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Generating income from graveyard sites

Generally speaking, graveyards in which there are burials and monuments are not really amenable to other uses. However some churches with the right permissions have been able to generate income from the following types of activities:

  • Advertising Hoardings
  • Cafés
  • Farmers’ Markets
  • And others are exploring the opportunity to generate income from:
  • Beehive keeping
  • Raised allotment beds

Graveyard is a generic term

There can be:

  • Consecrated churchyards still open for burial
  • Consecrated churchyards with no burials
  • Closed churchyards, or disused burial grounds
  • Unconsecrated churchyards.

Consecrated Graveyards still open for burial

It may be possible to make use of a portion of the churchyard which, although available for burials, has not yet been used for burials, and is therefore clear of monuments. Any permitted activity or use would need to be seemly, and would need to be authorised by Faculty if the arrangement is to be of any permanence or on a commercial basis.

Advertising Hoardings

Advertising hoardings can sometimes be placed on part of a consecrated graveyard, eg the perimeter. The authority of a Faculty would be needed and appropriate conditions will need to be imposed to ensure the suitability of the material displayed.

Consecrated churchyards with no burials

Where there are no burials, the range of possible uses is, in practice, wider.

Cafés and Farmer’s Markets

There have been cases of cafés being permitted on church curtilage, and subject to appropriate controls it might be suitable to use for a farmers’ market, depending on the circumstances.


It might be possible to find a corner on which, say, beehives could be placed with the authority of a licence granted by the Incumbent and PCC with the authority of a Faculty.

Closed churchyards

A disused burial ground is easier again. It may be used for a variety of purposes – e.g. for recreational uses – but no building or structure may be placed on it, and it remains subject to the Faculty Jurisdiction. Obviously, the presence of graves or monuments, if still present, would impose its own constraints

Unconsecrated churchyards

Easier still, since there are obvious constraints on what is regarded as seemly or appropriate on consecrated land. Nevertheless, even on unconsecrated curtilage, the proximity of the church building and the fact that the land is in church ownership will still impose significant constraints in practice. Even unconsecrated curtilage is still within the Faculty Jurisdiction.

Car Parking

Unconsecrated curtilage has been used, with the authority of a Faculty, for car parking purposes, thereby generating income. However, parishes need to keep an eye on the planning legislation in this context. See also the article on Car Parking

There have been instances of sheep being permitted to graze in graveyards, too, although this is probably just to keep the grass down rather than to generate an income!

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