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The Soulton Long Barrow

The Soulton Long Barrow: Shropshire

Situated within the Shropshire Landscape close to Wem, and Shrewsbury is the Soulton Long Barrow.

This is the third Long Barrow to be built in the UK in the last couple of Millenia, Lovingly replicated and handcrafted the longs barrow sits with nature and is an absolutely beautiful way to inter a loved one ashes.

The Soulton Long Barrow is a hand-crafted monument providing a final resting places for the ashes of your loved ones.

Niches can be purchased for fixed terms, all of which are renewable and can be gifted to your children for future generations to use.

Refreshments and services can be be provided at the nearby Soulton Hall

Single niches (plus use of the barrow for your service, and a hand-made felt urn) for 99 years cost £1,950.00. Standard sized niches (for 2-4 urns) for 25 years are £2,350, a Large niche (5 urns +) for 99 years costs £5,850

The first chamber is currently under construction, and at the time of writing 25% have already been reserved (15 out of 60 niches).

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St Neot’s Barrow – Cambridgeshire

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Situated in beautiful countryside near the village of Hail Weston, near St Neots, Cambridgeshire is this a wonderful Barrow, an ancient and tradition burial mound made stone construction. It is a stone structure which is covered in soil, where you can have your loved ones ashes housed. This is a stunning piece of architecture built in time honoured tradition.

 The site is named after the row of willow trees which line the nearby brook. It is a haven for shrubs, hazel trees and wildlife and the perfect place for quiet reflection.

The hand-built a circular chamber is 11 metres wide and 5 metres high (at the highest point) and contains 345 niches/spaces. With 295 niches of these designed for two cremation urns, and 50 holding up to five cremation urns.

The barrow is a lasting monument, with binding legal agreements on the land for the future benefit of the barrow community.

The stone cover for your niche can include any motif or symbol you wish (as long as it is in keeping with the barrow’s inclusive ethos) and you are free to have your own niche blessed by any religious official. The barrow as a whole is not consecrated or blessed by any religion.

Niches are available for single, double or multiple (up to 5) cremation urns.

1 -Double niches can accommodate at least two standard urns, potentially up to six of our hand made felt urns (180 cubic inch capacity).
2-  The largest niche similarly can hold at least five standard urns, and again more depending on the urn size.
3 – They don’t restrict how many sets of ashes are placed into a niche.

They are available for three fixed (renewable) terms of either 15, 25, or 99 years.

A ‘double’ niche with room for two urns costs £4,800 for 99 years. The larger ‘family’ niches holding up to five urns costs £7,000 for 99 years (Equates to £1,400 per urn within the ‘family niche’ ).

Prices correct at the time of publishing. More pictures below

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serviced columbarium

Columbarium – coming to a Parish Church near you!

Modern takes on the concept of Columbaria are springing up in a number of places from the Long Barrow in All Canning in Wiltshire to the Secure Haven (one rented by the day) in Essex.

However these are away from traditional places of worship and there a members of society who feel a very deep connection with their parish church and would wish to be interred there. The problem is many of parish churches have run out of land in which to bury person or ashes and have to turn people away.

Now there is a company operating from the ancient Isle of Anglesey that are aiming to solve this problem and help the local church as a result.

Gulzar Columbariums based in Bodorgan,  Anglesey are looking to install their deign of indoor glass and wood columbaria within church premises. The design is simple and the glass frontage for more memorabilia such an s pictures to be placed on display to increase the memorialisation through connection to more familiar items, as opposed to a carved doors or edifices.

The advantage for the parish church is that they will plan, install and manage the columbarium- yet provide the church with a source of revenue form the leasing of the niches. This all appears to be a win win – the church is able to

help it congregation, the congregation are able to keep a connection with their church and the church has another income stream to maintain the building….

Here they are

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ashes cremation areminaia

Armenians are considering cremation, what don’t they like? Columbarium

Armenian parliament speaker Galust Sahakyan has been arguing in favour of amending the law to allow for cremation say it was part of a new Armenia. However we also pointed out that ‘no one is going to take steps opposed to Armenians ‘national traditions and interests.”

Work needed to be done in relation to the procedures of cremation, burial of the cremated ashes, and allocation of land for burial.

The changes envisage one square meter of free land for burial of ashes. The area could be increased to 6 meters in return for a payment. The changes also envisage a columbarium (a “wall of sorrow”*) for ashes.

Oddly enough it is the final aspect, the columbarium that has caused disquiet as some MPs who believe that columbarium runs counter to Armenian tradition of burial and installation of memorial stones.

*never heard them called that before?!

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columbarium usa

More columbarium controversy

columbarium usa

What started as a spat between a church and local businesses on the construction of a columbarium has gone wider and now the State of Wisconsin have issued an opinion that concurred with the attorney general in Cedarburg – columbaria are the same as mausoleum.

Which has come as a bit of a surprise to the religious community who have been constructing these for decades without any fuss.

The popularity for columbaria has been growing over the years due to: the rise in cremation; the availability/scarcity of land needed for a traditional burial; and the wish of the deceased to be interred at or near their church.

The argument that these are different from Mausoleum is fairly simple: mausoleum can house bodies and cremation ashes, columbaria just store ashes.

However Michael Berndt, chief legal counsel for the Department of Safety and Professional Services, disagrees and issued an opinion (Feb-15) in which he asserted that they are a type of mausoleum and as such bound by state laws that cover mausoleums.

In most states ashes and bodies are treated differently, but this depends on the how the state defines the “final disposition” of human remains, according to Mike Kremski of the Cremation Society of Milwaukee.

In Wisconsin, “the law says that final disposition is going to be either a burial, entombment (above ground) or cremation. And once one of those things occurs, the state is satisfied … that final disposition has occurred,”

Religious communities appear to have a couple of options to pursue. The courts: Eric Rossbach, deputy general counsel at the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit, special interest law firm. Is of the opinion that depending on the circumstances, churches could challenge the restrictions under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law that bars state and local governments from using their zoning codes to discriminate against religious institutions.

The second option is to work with the legislature and get the issue ironed out, which is the approach being taken by the Advent Church in Cedarburg who are set to meet with state lawmakers in the hope of carving out a religious exemption in the statutes.

As it would appear that the most interested parties are not opposed to some form of regulation or licensing of columbaria to ensure the respectful treatment of remains. For example some churches already state in their bylaws how the remains will be handled should the church close or move. However they consider limiting columbaria to cemeteries would be the wrong outcome.

So fingers crossed some pragmatic solution can be found, it does seem that a little flexibility might be the right answer.

Orginial story:–but-not-without-controversy-b99439856z1-291612941.html

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cremation rates in british columbia

Is the choice of cremation mainly a matter of economics and location?

cremation rates in british columbia

It is being reported the town of Cowichan, near Vancouver in British Columbia Canada, is planning to have a columbarium built to house the ashes of if its residents.

Mayor Forrest said “In discussions last year, we had a public meeting and people were saying, ‘You can live your whole life in this community but you can’t die here,’ and  “We do want people to remain in their community.”

Within this community, people tend to choose cremation over burial: it is cheaper for one thing and that persons cremated remains can stay within the community, whereas if the person chooses burial they would need to be taken to a neighbouring town: where that person may have had no particular connection and it will cost significantly more. In fact the article reported that British Columbia has the highest cremation rate in North America, the city of Surrey (next to Vancouver) the rate is 85%.

With cemetery places being in such short supply that at the Mountain View Cemetery a grave with space for two caskets (coffins) and eight cremated remains starts at CA$22,500 (~£12,000), which is compared to a columbarium niche at around CA$500 (~£260).

From this there does appear to be a link between the choice of cremation and the cost / location of the final resting place. I wonder whether you could plot on a graph: cremation rate versus cost x distance – I am sure there would be a pattern.

As a resident of England I needed to look up Lake Cowishan (and very handsome it is too) . The point struck me that here in England we do suffer with pressure on land use – there are quite a lot of us on this island, when one compares this to Canada – the irony of this issue being principally land use was not wasted on me.

BTW I know such matters are never as simple as they first appear – but still….


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columbarium essex temporary

Temporary ashes storage: Essex

temporary columbarium essex


Not yet ready to scatter, bury or inter your loved ones ashes permanently, yet do not feel able or comfortable keeping them at home?

Now you have the option of storing the ashes in a dignified, tasteful and secure environment.  However instead of needing to sign up to for fifteen or twentyfive year lease on a columbarium, this facility will allow you to store then reclaim them when you wish and you only pay for the time they have been stored there.

The facility is situated in Essex, in a beautifully renovated barn.  The Niches are beautiful and simple in their design, you hold one key with a spare kept on site

They have the capacity for one urn and some personal effects.

The cost, they request a minimum three months rental period for a Secure Niche and the cost is £1 a day on-going for as long as you require the niche. You may visit as often as you’d like – private time is available on request.

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mausoleum columbarium dispute

Is a columbarium a mausoleum? A hot debate in Wisconsin

mausoleum columbarium dispute

The attorney general of Cedarburg city, Michael Herbrand thinks so, but the reverend of the local Advent Lutheran Church disagrees. So why is this such a big deal? Well the Church had deigned a columbarium for their downtown (city centre) church which was to be the resting place for a number of its congregation; they had already sold a proportion of the niches and could have easily expected to sell the rest. They had permission initially from the city council but this had lapsed, they came to renew it but this time it was rejected. The members of the committee had reconsidered their opinion and said a place for laying the dead to rest was incompatible with the general hustle and bustle of a city centre.

The churches choose to ignore this and carry on regardless believing that it they were entitled to do it anyway. However they had to down tools when the man with clipboard turned up and told them to stop.

The fandangle seems to revolve around whether it can actually legally be sited there. The attorney general is of the opinion that is it is the same as a mausoleum and as such must be contained within a cemetery; the church is in the town centre and therefore can not be a cemetery as there are a number of caveats – proximity to dwelling etc. The reverend of the church thinks this is nonsense and the columbarium should not be considered the same as a mausoleum.

It is likely to end up in court. Where only the lawyers stand to gain.

It seems to me the council are legally correct whilst the church seem to have the moral high ground. We know in law that cremated remains are considered the same as a body so the inference that this is therefore equivalent to a mausoleum is probably correct. However the rejection of the planning permission after is lapsed seems unfair, committee members considering that the columbarium now seems incompatible with other activities in the area is petty narrow-minded and unkind.


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columbarium long barrow for ashes wiltshite

Long Barrow: Burial Chamber in Wiltshire

A fantastic Long Barrow columbarium where ashes can be buried for ever.

Do you like tradition? Do you like the ancient Britain? If so we have found the right place for you.

A history expert has built the first Long Barrow in England for maybe over a thousand years. This Long Barrow* is situated in the Wiltshire on the Marlborough Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty and is between Avebury and Stonehenge. An ancient landscape renowned for its chalk downland and ancient history. The long barrow is designed to complement the landscape perfectly.

It has been built in a traditional style from natural materials and contains three hundred niches for ashes to be placed. It is aligned to the sunrise of the winter solstice when the sun will illuminate the internal stone passageway.

The niches have niches built into the natural limestone walls. Each niche is about 600mm by 600mm and 400mm tall and is designed to be a family vault for the storage of cremated remains in urns. Depending on the size of the urns six to eight can be placed in each niche. The niches can be sealed with a memorial stone if required. There are also smaller niches for single and paired urns.

The cost: standard niche costs £1200 these can house five sets of ashes. An individual lease is £400. A double space for two urns is £600. They are on a 99 year lase basis due to the peculiar legislation that surrounds it, but I think you may assume perpetuity. Cost may change over time so please check.

The enquiry for is just below the pictures.

.columbarium long barrow for ashes near stone hengeashes long barrow columbarium

columbarium long barrow for ashes wiltshite

This facility is now full – the one now available is in St Neot’s

columbarium long barrow for ashes Marlborough downs

*Long Barrow  is basically a narrow shallow excavation and mound covered in soil with niches to house remains, and were popular in the first millennium AD


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columbarium romans

The rise and fall of cremation in the ancient world

As far back as 1000BC the ancient Greeks had adopted cremation as measure to deal with their dead. It is likely that it was introduced for military reasons as a way of making sure that soldiers killed abroad could be returned home, the bodies were cremated and their ashes are return home to be placed in an urn, one also might think the was a sort early hygiene going on here as large amounts of dead bodies would start to smell and attract vermin.

As a consequence cremation became synonymous with valour and martial prowess, and so funeral rites got more and more elaborate.

And therefore to be denied these rites was shocking, in fact father of the gods Zeus himself had to intervene to ensure that Achilles hand over the body of Hector so that hector Father, King Priam, can have a royal cremation. Achilles’ goes on to set the trend with his ‘friend’ Patrolus (the one whom Hector had slain) is cremated on a pyre 100feet square. Then when Achilles died the mourning goes on for 17 days when the flames were quenched in wine and his bones were soaked in oil and place inside the same urn as Patroclus

Then when power shifted the Rome they copied Greek practices (as they did in many things), again with more embellishment pomp and circumstance. The Romans then developed urns into elaborate art forms and started using Columbarium to store their ashes (these are walls with small niches that store the ashes). It got so common and popular in around 500BC that they had to issue an edict banning cremation within the walls of the city.

Cremation continued to be the norm until around 100AD and went into decline many have considered it due to the rise of Christianity, christens considered it pagan and thought it might interfere with the resurrection. However at that stage the Roman Empire wasn’t that Christian, so one answer may be they had burnt nearly all the wood in the surrounding environment!

Then in reign of Constantine the first Christian Emperor (early 300sAD) stamped out the flames so to speak, by banning it.

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London ashes soptions

St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, City of London

The Columbarium

Soon you be able to inter your ashes in one of London’s oldest churches St Bartholomew the Great in West Smithfield 

They are awaiting enough reservations to then commission it. The niche columbarium.

The niche system, will include decorative coloured stone plinths, that will compliment the design of the church. It will comprise 196 niche chambers with an option for two internments in each niche.

It will be possible to lease the niche for a period of 10 years or 20 years with an additional charge for a second interment.


The Columbarium will be located in the Churchyard by the South Vestry and will be accessible through the Lady Chapel.

The pricing structure will be as follows:

10 years: £1,500
20 years: £2,750

In order to register interest at this stage:

Pay £200 now (refundable on the unlikely event of the project not going ahead) and a further £300 on initiation of the project. You can then choose from the following two options:

  • Option a: Pay full £1,000 and secure 10 years from date of payment, or pay £2,250 to secure 20 year lease.
  • Option b: Pay £100 per annum until time of interment. Then pay £1,000/£2,250 and secure 10/20 years from interment.

These prices do not include the cost of inscription and interment, and are subject to inflation.

How the niche system works:

The ashes will be placed in a casket which, in turn, will be inserted into the niche. There will be an option for a service at the time of interment, giving friends and family the opportunity to be present.

An inscribed tablet will seal the niche chamber. The tablet will be provided by Welters and they will liaise directly with the client regarding wording and layout.

Most of the above is a direct copy from their website –

I like columbarium as an option, particularly ones in places so wonderfully historic, and it provides a good source of income for the church too. Twenty years seems fair – but what then? do they trace the next of kin and arrive at the door with a parcel? Or do they take it upon themselves to scatter in the grounds?


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Hong Kong – Columbariums are where it’s at!

local authority hong knog columbarium

Photos: HK Buildings Department.

Hong Kong – With a population of 7 million and an area of 426 square miles it is a bit squashed, in fact with a population density 25 times greater than that of the UK I think you could say space is of a premium.

Couple this with the fact that the Chinese tradition of ancestral veneration means relatives need a physical place to visit, makes matters worse. Graves cost a fortune, options to bury further a field are often impractical.

Unsurprising then there has been a big effort from the authorities in dealing with the 50,000 citizens who pass away every year. I think this is the reason why Hong Kong seems to be at the cutting edge of columbarium design with one example of a  municipal structure that is superb (above).

This facility operated by the Hong Kong Authority has niches for 43,000 sets of remains, it well designed and is affordable, apparently the hope is it will bring expensive private sector columbarium down in price to compete.

But what will be next? one grand plan is for a floating columbarium Island! One company has proposed the idea turning  a ship into a floating columbarium. The concept, which it calls Floating Eternity, with space for 370,000 niches.

Usually it would float in waters off Hong Kong and dock in the port only during the annual Ching Ming and Chung Yeung festivals, when people traditionally pay respects to their loved ones. Although access is via boat for the rest of the year

On normal days throughout the year, visitors would be able to take a ferry to the columbarium anchored offshore.

Paul Mui behind the idea believes the idea makes financial and practical sense.

“Some might say it’s too expensive to renovate a ship into a floating columbarium, but this isn’t true,” he said.

“When you look at the current land values in town and the area required to build a columbarium of a similar size as this model, this is much more economical in the long run.”

“During the festivals, the ship could dock at different piers over several days to avoid traffic congestion. And when the new Kai Tak cruise terminal comes into operation next year, the columbarium operators could choose from an even greater variety of well-equipped piers”

“In Hong Kong there are three things that are essential today. These are hospitals, landfills and columbaria. The only issue is that no one wants one of these located beside them,” Mui said.

“What better way of avoiding all this than by having a columbarium floating far out at sea and well away from anyone? It’s definitely one way of solving the problem.”

floating columbarium

 Artist’s impression of Floating Eternity berthed at the new Kai Tak cruise terminal. Photo: SCMP



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columbarium baptist st john catholic anglian

Columbarium: St John the Baptist in Norwich

columbarium baptist st john catholic anglian

This is a real beauty, the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich has a wonderful columbarium in its vaulted undercroft at the east end of the Cathedral. St John’s is the second largest Catholic cathedral in the UK.

The niches are finely worked bronze cabinets containing individual urns and are sited in the vaulted alcoves, with brass plaques commemorating each occupied niche.

The Cathedral was constructed between 1882 and 1910 and originally designed and built as a parish church (albeit a big one). In 1976, it was consecrated as the cathedral church. It is the second largest Roman Catholic cathedral in England.

The niches are available to all Christians in East Anglia*. Those choosing the columbarium as their resting place should make a specified donation of £2000 which goes into the Cathedrals upkeep fund. This is discounted by £250 for members of the Cathedral parish and Cathedral Friends.

They also offer special urns for ‘those who would prefer a more prominent memorial’. This attracts a higher undisclosed price.

The website does not say whether the £2000 interring your ashes for eternal residence or whether duration comes up under the terms and conditions – so I asked – it is for 80 years – not bad at all!

* not sure how  the local bit is enforced or what is it mean but I would think the policy would be fairly broad.

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military columbarium

Utah Veterans have a new columbarium and scattering site


Military veterans form the US state of Utah have had their cemetery facilities enhanced and improved. The US Department for Veteran Affairs awarded a grant of $4.5million for improvement to the Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah.

The cemetery now includes a new columbarium and a garden for scattering ashes, with the names of those scattered engraved on an adjacent monument.

Since the refurbishment, the park mangers stated that the columbarium has been popular with 15 applicants already, whereas the scattering garden has yet to be used.

You may think there is nothing particular interesting about this little fact. I beg to differ.

Options for cremation ashes in veteran’s cemeteries are increasing in popularity, as the spokesmen said it is the ‘sign of the times’, but what does that mean? I guess they were mainly implying cost of the funeral, in that people will chose cremation over burial based on price, in addition the article also pointed out that the facility was free for the veterans and $700 for the spouse (although it was unclear what this $700 was for).

So if you choose to be memorialised in a cemetery then it is perhaps (and I am guessing at this point) that if two options are the same price and one that is perceived as ‘grander’ will be the choice.

It is interesting to watch how State institutions adapt to the change in social trends and the rationale they believe is behind the choices.

As a Brit the concept of the State having such a big mechanism for ex servicemen surprised me, but then America is a big country and has been involved a lot of conflicts over the last century. I would also argue there is a different relationship between the State and its service personal, as to defining those difference you could write a book. One last point, the article concluded ‘With the expansion, the cemetery should be able to accommodate all veterans who choose to be buried there, including Vietnam-era veterans, who will soon eclipse World War II veterans as the largest group dying each year. The state has an estimated 50,000 Vietnam-era vets.’ – Blimey. Then will come those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan…

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columbarium option uk

Is there space for Columbariums to be an option for ashes the UK

columbarium Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC

Is there space for Columbariums to be an option for ashes the UK? I think so, in fact I think they are really overlooked in the UK. My only beef is the ones I see here in the UK and to a certain extent the US are a bit ugly and too utilitarian.  There is no imagination, no sense of the atheistic.

This is going to sound a tad harsh but most look like something you might see in a kitchen showroom run by the Adam’s family. I appreciate that if the columbarium is to be sited outside you may want something very hard wearing like granite and as the choice has to suit many tastes then perhaps one must seek out the lowest common denominator, but really they are so dull dull and a bit more dullness. Have a look at this one from Stockport crematoria, it looks like lockers from the gym, remember you wrist band and key and you will get your pound coin back. Does this place really fulfil the need when wishing to memorialise a loved one?

columbarium in stockport
Stockport Crematorium Columbarium

Why not something carved from Portland stone a stone local to the situation. I think I know the answer to that – cost and durability. However, nobody said they all have to be Dartmoor granite? Something that blends in with the locality? This could work really well if church opted to have them within the building. The one at the top on the post is from the Cathedral of St. John the Devine in New York. it fits is and very tasteful.

I think they could be a good income source for churches too. They are looking at making one at St Bartholomew the Great, in West Smithfield, London. The are planning one that has 196 niches each that can hold two set of ashes, again, I am not spellbound by the design but there is some good detail on it and it is in keeping. They are looking for expressions of interest so they can go ahead and build it. Here is the link

Let’s be honest scattering does not suit everyone; or you may want somewhere to store the ashes while a spouse is alive or as a more long term solution; you may not want to bury the ashes, also the Catholic church like them. So what a good option I say.

One thing I think my general grumpiness on design is part of my general dislike of faux Victorian funeria, so there I said it.

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cremation ashes in a typical columbrium

Keeping ashes in a Columbarium: what are they, why use them and what do they cost.


A columbarium is a wall with cavities designed to hold cremation urns or cinerary urns. Have look at the picture above, they are usually made of stone such as granite and each niche can hold a number of cremation urns (up to about 4). The niche faceplate usually has an inscription engraved upon it.

These are quite popular in the Europe and US but not so in UK, so:

  • Where do they originate?
  • Why do people use them?
  • What do they cost?

The name comes from the Latin for Dove as the niche resembles a dovecote where doves build their nest. It has gone on to mean a sepulchre for urns. They date as far back as Roman times (eg Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas) and maybe even further.

They are more popular in continental Europe, which is presumably how the custom migrated to the States.  As to why they have not really been more popular in the UK may be to do with how the dead are memorialised in more Catholic areas of continental Europe, there is more likelihood of a mausoleum based interring i.e. placement above the ground rather than burial.

There are some examples in the UK, most notably the Dukes and Duchesses of Buckinghamshire. They constructed a family Columbarium in Wotton in Buckinghamshire which appears to ape fashions from the continent and may relate to the change in the royal lineage as the Hanoverians had become the new dynasty, the percentage of people in the UK at the time being cremated was very small indeed.

But what psychological need do they fulfil that burying, keeping or scattering ashes does not (or at least not to the same extent).

Well I suppose it might be a case of continuing traditions; ‘my mum and dad are in one, so what is good enough for them is good enough for me’.  Maybe it is for people who believe ashes should be in a place that is specifically designed for the purpose, or that the deceased should be kept with others who have departed, a necropolis if you will. If that is the case it might make more sense than burying ashes.

Historically burying was ‘necessary’ if you don’t opt to cremate, but there is no need for ashes to be buried. You may feel you wish to keep the ashes at the cemetery or church and not want to scatter them in the garden of remembrance, thus a columbarium is a great choice. Placing the urn in a wall or columbarium means you can visit, connect directly with them, more like visiting a grave.

Perhaps we should have this as an option more widely available in the UK; after all we are big fans of bronze plaques at crematoria as a focal point of memorialisation. According to the Co-op’s survey 1 in 20 chose the crematoria as the last resting place, personally I think this figure seems a bit low, maybe this is likely in the future, but currently from our research I would think it was more likely around 1 in 10. Interestingly it would appear that there may be a very slight increase in their use, not so much at the crematoria but some churches like the idea that these could provide a good option particularly where space is limited, and also as an income stream.

So to the cost, they are not cheap. I can’t say my research is massively in-depth, but I did look at a number of columbarium in a range of locations and what I can say is that, as with most things, cost has a lot to do with location: inside a fine old church in London with a lot of history – pricey, outside in the grounds of a crematoria in Northern England not as pricey (but still not cheap).

Do be aware that absolutely everything has a price; the inscription, the vault opening and so on. A rough estimate of set up costs is around £400- £500 (although there big variance here). Nearly all options are on a lease basis, so you have the ongoing annual cost, not insignificant either.  From Fleetwood in Lancashire where the price is about £15 per year to £150 per year in St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London.

For more information on Columbarium

Despite the cost, the more I read about them the more I quite like them; I can see that they have a role particularly for a couple where one has departed first or maybe for children who are waiting to decide what to do with the ashes of their parents. They are not a permanent solution for most of us, due to leasing arrangement. However they certainly seem better than a brass plaque (which I personally don’t understand).

Perhaps we need to come up with a more considered or up-to-date version of a columbarium. How about one for those in the trade union movement in the style of those wonderfully symbolical early banners, or maybe for more creative souls a moving one like kinetic art so you become part of an installation … the next Turner Prize? Maybe one carved out of living rock (as a once-upon-a-time geologist I prefer in-situ rock) like a cliff face. I certainly think that parish churches could consider getting a local artist or sculptor to make one, that way they could save space and create an income stream… Ummmm what a world of possibilities there is for the modern columbarium!

ashes kept collumbarium

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interring ashes in the holy land

Interring cremation ashes in the Holy Land


Should it be your last wish to have you ashes interred in the Holy Land then we can help.

We have teamed up with a company that runs two sites in Israel, one near Jerusalem – in Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim, and the other at the Sea of Galilee –  in Kibbutz Maagan.

Both places are very evocative with huge biblical and historic significance: Jerusalem, the city of David and the Sea of Galilee where Jesus gave his sermon on the mount.

The company will take care of all the arrangements in Israel:

– Picking up the ashes from Tel Aviv Airport
– Transport the ashes to the chosen site.
– Interment of the ashes in the columbarium wall.
– A memorial plaque carved with text chosen by the family
– They can also arrange a ceremony when family visits the site.

The cost: $5600 (£3600)*

We can arrange transport of the urn to Israel should you need us to.

For more detail just send us an enquiry and we will guide you from there:

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Your Message - please include dates if known

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*The contents of this email were correct at the time of publishing, prices  may change, we try to keep all pages accurate but it can happen.

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Archdiocese of Washington’s thinking on the scattering of ashes – in short they don’t like it!

 Ashes to Armaments Dust to Detonation – A Brief Essay on What NOT to do with Cremated Remains

Author Mr Charles Pope

“Cremation, though permitted by the Church, often presents pastoral problems for the Church. For, as experience shows, many people treat cremated remains (aka, cremains) in ways that would be unthinkable in terms of the more complete body. Some of the most common practices involve scattering the ashes on the ground, pouring them in rivers or seas, or scattering them from planes. All of these sorts of practices are forbidden by the Church to Catholics. There are other problems we will talk about below.

But recently, one of the most absurd things I have ever heard in terms of cremated remains appeared in USA Today. Here are some excerpts of the article:

By Mari Darr Welch, for USA TODAY

Officers Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell have launched Holy Smoke LLC, a company that will, for a price, load cremated human ash into shotgun shells, and rifle and pistol cartridges.

It’s the perfect life celebration for someone who loves the outdoors or shooting sports, Parnell says….

“This isn’t a joke. It’s a job that we take very seriously,” he said. “This is a reverent business. We take the utmost care in what we do and show the greatest respect for the remains.” It has established to promote the service and traffic on it has been growing, Holmes says.

For $850, one pound of ash will be loaded into 250 shotgun shells. The ash is mixed in the cups that hold the shot, not the powder.The same amount of ash will fill the bullets of 100 standard caliber center-fire rifle rounds or 250 pistol rounds…

“Some people have been concerned that a small amount of ash will remain in the animal that is shot with the ammunition, Holmes said. “But it’s just carbon, and a small amount at that. You don’t have anything to worry about.” The animal should be killed quickly by the shot, to prevent any possibility of spreading the ashes in the animal’s blood, he says. The area around where the animal was struck should not be consumed…. The full article is here:

Sigh…Where to begin. It is interesting that the proprietors have to assure us this isn’t a joke. For indeed, it seems just that, a sick joke. And then things descend to the absurd when we are also instructed to thoroughly clean the meat of the animal killed by cremains laden bullet.

Some bad jokes come to mind, to wit: Joe really lived to hunt, now he’s dying to hunt. Joe would really be blown away by this…etc., add your own. But remember, as the proprietors assure us, “this is a reverent business” and thus all joking is inappropriate.

And so it is, but so is loading human ashes into shotgun shells and bullets and shooting away. Simply calling something a reverent business does not make it so.

Again the Church allows cremation so long as the reason for doing so is not contrary to the faith (e.g. denying the resurrection of the Body). But pastorally there are challenges presented to the Church in the way people routinely treat ashes.

Granted, most of the “scattering” practices are not as absurd and irreverent as shooting animals with them. Many in fact consider various scatterings as reverent. But the bottom line for the Church is that cremains, though in ash form, are still what remains of the body. And we should no more scatter them than we would scatter body parts about.

Reverent burial or placement in a mausoleum are the only proper destination for cremated remains. Thus, not only is scattering not considered appropriate, but so is the practice of some of retaining the ashes in their home.

Yet another problem encountered by cremation is the practice of delaying the burial indefinitely. I often find that the burial of cremated individuals is not scheduled the day of the the funeral. When I ask as to the specific date I often get a lot of vague answers. I am beginning to conclude that I will not schedule the funeral until the burial is also scheduled. For too often Uncle Joe is waiting in the closet to be buried.

To conclude, a new cremation regulation, dated March 21, 1997, was granted by the Holy See as an addition, or indult, to the Order of Christian Funerals.

The instructions indicate the cremated remains should be treated with the same respect we give to the body of deceased person. The remains are to be placed in a worthy vessel which then is carried and transported with the same respect and attention given to a casket carrying a body.

Their final disposition is equally important, say the instructions: “The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium [a cemetery vault designed for urns containing ashes of the dead]. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.” The instructions also state that, if at all possible, the place of entombment should be marked with a plaque or stone memorializing the deceased.”

This raises some interesting thinking from the ‘stricter’ end of the Anglican church. So I have replied to the post hoping to get a bit more on the basis as on which the opinion was formulated. I am slightly concerned by the term immoral being used for those following this domoniation of Anglicanism (I think the divisions are refered to as demonitations but I could be wrong) and whilst the author did not use this term he concured with a respondant that did…
This is my responce

This is a fascinating post.

I run a website in the UK that advices people what to do with there cremated remains (this is not a plug honest!) and although I am a non believer I try really hard to give those of faith the correct advice. I have a position from the Church of England which is slightly different – I have copied at the bottom of the post, if you are interested.

However I have a few questions that you may be help me with.

Reverent – is this from the point of view of the deceased or the person or persons in charge of the funeral? Does it have a specific definition within the church? Do last wishes have any standing, if reverence is defined by that person?

The term immoral is used – Isn’t this little harsh if the concept of reverence is subjective? Are we Anglicans immoral if they scatter ashes?

The advice for Connor was not to attend the scattering of his father’s ashes, is this because it would infer that he condones the act or is morally corrupted by it? Are there not other ecclesiastical precedents that would lean towards honouring his father?

On the point Al makes that I don’t think Christian teaching promote an unethical side of the funeral profession, just an unfortunate coincidence sadly. And people have written me worrying because of the cost of it all.

In the main posting you seem not to like people having the ashes at home for a protracted period. I couldn’t see anything in the canon that specified or even indicated time span – unless that wasn’t the whole thing? People of faith lean heavily on their church after bereavement surely if you are not obliged under doctrine to require there burial at a certain point wouldn’t it help their grief to give them until a point they felt comfortable?

Any pointer you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly in the extract from the gun cartridge manufacture – they state it is mainly carbon, it isn’t it is mainly calcium. Carbon makes up about five.

Here is the CoE stance

“So far as the Church of England is concerned, the matter is governed by Canon B 38.4(b) which provides as follows-

The ashes of a cremated body should be reverently disposed of by a minister in a churchyard or other burial ground in … or on an area of land designated by the bishop for the purpose … or at sea.

The ordinary position therefore is that ashes are to be buried.  They may only be scattered if the bishop has designated land for the purpose of the disposal of cremated remains on that land.

We are not in a position to say what land has been so designated.  Individual diocesan registries may be able to assist with such information.”

I will keep you posted

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scatter ashes maine

Scattering ashes in Maine in the United States – good news

I know that there are good proportion our visitors to the site are from overseas and that many of you are from the USA, and it is not often I can help out, but this week it has been a bit like buses (as they say). Last week I reported that the law in Oregon concerning the scattering of ashes were pretty relaxed this week I have found the same is true of Maine.
In a reader question to the website Sunspots concerning the legitimacy of spreading cremation ashes at a crematory.
Can one spread their ashes on the ground at the cemetery on our plot?
Sunspots spoke to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection they pointed in them in the direction of – (frequently asked questions), it offers the following:
“Where can I scatter cremated remains in Maine?
“Title 13, Chapter 83, §1032 simply states that cremated human remains ‘…may be deposited in a niche of a columbarium or a crypt of a mausoleum, buried or disposed of in any manner not contrary to law.’ Specific locations are not specified, although the Division recommends obtaining permission prior to scattering remains on private property.”

I have say I liked the bit of detail they offered around columbarium which although referenced to Wikipedia is great:
(According to, “A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns (i.e. urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains). The term comes from the Latin columba (dove) and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons.”)
The article make the point that (as with the UK) the issue is not with the law,  but in getting the permission to scatter on private land.

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catholic scattering cremation ashes

The Catholic Church: cremation, cremated remains and scattering ashes


Previous postings have referred to the Catholic Church requiring the burying or interring of a loved ones ashes, very recently I came across this very comprehensive article explaining why. I have copied in full and the author has been credited at the bottom it a) it is well written, b) concise c) well referenced, and finally d) fascinating.

However for those is a rush, basically the body is not just a carrier of the soul it is as important as the soul, so the Catholic Church would prefer the body to be intact (i.e. burial), cremation is fine so long as it is not to done deny that person’s belief.  And don’t split or scatter the ashes as this would separate the body. So here is the article:

What The Church Teaches About Cremation

A Catholic interviewer recently asked Emilio Estevez why his new movie “The Way,” which is so respectfully full of Catholic imagery, has its main character (Martin Sheen) scattering the ashes of his son, a practice forbidden by Church law? Estevez answered that the “character of Tom is a lapsed Catholic. He wouldn’t be formed in canon law.”

Sheen’s character may have a reasonable excuse, but not so the rest of us. What does the Catholic Church teach about cremation, and why?

The short answer about cremation is that a Catholic may be cremated, so long as the reason for doing so is not contrary to the Catholic faith—though the church does prefer a traditional burial (Code of Canon Law, 1176, Section 3). The remains are to be entombed or interred in a cemetery or columbarium, and are not to be scattered or rest in a person’s house or be split between several people or be fused into jewellery.

Let’s back up and look at the why.

Every single teaching of the Catholic faith, no matter how minute, is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ. “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth … God created man in his image …” (Gen 1:1, 27a). Human beings, body and soul, were always designed to be images of his divine being. Centuries later, when the Word was made flesh (Jn 1:14), human and divine were fused permanently. When our Lord suffered and died on the cross, he defeated death for all mankind, because God died, in his humanity. When he rose from the dead, he was not a ghost but fully human, with a human body—glorified and perfected, but authentic, as evidenced by his apostles touching his hands and side (Lk 24:38-40; Jn 20:24-29), and by the food he ate with them (Lk 24:41-43; Jn 21:13-14). It was not his spirit alone that was resurrected, but his body with his soul, united just as he was before his death. When his time to visit his apostles on earth was again completed, he did not die but ascended into heaven. He who came down to earth a spiritual God ascended into heaven both body and spirit.

Heaven is not a place where we turn into angels or our spirits float around lazily. In heaven, the second Person of the Holy Trinity is bodily present, and we will worship him with our spirits united to our glorified bodies.

It is because of our Lord’s incarnation that we are to respect our bodies. Our bodies are not mere casings for our souls. Quite the contrary: our bodies are every bit as much a part of us as our souls are.

The church has always preferred the burial of the body to cremation because “in baptism the body was marked with the seal of the Trinity and became the temple of the Holy Spirit …” (Order of Christian Funerals, 19). Still, cremation has long been allowed for legitimate reasons (in ancient times, this usually meant war or plague—many corpses together with hygienic concerns).

In the late 19th century, however, the practice of choosing cremation specifically to deny belief in the church’s teachings (including the resurrection of the body) rose to popularity, and so in 1886 the church banned cremation. In 1963, however, it was realized that most cremations are chosen for neutral reasons like cost and mobility, and so the ban was lifted, with the caveat above.

In most cases, cremation should be done after the funeral, for the same body that was baptized and anointed and has received Communion should be honoured as we pray for our beloved dead. However, the dioceses of the United States do have special permission from the Vatican to celebrate a funeral Mass in the presence of cremated remains, if the cremation must be done first.

Because the cremated remains are truly the body of the deceased, they are to be treated with the same respect as the body would be. Just as we would honour a person’s physical body by giving it a permanent resting place, so too do we honour the remains of a person who’s been cremated by giving their remains a permanent resting place.


Published: October 13, 2011

Claire Gilligan is the associate director of the Archdiocese Office of Divine Worship.

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