UK & World News

  • 27 July 2014, 10:46

Home Burials: Keeping A Loved One Close

A growing number of families are choosing to keep loved ones close by after their death by burying them in the back garden.

It is perfectly legal to lay someone to rest on private land as long as rules are followed.

The location of the grave must also be added to the deeds.

But there is still perceived to be stigma attached to the decision, and "Clare" wanted to protect her identity when speaking to Sky News.

Her sister had made her mind up where she wanted to be buried before dying of cancer in 2012.

"It was very much her decision," said Clare. "She looked out of her bedroom window and said, 'that's where I want to go'."

The spot was a quiet glade and the grave was dug by her husband and older son.

"The whole of the inside of her grave was decorated with things from her life and from her room. It was all just very beautiful and straightforward and simple, and we took total control," said Clare.

Earlier this week television presenter Kirstie Allsopp revealed that her mother was given a discreet funeral in the garden.

But while more people are choosing the option, it is not new.

Robin, who also did not want to give his surname, arranged for his mother to be buried at the family home in 1985.

"Honestly she never left it for more than a few days at a time and she loved her gardening," he said.

"She liked the surroundings. She liked to be private and quiet ... it's where she wanted to be and she never wanted to leave it. That's why she's there now."

Rosie Inman-Cook from the Natural Death Centre advises families on how to arrange home burials.

She said: "You musn't be buried in waterlogged ground or ground that is feeding into rivers and streams, so there are guidelines to follow from the Environment Agency.

"You need to own the property outright, and you need to construct a burial register which is what I send to families carrying this out."

With details of any burial in the deeds, buyers of a new home will be able to find out if there is someone buried in the garden.

The idea does not appeal to everyone.

Tim Rhodes, from Suffolk, said: "I think it would be awful having that under the tree. I think it would make that part of the garden off limits.

"You are condemning that property to have a corpse there for ever more."

But Suzanne Kayne said: "If you were buying a chapel it would be the same. I think it's a lovely thing actually."

There is the matter of the cost saving too. Traditional funerals are thousands of pounds.

But while the whole idea might make some squeamish, for those who plan to pass their home on to future generations, it is a way to keep a loved one close.

Advertisement