The Registered Owner of the Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial has the automatic right to be buried in the grave; they may also allow others to be buried in the grave (space permitting). They do not, however, own the land itself. The ownership of the cemetery land remains with the Council.
The Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial is issued for a set period. From the 1940s this was for a period of 50 years. The Deed will state when it was issued and for how long.
A Registered Owner can apply to the Cemeteries Office at any time to extend the Deed, as 100 years can be held at any one time. The current fee can be found on our fees page. Download an application form(pdf, 19KB), or the Cemetery Office can send you the form and current fees list on request.
Once the Rights have expired, the ownership reverts to the Council. No further burials can take place until the grave is purchased again. The law allows the disturbance of human remains after 75 years from the date of the last full burial in the grave.
Many people believe that, if they possess the Deed (Grant) document itself, this means they are the Grave Owner. The owner is the person named on the Deed, or registered with the Cemeteries Office as Owner following a transfer.
If the Registered Owner has died, or the living owner would like to assign the Rights to someone else, please contact the office for information on transferring ownership.
A Registered Owner also has the right to erect and make changes to a memorial. The Registered Owner is responsible for keeping the memorial in a safe condition. If it found to be dangerous, and the Registered Owner does not make it safe, the Council can do so, and then recover costs from the Registered Owner.
Sometimes nearby graves may need to be reopened and your memorial may need to be moved. To avoid delays to funerals, prior notice is not always possible. There are several reasons for moving memorials they are:
It is very important that you let the Cemeteries Office know if there is any future change of name or address.
If there is no living Registered Owner, no further burials can take place in the grave until a new owner is registered. It should be noted that each grave can take approximately eight burials of cremated remains in addition to the full burials.
Contrary to what many people believe, the possession of the Grave Deed document does not, in itself, mean a person has the Right of Burial in a grave. Only the Registered Owner has the Right, in other words. the person named on the Deed or registered with the Cemeteries Office as the owner, following a transfer.
At any time during the term of the Grant, the Registered Owner could choose to pass the ownership to another member of his/her family. The Registered Owner should contact the Cemeteries Office for an application form, or it can be downloaded from here Download the Assignment by Living Owner form(pdf, 26KB).
The Transfer of Grave Ownership page will give you additional information and advice if the owner is deceased.
For any information or assistance, please contact the Cemeteries Team.
We are open Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm, excluding Public Holidays, Christmas and New Year.
The Cemetery Office
East Sheen Cemetery,
Telephone: 020 8876 4511
Fax: 020 8878 8118