Burying ashes

The final resting place for ashes is a personal choice and one you should consider carefully.

What happens to the ashes depends on the wishes of the applicant for the funeral who is the only person that we can take an instruction from. This is usually the Executor of the Will or the next of kin. ​​

If the applicant to the funeral wishes to change any instruction to us or would like someone else to authorise the burial of ashes, then we need this in writing.​
Burying ashes is known as a committal and there are certain legal issues you need to take into account.

One of these is that once buried, ashes cannot be taken from the ground unless they are in a container and have a special license from the Government.​

You can bury ashes in:

  • Our memorial gardens, or one of our cemeteries in a cremated remains plot, or an existing family grave.
  • ​Your own garden, or another cemetery or crematorium
  • or somewhere else of your choice.

You must have the landowner's permission to bury ashes and you will need to ask us to give the ashes to you or someone you trust like your funeral director.

Cremated remains certificate

You must have a Cremated Remains Certificate as you will need this to bury the ashes elsewhere. If you are taking the ashes abroad you must ask us for a certificate for customs purposes.

Memorial Gardens at South Essex Crematorium

The gardens are a shared space and ashes are usually buried loosely in the soil. A member of our team must be present when the ashes are buried so that we can keep a record of the position.

You can choose to have the ashes buried in the same area as another member of the family whose ashes have been buried in our gardens. In this case you will need to tell us their name and when they were cremated.

If you have not chosen a particular place we can bury the ashes within the memorial gardens and keep a record of where they are.

The type of memorial you can have may depend on where the ashes are buried. Please see information about memorials at South Essex Crematorium, so that you consider your choices before making a decision.

Get in touch


South Essex Crematorium
Ockendon Road
RM14 2UY
United Kingdom

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Phone number 01708 434433 (Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm)
Opening hours 9am - 3.30pm
Email cemeteries@havering.gov.uk

If you would like to be present when the ashes are committed, you will need to book an appointment. This is called a witness committal and there is a small fee for this service. We offer a non-religious service which is led by a member of our team. If you would like a religious blessing, please ask your minister to attend. If you cannot be there, we need your signed permission to go ahead without you.

We offer these services throughout the day on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and also on Sunday afternoons.
Upminster, Romford, Rainham or Hornchurch Cemeteries

If you want to bury the ashes in an existing family grave, you need the permission of the person who owns the grave. Ashes cannot be the first burial in a full length grave and a burial fee is payable.
Cremated remains plots

These are small graves in which you can bury ashes. They are leased for a term of 25 years and they are arranged in groups of four in Havering's cemeteries. Each plot can hold four separate caskets of ashes and has a posy holder for a small spray of flowers. You can also have a granite vase placed on the plot to hold larger bunches of flowers.
Short length graves

These are lawn style graves that are smaller in size than a full length grave. These graves are leased for a term of 50 years and will hold a minimum of four caskets of ashes. Please contact us for more information.

Holding ashes temporarily

If you have not made a decision yet, we can keep the ashes for one month while you decide. If you would like us to keep the ashes for longer, we can do this for a fee. Alternatively, you can collect the ashes or ask your funeral director to collect them on your behalf. In all instances we must have your permission in writing.

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