Churches and graveyards
We manage and maintain 154 cemeteries and churchyards. We offer a fully comprehensive service to anyone requiring advice or assistance with this matter.
We can make provision and arrangements for Muslim burials.
We also deal with the sale of lairs, interments (or burials), and issue permission to put up headstones.
A purchased grave is where the right of burial can be bought in perpetuity. The owner of the right of burial can decide who will be buried in the grave and memorials are allowed in line with our cemetery regulations. Cremated remains can be placed in purchased graves.
Buying a grave
Anyone can buy a grave in a Scottish Borders cemetery. Your funeral director will help to make the necessary arrangements for buying a grave.
Some people may want to make their own arrangements at the time of the funeral and we will be happy to advise you. A list of charges is available.
The exclusive right of burial in a purchased grave is sold in perpetuity. Please note that it is the right to be buried that is purchased - we still own the land.
Types of purchased grave
Traditional grave spaces allow the owner of the grave to put a full headstone on after burial. All memorials of this type must be installed to approved national standards.
Infant graves are specific infant areas which are available at Wairds Cemetery in Melrose and Peebles Cemetery.
Cremated remains graves where each grave can contain up to six sets of remains.
Woodland burial graves offer an alternative to traditional graves and headstones, and may be chosen by those who wish to create a woodland, providing environmental benefits to their families and future generations. These graves are for single burial only and are commonly known as "green burials".
The area is a completely natural site and environment with no personal items or memorials allowed. However, memorial trees can be chosen from a list of native trees. We have a woodland burial site at Shawfield Cemetery in Selkirk.
Burials can take place on any day, but there may be an additional charge at certain times.
Headstone and grave monitoring
We run a Headstone Restoration Programme, which involves surveying headstones for stability and making them safe where necessary. Maintenance of headstones is the responsibility of the lair holder or family.
There is also a re-instatement programme for sunken graves and a rolling programme for the period of time after a burial to reinstate a level surface on grave. The current timescale is one month after internment, again after three months and thereafter the programme of re-instatement is reactive.
There are rules governing the cemetery such as:
- exclusive rights of burial
- notice of burial
- use of vehicles
There is no specific restraint under Scottish law, to stop a person setting aside a part of their land as a family burial place.
Planning for your funeral
Planning ahead for your own funeral can help to keep costs down and give family and friends peace of mind that they are following your wishes.
This leaflet explores some of the choices you can make, and offers a chance to record your wishes.