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Buying a grave

To purchase a grave an application form has to be completed and sent back to the Bereavement Services office with payment. When you buy a grave you buy the exclusive right of burial, you do not buy the land. The land remains the property of Gateshead Council.  

At the end of the term you have an option to extend the length of Exclusive Right of Burial however graves cannot be leased for more than 100 years. For example if you have a lease for 50 years the most it could be extended for is a further 49 years. The registered grave owner/s has responsibility to renew the Exclusive Right of Burial.  

The registered grave owner/s is the only person/people who can agree to a memorial on the grave and the only person that can give written permission for a grave to be opened for a burial. The law protects the rights of the registered owner.

Burial law states that only the grave owner/s can give permission for another person to be buried in their grave. There is a formal procedure to transfer ownership to another person.

The grave space given would be the next space available on the cemetery plan. If you want a particular part of the cemetery you would have to arrange with the Bereavement Services office to meet with the foreman at the cemetery. Up to two full burials can fit into each grave.

Graves have to be dug to deep enough to allow for future burials to take place, to accommodate legal requirements of undisturbed earth between each coffin and the amount of earth that must cover the last interment.

Application for the lease of exclusive rights of burial (PDF) [140KB] (opens new window)

Removal of unauthorised memorials

There are occasions when we need to remove unauthorised memorials from graves to gain access to excavate a grave for a burial. On these occasions every attempt will be made to contact the grave owner to ask them remove the items. If our contact details for the grave owner are out of date then there will be instances when we need to remove the unauthorised items. Any items removed by the council for this purpose will be reinstated.

Transferring of Exclusive Rights of Burial

When you buy a grave, you are buying the Exclusive Right of Burial for the period stated on the deeds. During the period of the Exclusive Rights no burial can take place in the grave without the written permission of the grave owner.

Permission is not needed when the owner of the grave is being buried. It is assumed that the owner would have intended this. The deed should be available or the deceased's details should match our records.

If the grave owner has died, it can leave future ownership in doubt until a formal transfer of ownership has been carried out. No further burials or memorials can take place until the new grave owner has been established.

We recommend that the ownership is transferred as soon as possible. We are unable to transfer deeds upon request. We need to make sure that any person receiving the deed is legally entitled to it.

Ownership of the Exclusive Rights of Burial is a very important matter. Ownership can be transferred either during the owner's lifetime, or after their death. We only accept a maximum of two owners. Find out how to transfer ownership of the deeds.

Types of grave

Cremated remains

If you want cremated remains buried, plots can be purchased in specific areas within "lawn sections" at Saltwell, Birtley, Heworth Burn, Blaydon, Hookergate and Garden House cemeteries. An approved stone memorial can be placed on the plot after interment and each grave can hold up to four caskets. Please consult with our Bereavement Services office for prices.

Children's sections

Saltwell, Birtley, Heworth Burn and Blaydon cemeteries have special areas for the burial of babies and children. In exceptional cases where the burial of non-viable foetal remains has previously taken place, it may be possible to accommodate a further burial.

Lawn sections

This is a designated grassed area of the cemetery where only memorial stones are allowed to be erected. This ensures that the area is uniform and neat and that it is easier for both the council and the public to look after. Kerbstones, fencing and other forms of memorials and ornamentation are not allowed. Low growing, ground cover plants only and seasonal bedding plants, may, subject to the approval of the Authorised Officer, be planted on graves in general and lawn sections only and where the Exclusive Right of Burial has been obtained.

No dressing of memorials will be permitted within the Cemeteries.

All materials brought into and removed from the cemetery should be done so in a respectful manner avoiding damage to the grounds and walks.  

General sections

These are areas within a cemetery available for general burials in old sections. Kerbstones are permitted. 

Contact us

Bereavement Services
Gateshead Council
Park Road Depot
0191 433 3816 or 433 3811 

Office opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm