Caring pastorally for people is an important part of life at St James, particularly at a time of arranging the funeral of a loved one. We are here to help, support and guide you through this difficult time, so please contact us.
The Chancellors Churchyard Regulations
The Churchyard Regulations which came into force in November 2019 have been updated with the revised regulations coming into effect from 2 November 2020. Please click on the following links to view the Diocese of Coventry Chancellor’s Churchyard Regulations in full and the Chancellor’s letter explaining the reasoning behind the changes.
The following leaflet gives only a brief extract of the Regulations and must be read in conjunction with the full regulations.
- All new inscriptions for grave burials or interments of ashes in a grave must be added to the existing memorial (headstone).
- Caskets or any other type of container are no longer permitted for the interment of ashes anywhere in the churchyard. All ashes must be interred loose.
- No new plaques, (flat memorials at ground level), are permitted anywhere in the churchyard.
- The following items are not allowed anywhere in the churchyard:- Artificial flowers, pots, containers, toys, photographs, candles, battery or solar operated lights, tablets, decorations, anything reflective or any other miscellaneous items. Neither are trees, shrubs, or cultivated gardens permitted. However, spring flowering bulbs are allowed to be planted in the grass.
- No glass of any kind (chippings or containers) is allowed anywhere in the churchyard.
- Remembrance, Christmas and Easter wreaths, as well as anniversary (date of death), containing artificial flowers are permitted but will be removed one month after the appropriate date.
- Fresh flowers may be laid on a grave but will be removed as soon as these have died. Where there is a hole for a metal container (glass or crock breaks with the first frost) in an existing monument base these may be used for fresh flowers but these will be removed as soon as they have died.
- An Application for any proposed new memorial must be made in writing to the incumbent and sent to the Church office. This would normally come from a stonemason. Approval to any such works will be given in writing.
- Any proposed work to be undertaken to a memorial (new inscription or refurbishment), be it a headstone, existing plaque or kerbs existing as at 1 November 2019, and any additional works thereafter, must be made in writing to the incumbent and sent to the Church office. This would normally come from a stonemason. Approval to any such works will be given in writing.
General information regarding the present situation in the St James Churchyard is as follows:-
- No new grave spaces for burials are any longer available.
- Where only one burial has already taken place in a grave (so long as it as double depth) a second burial of a family member may take place.
- After two burials in a grave have taken place cremated ashes of other direct family members may be interred in the same grave. All other family members must agree to this arrangement.
- There are new spaces available for cremated ashes to be interred in the ‘Garden of Remembrance’.
- It is advisable that no memorial should be erected for at least twelve months after a burial in a grave to allow for sinkage of the Southam clay. This will avoid future work should the memorial lean and/or start to sink.
- The actual churchyard extends to some two and a half acres and all maintenance is the financial responsibility of the congregation of St James. It would be appreciated if all people tending graves help to keep the churchyard tidy and place all rubbish either in the skip or bins provided.
- Details of any deceased person, buried or cremated, may be entered in the ‘Book of Remembrance’ which is situated in the Church building. Application forms may be obtained from the Church office for this purpose.
- All enquiries and requests regarding memorials, interment of ashes and any other matters (for which fees may be payable) should be directed to the St James Church Office, 74D Coventry Street, Southam, CV47 0EA. Telephone 01926 812413. The office is open Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 1.00pm except Bank holidays.
PLEASE RESPECT THE CHURCHYARD AND HELP TO KEEP IT TIDY
PLACE ALL RUBBISH OF ANY KIND IN THE SKIP OR BINS PROVIDED
DOGS MUST BE ON A LEAD AT ALL TIMES. PLEASE CLEAN UP AFTER THEM
St James Parochial Church Council
The Town Churchyard at St James is divided into three areas. Since the church was first constructed the oldest area that had been used for burials up to around 1800 is on the south side of the building adjoining Warwick Street and Kirkwall.
The next area that was used is known as the Upper Churchyard from behind the Market Hill shops on the north side of the building down to the iron railings running from the War Memorial to Park Lane. Burials in most of this area generally ceased about 100 years ago but the last one or two took place in family graves in the 1950’s. It now contains a dedicated area for the interment of ashes and in addition an area adjacent to Park Lane was granted permission by the Diocese in September 2004 for reuse for burials but with stringent conditions. This area was completely filled with burials by 2014 and no new grave spaces are now available in the churchyard.
The third area is all the remainder to the west from the War Memorial down to the Recreation Ground which started to be used in the late 1800’s and became filled with graves during 2004. However, where space exists, second burials of family members can still take place in existing family graves. Even if two burials have taken place cremated ashes of other family members may still be interred in such graves. Additional inscriptions, subject to the approval of the Priest in Charge, can be added to the front or back of any existing headstone.
All people of any denomination who reside within the parish boundaries of Southam have a right, when they die, to be buried or after cremation to have their ashes interred in the Town Churchyard at St James so long as space is still available.
Items of interest in the churchyard are the Lych Gate built in 1938 and the avenue of red twigged limes trees leading from it down to the north porch of the church. The present trees were planted in 2002 replacing the original ones that were planted to celebrate the victory of Waterloo in 1815. The new trees were given in memory of Louisa Smith, a teenager who died in a car accident near Marton in 1999.
The Bier House with its tile roof, adjacent to Park Lane opposite the telephone exchange (the Bier is no longer stored there), is constructed of concrete blocks that were made at the local cement works and is believed to be the first building in the country made with such blocks.
Not far from the War Memorial, down the south side of the path to the recreation ground, is the grave and carved cross of one Seth Bond who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade. The inscription reads ‘Trooper Seth Bond, 11th Hussars, one of the six hundred served at Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol; erected by public subscription in recognition of nearly 25 years faithful service to his country’. A booklet is available in the town library detailing his life. There is another Crimean memorial just east of the south porch – ‘Thomas Abbotts killed at Alma and Thomas Pratt, both of the 68th Regiment; and James Baldwin, Royal Marines. These men died serving their Queen and country when in defence of the Right, England and France waged war with Russia, 1854/5.’
There are a number of War Graves Commission headstones in the churchyard marking the graves of forces personnel who died in action in the Second World War and one, more recently, in Afghanistan.
Family history is fashionable nowadays and many people both from this country and from all over the world visit the churchyard to see if headstones still exist with old relatives names thereon.
St James Parochial Church Council