When can I put a headstone in place?

Written By

Lewis Cook

With a wealth of experience and knoweledge from across all aspects of the funeral industry, Lewis Cook answers some of the most frequestly asked questions posed to him and the rest of our team. If you have a question you would like to ask you can contact us here, send us a tweet @_ivanfisher or call us direct.

Following a funeral, we will mark a burial plot with a solid oak marker cross with an engraved nameplate on. In the fullness of a time, you may wish to organise a more permanent memorial for your loved one.

Ordinarily, you will need to wait for six months before a headstone or memorial can be erected. Some families choose to organise a headstone in readiness for it to be put in place at six months, more often, families tend to wait for the six months to elapse before beginning the process. Occasionally, due to varying ground conditions, the waiting period needs to be a little longer to allow time for the ground to settle following a burial.

Choosing a suitable memorial can be a little challenging as most cemeteries and churchyards have strict rules and regulations about what designs, size and materials can be used.

The rules and regulations tend to be a little less constrained for council run cemeteries and you will usually have a little more flexibility in terms of design, size and material than you would when considering a memorial for a churchyard.

If you were looking for a memorial for a woodland burial ground, you will often find that you must have one made from wood.

The majority of headstones and memorials nowadays are made from granite. Granite is an extremely hard wearing material that is easy to maintain. More traditional materials like York Stone or Crown Stone are still popular but can be more susceptible to the elements over time.

What happens if there is a headstone on the grave you want to re-use?

If we are re-opening an existing family grave in readiness for a new burial to take place, any headstone that is already in place will need to be removed before the grave can be prepared.

We will arrange for our local stonemason to attend to remove the headstone and place it into storage. This often happens very quickly so please don’t be alarmed if the headstone is taken within a day or two of making the funeral arrangements.

The stonemason will contact you after the funeral to talk about any additional inscription you would like to make to the headstone and advise you of the date it can be re-installed. As mentioned earlier, in the interim period, we will mark the grave with a solid oak marker cross with an engraved nameplate.

Things to consider when thinking about a headstone or memorial

The Church of England have formal guidelines on which style, colour and material can be used within Churchyards. Municipal cemeteries tend to be more lenient.

Which design would you like? (Click here to view a copy of our stonemason’s brochure for examples)

  • Which material would you prefer – If granite, which colour granite?
  • What format would you like the dates to be displayed?
  • What font should be used?
  • What colour lettering would you like?
  • Should the stonemason leave enough room on the stone for a further inscription in the future?
  • Do you want the stonemason to cut space in the stone for a flower vase to be inserted?
  • What wording would you like to be inscribed into the stone?


As funeral directors, we are regulary asked lots of questions about our profession. We are very happy to answer any questions you might have and no matter how strange they may seem, it’s very likely that we’ve been asked it before! Fill in the form below with your question and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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