new works, or the memorial rights are to be renewed.The memorial right shall be granted for a period not exceeding 10 years in the first instance, at the expiration of which the memorial must pass a safety and stability inspection to allow the period of the grant to be extended for either a further five or ten year period on payment of the appropriate fee. If the memorial right is not extended it will expire and the council will reserve the right to remove the memorial. No brickwork or stone shall be used in or upon nor shall any monument, headstone, footstone, kerbstone or other form of memorial or stone of any description or vase or similar ornament be erected, placed, laid upon or over any grave space in which the exclusive right of burial has not been purchased.
  3. Monuments on Lawn Cemetery Section – In the Lawn Cemetery Section of the Cemetery (Section D) memorial stones may only take the form of a headstone or cross which shall not exceed 1050mm (3 ft. 6 in) in height above ground level, 750mm (2 ft. 6 in) in width and be less than 77mm (3 ins) or more than 300mm (1 ft.) in thickness. No kerbstone or any other form of monument or memorial whatsoever will be allowed in this section of the Cemetery, and nothing else may be placed or erected on or over a grave except wreaths and flowers at the time of the interment.If so wished, a single stone vase with aluminium insert not exceeding 300mm (1 ft.) in diameter and 300mm (1 ft.) in height may be placed at the head of the grave in lieu of the headstone or cross. All headstones and crosses will be fixed at the head of the grave on a foundation, with an approved ground anchor system that complies with the NAMM Code of Working Practice, as required by the BRAMM scheme, and to the satisfaction of the Registrar.
  4. Power to Regulate Position of Monuments – The Council reserves the right to require any monument, gravestone or tablet to be erected in any position on the grave space in question as they may think fit.
  5. Height of Monuments – Kerbstones shall not exceed 300mm (1ft) in height, other monuments, gravestones and tablets shall not exceed 1065mm (3ft 6in) height including any base above ground level, except by special permission of the Council at its discretion.
  6. Thickness of Monuments – All monuments and headstones shall be at least 75mm (3in) in thickness from front to back and all kerbstones shall have a cross section size of not less than 150mm by 75mm (6 ins by 3 ins) except for a child’s grave (1200mm by 600mm) (4ft by 2ft) where the kerbstones shall have a cross section of not less than 125mm by 50mm (5 ins by 2 ins).
  7. Monumental Inscriptions – All monumental inscriptions on any form of monument, gravestone, tablet or erection of any kind in the Cemetery shall be either of bronze, lead, raised or inset, or incised and painted, or carved in relief.
  8. Materials of Monuments – Monuments, gravestones and tablets shall be made of natural granite, marble or quarried stone (but not Bath, Caen, Clipsham or soft sandstone) or of such other material capable of withstanding continuous exposure to the weather as the Council may approve and without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this regulation the Council may in any event reject monuments, gravestones and tablets may of any materials which in their opinion are unsuitable or incongruous with their surroundings. Chippings of any material, shingle, shale, loose slate or any form of loose stones are not permitted on any grave space.
  9. Marking of Monuments – All monuments, gravestones and tablets shall bear the section and number of the grave in good legible lettering not less than 20mm (3/4in) in height in a conspicuous position. The Council also reserve the right to place and continue on any monument, gravestone or tablet, their private mark or reference to that grave and such mark shall not be removed save only by them. The name only of the mason without address may be inscribed on any memorial.
  10. Construction to be Approved by the Registrar – All brickwork, foundations for monuments, gravestones or tablets together with all work involved in re-fixing the same after removal and all other work not performed by the servants of the Council shall be subject to the approval of the Registrar.
  11. Foundations – Only foundations conforming to the NAMM code of working practice may be used, and be of such size as are necessary to carry the weight of the memorial to the satisfaction of the Registrar.
  12. Construction of Paved Memorials – Crazed paving and other materials shall be supported by a concrete slab conforming to the following requirements:- a precast reinforced concrete slab at least 50mm (2 ins) thick, or a slab of in situ reinforced concrete at least 75mm (3ins) thick.
  13. Dowels and Cramps – All metal dowels and cramps shall be of solid stainless steel, smooth or threaded and installed according to the NAMM code of working practice.
  14. Fixing of Kerbstones – All kerbstones must be installed and fixed according to the NAMM code of working practice.
  15. Damage to Monuments – The Council accept no liability for any injury or damage whatsoever that may be caused to any form of monument, gravestone, tablet, vase, monumental inscription or other form of memorial in the Cemetery howsoever the same may be caused.
  16. Removal of Monuments – No monumental erection when erected shall be removed from the Cemetery except by special order from the Registrar. Any application to remove a memorial shall be signed by the owner and shall be submitted to the Registrar prior to such removal and all necessary work to any monumental erection so removed shall be executed and re-erection or replacement completed without delay and to the complete satisfaction of the Registrar.

9. Work in the Cemetery

  1. General – All monuments, gravestones and tablets and other works when commenced shall be proceeded with diligently and completed with due dispatch from day to day (weather permitting) until completed, and without causing any disturbance or annoyance to any person or damage or interference with other grave spaces in the Cemetery or the monuments, gravestones and tablets erected thereon, or the permit issued under Regulation 8(v) above for the erection or placing of such monument, gravestone or tablet will automatically become void.
  2. Hours Permitted for Work – No workmen or materials will be admitted into the Cemetery before 9am and workmen may not remain after 4.30pm (4pm from late November to late January). No workman or materials will be admitted within the Cemetery on Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas Day, Good Friday or Bank Holidays or on such other days as may be appointed a general holiday. Work under a permit issued pursuant to Regulation 8(v) above may be executed only during the hours specified in this regulation.
  3. Tools – Masons must furnish themselves with all materials and equipment required for fixing monuments, gravestones and tablets.
  4. Deposit against Damage – Before any work is admitted into or commenced in the Cemetery the person executing the same may be required to deposit the sum of £100 with the Registrar, which deposit will be repaid if all rubbish resulting from the work is cleared away forthwith and any damage done is made good to the satisfaction of the Registrar as soon as possible. In default the Council will undertake such clearance and making good, the deposit being applied towards the cost thereof and the person who executed the work will be held liable for any costs in excess of the deposit held.
  5. Handcarts and Other Vehicles – No cart, truck, barrow or lorry shall be allowed to remain within the Cemetery longer than shall be reasonably necessary for loading or unloading and shall not on any account be drawn off the roads or paths. Provided that this regulation shall not prevent the use of a handcart or barrow as shall be reasonably necessary exclusively for monumental or masonry work or in connection with the planting of shrubs or flowers on graves but such handcarts or barrows shall not be allowed to remain in the Cemetery longer than shall be necessary for the particular work in hand and shall not be allowed to remain in the Cemetery overnight nor during such time as they are not actually in use except with the permission of the Registrar. At no time shall any such handcart or barrow be drawn across any grave and all precautions shall be taken to prevent any damage to any part of the Cemetery. All trucks shall have tires of not less than four inches (100mm) in width.
  6. Hewing and Dressing of Stone – No hewing or dressing of stone shall take place in the Cemetery without the permission of the Registrar.

10. Power to exclude from the Cemetery

  1. Any person not complying with these Regulations may be refused admittance to the Cemetery for such periods as the Council may think fit.

11. Alterations to regulations

  1. The Council reserves the right to make any alterations in these regulations from time to time as they think fit.

12. Regulations to be condition of grant

  1. All the foregoing regulations shall be conditions attached to the sale by the Council of the exclusive right of burial in any part of the Cemetery. NOTICE By the Local Authorities’ Cemeteries Order 1977, Section 18 and 19 (which apply to the Cemetery) it is enacted that:
    1. No person shall –
      1. wilfully create any disturbance in a cemetery;
      2. commit any nuisance in a cemetery;
      3. wilfully interfere with any burial taking place in a cemetery;
      4. wilfully interfere with any grave or vault, any tombstone or other memorial, or any flowers or plants on any such matter; or play at any game or sport in the cemetery
    2. No person not being an officer or servant of the burial authority or another person so authorised by or on behalf of the burial authority shall enter or remain in the cemetery at any hour when it is closed to the public.

13. Penalties

  1. Every prohibition who contravenes –any prohibition under article 5(6); article 10(6) article 18; Part 1 of Schedule 2 15 shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £100 and in the case of a continuing offence to a fine not exceeding £10 for each day during which the office continues after conviction thereof.

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