Exhumations occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • Movement from the original grave to a subsequently acquired family plot
  • Repatriation overseas to be buried along with other family
  • Transfer from one cemetery scheduled for development to another
  • On the Coroner's order for further forensic examination


It is an offence to disturb any buried human remains without first obtaining the necessary lawful permissions.  The law prohibiting disturbance applies to both full coffin burials and burial of cremated remains.

A licence must be obtained from the Ministry of Justice.  Exhumation licences must be applied for on the official Home Office form, and are free of charge.  Exhumation licences contain certain conditions that have to be observed.

If the person is buried in consecrated grounds, permission from the church must also be obtained.  The permission of the owner of the grave must be gained, or, if the grave is unpurchased, the permission of the owners of the cemetery.  An Environmental Health Officer is normally present at the exhumation of a body to ensure that there is no threat to public health.

If you would like further information about exhumation please telephone the Cemetery Manager on 01255 686670.


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