Garden of Remembrance

Like many churches, St. John’s does not have its own churchyard for burials – but has, instead, a Garden of Remembrance for the interring of ashes. The church is fortunate enough to be situated against the backdrop of Holmwood Common – a place of great natural beauty. As such, our Garden of Remembrance is designed to harmonise with its background, and it is not unknown for deer to wander within it.

BACKGROUND BASICS

When is the Garden of Remembrance open?

The Garden is always open to visitors, but we encourage visitors to come at a time when the church is also open for private prayer (normally 9am – 5pm in summer; 9am – 4pm in winter). That way you can sit in the church as well, should you wish.

Who is eligible for interment?

We are happy to inter the ashes of any person whose funeral service has been connected with St. John’s or who resided in the parish but for some reason had their funeral service elsewhere (such as overseas).

Who is responsible for conducting interments?

In most circumstances, our own Parish Priest will conduct the interment service. St. John’s does not have its own resident sexton, so we use the services of a local undertaker – Sherlock & Sons.

How do I arrange for an interment service?

At the moment, you need to contact the Vicar and ‘pencil in’ two or three alternative dates for the service. Then you contact Sherlock & Sons to check their availability, agree a final date/time with them and let the Vicar know.

Can we re-use an existing location?

Some families have already had one or more interment at St. John’s. In most cases, we can check records and ascertain where the interment took place. If feasible, we can then ask Sherlocks to re-use that location.

THE PROCESS ITSELF

What does the service involve?

The service begins with a short act of worship in the church, and then moves out to the Garden. It can be tailored to meet family requirements, but a typical service would be about 20 minutes long. We prefer that the ashes are safely with Sherlocks (brought to them from elsewhere if necessary) beforehand, so that they can bring them to the church for the service.

Can we have a fixed memorial?

The Garden of Remembrance cannot have fixed memorials in place on the ground itself so we provide the Memorial Steps instead. This is the law and we need to adhere to this.

The steps are situated at the eastern end of the church and separate the upper half of the garden from the lower half. The steps themselves provide a place for people to leave flowers and other remembrances of a temporary nature. On either side of the steps is the Memorial Wall on which permanent plaques may be fixed.

The plaques are about 75mm (3 inches) square and are fixed to the wall with brass screws and will remain in perpetuity. The cost is £75. The plaque may be fixed on either of the two walls facing the Lower Garden or on the other side, facing the Upper Garden.

To enquire, please contact the Parish Office on 01306-868441 or email plaques@stjohns-northholmwood.info

We feel the Garden of Remembrance should resemble a ‘natural garden’ as much as possible so that people can sit quietly and feel at peace. Accordingly, we ask that visitors to the Garden do not leave permanent flower arrangements, wreaths, pot plants etc. on the grass itself as this can be intrusive. Instead we provide a paved area for these alongside the wall. However we do appreciate that on specific dates – such as birthdays – people may want to leave tributes in a specific place.  That’s fine, provided that you don’t mind moving them (or having them moved) onto the paving after a day or so.