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Choosing and managing a burial plot at Haycombe

Haycombe Cemetery is our only council-owned site for new burials. On the southern edge of Bath, the 36-acre hilltop site offers a stunning outlook, with the rolling countryside of the Englishcombe Valley below, the historic village of Newton St Loe, and views as far as the hills of South Wales in the distance. This beautiful open setting offers visitors a powerful connection with the ancient city of Bath and its natural surroundings, and a peaceful place to come to in the future, when you want to visit a loved one who has died.

Select a topic below to learn more about burial at Haycombe, or contact our experienced and compassionate Bereavement Services team to discuss any aspect of your funeral, burial or memorial arrangements. You can call us on 01225 39 60 20 or email cemeteries_crematorium@bathnes.gov.uk 

How burial fees work

For all burials, there is a basic interment fee. This pays for the costs of digging and covering of the grave and any associated graveside services on the day. 

Any additional costs will depend on whether the burial is in a pre-existing family plot, in a public grave, or you are getting a new family plot for the first time. 

Getting a private or family grave

Of the 33 cemeteries and churchyards we manage and maintain, 31 are full and closed to new burials. While these sites need to be maintained in a safe and fit state, many graves ceased to have living family and friends to visit them decades ago. To provide a sustainable service for the future, we can no longer offer burial plots for permanent sale. Instead, you can buy a right of interment, or a long lease on the grave site, to provide for visitors and the needs of family members to be buried together. Currently there is a choice of purchasing a 30-year or 50-year right of interment at Haycombe Cemetery.

When you pay the right of interment fee, you become the owner of the grave for the period you have purchased. This means that you have the right to say who can be buried there, and can also place a suitable memorial, such as a gravestone. Only approved stonemasons can put up a memorial in Haycombe, and they will be able to advise you on options for something which is fitting for your loved one, and suitable for the setting of the cemetery. You or your funeral director can get a list of these professionals from the main office at the cemetery. 

As it involves servicing and maintaining a larger grave site, burial is generally a more expensive option than cremation. However, we heavily subsidise the right of interment fee, to try to keep this option available for all those who wish for a family burial plot.

Some people choose to set up a pre-payment plan before their death, to cover funeral and right of interment costs, and save their family the expense or worry about what they would most prefer. If you would like to do this, we recommend contacting your preferred funeral director to make arrangements.

Choosing an area of Haycombe

You can buy a right of interment for a traditional grave in a number of different areas at Haycombe:

  • Consecrated area (This is the preferred area for those whose religion is the Church of England (C of E). It is governed by ecclesiastical law, in addition to the Law of Burial, Cremation and Exhumation which governs all cemeteries.)
  • Unconsecrated area (This is historically preferred by non-C of E Christians, those of other religions, or people of no faith)
  • Muslim burial area
  • Ba'hai burial area

View Haycombe Cemetery on a map

Your rights and responsibilities for rights of interment

Because a right of interment is a long-standing legal contract, generally designed to outlive the original owner, it is important to protect your and your family's rights by managing it appropriately. If you own this right, you have the following responsibilities:

  • You must notify the cemetery of any change of name or address, so we are able to keep in touch with you.
  • You should decide who will inherit the right after you die, and record this decision legally in a will.
  • If you inherit the right from a relative, you must come to the cemetery office to arrange a transfer of ownership (see below).
  • You should read and understand our Cemetery Rules and Regulations, so you know exactly what you can and can't do, and what rights your family will have over the grave after your death.

Transferring ownership of a right of interment

Your right of interment will allow your burial to take place. However, other members of your family can only be buried in the same grave if you transfer the right to them. You can do this before your death, or choose to do it through your will. Once the transfer is complete, all the new owners' signatures will be necessary for any applications to make changes to the grave, such as putting up a headstone, or changing an existing one.

Before your death

You can choose during your life to share the right of interment with someone else, or to transfer it to them completely. These transfers are quick and easy to do. Just ask a member of our cemetery staff to help.

Through your will

If you have willed your right of interment to a relative, your executors can bring your original document to the cemetery office once an Order of Probate has been granted. Staff can then make a transfer of the right to your executors. Where your right of interment documents have been lost, your executors will need to contact the probate office to provide certified copies.

If you have not made a will, or there is no probate

If you have made a will, but your estate is small and probate is unnecessary, your executors should bring the original right of interment document and your will to the cemetery office. Staff can prepare a Statutory Declaration based on your will.

If you die without leaving a will, your next of kin will need to supply details to us, so that we can prepare a Statutory Declaration.

In either of these cases, the Statutory Declaration must be signed and sworn before a Commissioner for Oaths or a Magistrate. Any statements in the Declaration have the same legal status as evidence given in a court of law, so there is a legal obligation to tell the truth.

If there are problems deciding on a transfer of rights

There have been periods in the past when people have failed to apply the legal protections around transfer of rights of interment correctly. As a result, there is sometimes more than one generation between the original owner of a right of interment and the present claimant. This can lead to difficulties in establishing just who is entitled to claim. Our staff receive regularly updated training and have access to specialist legal advice on this matter, and will always try to help you in any way they can.

Things you need to know when purchasing a memorial

A headstone or similar memorial is an expensive, long-term purchase. To ensure that you get something which is fitting for your loved one, and will continue to look good, and be safe, for decades to come, please take note of the following points about memorials at Haycombe. 

  • Only the holder of the right of interment for the grave can have a memorial installed.
  • You must use an approved stonemason to produce and erect your memorial. This should guarantee a high quality of work, and that the memorial is installed with the appropriate care and understanding of safety.
  • The Cemeteries Superintendent has the right of approval for all memorials, to ensure they are appropriate.
  • The memorial remains your property, and we strongly recommend purchasing insurance to protect against damage or other future problems.
  • There is a fee for erecting a memorial at Haycombe. This covers the cost of our checks on the right to erect a memorial, the approval of stonemasons, approval of the memorial itself, administration around the installation and periodic safety checks of memorials here at Haycombe. Your stonemason may include this fee within their invoice to you. Please check with them directly. 

Public graves

Anyone can be buried at Haycombe, on payment of the interment fee. If there is no family or private plot, the burial will take place in a public grave. This means a grave site where other unrelated people may also be buried, and where there will be no private memorial, or headstone. Under certain circumstances, we may approve a memorial on a public grave.

If the person has no family or friends, or they are unable or unwilling to organise or pay for a funeral service or burial, we may pay for a public health funeral and burial in a public grave. You can learn more about this on the GOV.UK website

Floral tributes and our local wildlife

The cemetery plays host to deer, squirrels, pheasants and numerous species of birds, including kestrels and woodpeckers. Whilst these visitors add to the natural tranquillity of the site, they can occasionally damage flowers or bulbs left on memorials. Deer and squirrels in particular may eat roses and carnations, or dig up flower bulbs or corms, giving the impression that a grave site has been vandalised. We advise spraying flowers with a deterrent, such as curry powder mixed with washing up liquid, or choosing flowers and plants that are less attractive to these animals, such as alliums, daffodils, snowdrops and hyacinths.