Churchyards

We are blessed with two very special churchyards in our parishes. Little Tey feels very rural. It is managed for its wildlife under the guidance of the Essex Churchyard Conservation Group. It is a peaceful place for walking, rest and contemplation. Great Tey churchyard is very much the centre of the village and a wonderful setting for our magnificent church. They are open to all, and we really hope that you enjoy visiting them.

These churchyards are looked after by small groups of volunteers, with some professional help. At times some areas may seem overgrown or in need of tidying, especially at the main growing times of the year. We do ask you to remember that Little Tey churchyard is intentionally left until June for a first cut. Sometimes Great Tey churchyard may need tidying, but never fear it will be done eventually!

The churchyards are, of course, also very important as they are the burial places for many local people. We know how much they mean as the resting-places of relatives and loved ones. It’s very clear that many families, relatives and friends visit graves very regularly.

Rules governing churchyards, including our own.

We must stress that these are the rules and regulations of the whole Diocese of Chelmsford – in other words, they are general to all Church of England churchyards and cemeteries, and not just specific to Great and Little Tey.

Essentially the rules state that graves should be laid to grass, or have spring flowers, bedding plants or annuals, and nothing more. There should be no shrubs or large plants, no kerbs or hard borders of any kind, no gravel, chippings or artificial grass; no artificial flowers (except poppies at Remembrance and wreaths at Christmas); and no ornaments, which includes animal statues and figurines (e.g. angels), toys, photographs and pictures, windmills, chimes, and the like.

In previous years many graves were allowed that don’t meet the rules; this makes enforcing them more difficult. These rules may look quite restrictive, but they seek to safeguard two key things: one, that both burial areas retain the look of historic churchyards; and two, the practical need for easy maintenance.

We do realise that this is a very sensitive subject. But we want to ensure that both areas are well kept and regain their true character as country churchyards.

We strongly recommend that families seeking to bury their loved ones in our churchyards or who already have a member of their family buried here, look at the Diocese of Chelmsford Churchyard Handbook (Revised July 2019). A copy will be made available in the church and it can be found online. Finally ask the wardens for a copy of the leaflet concerning Burials and Headstones, as this sets out the advice that is specific to Great and Little Tey.