Last Updated: 21 November 2023
It is illegal to remove or disturb human remains, including cremated remains, from a place of burial without the permission of the relevant local authority.
A licence must be obtained from the Home Office before an exhumation can proceed. A Bishop’s Faculty will also be required from the Diocesan authorities if the exhumation is from Church of England consecrated ground.
You should consider very carefully whether you would wish to make an application and consult with all relatives before proceeding.
The following costs must be considered:
- cemetery fees for the disinterment (and re-interment, if required in our cemetery), including the removal of any memorials
- funeral directors' charges including a new coffin or casket and removal to a new burial site
- bishop's faculty (if required)
The cemeteries officer can give you information and guidance on making an application.
Apply for a Home Office licence
You can get a form either from the Home Office or from the cemeteries office.
After you have completed Part A, it should be sent to us. We will complete Part B of the form as long as there are no objections. We will then send the form to the Home Office on your behalf.
They are generally granted within three to four weeks.
The relevant department can be contacted at:
Exhumation Applications: Coroners Section
19 Allington Street
LONDON SW1 5EB
Telephone: 020 7035 5530/5531
Apply for a Bishop's faculty
You should apply to the Diocesan registry in Carlisle.
They will give you a form of 'Questions' which should be returned to the registry.
The non-refundable fee for the application is £162.
The Carlisle Diocesan Registry can be contacted at:
Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone: 0191 226 7878
We will arrange a suitable date for the exhumation. It will take place early in the morning before the cemetery is open, although work on the grave may be carried out the day before.
The only people who can be present at the exhumation are:
- the funeral director
- an environmental health officer to ensure there is no threat to the health of staff or the public and that the terms of the licence are being met
- the cemetery staff carrying out and supervising the exhumation