Deaths, Funerals and Cremations

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Deaths, Funerals and Cremations

Cumberland Council provides burials and cremations service. There are three cemeteries and a crematorium in the city. Please use the information on this page to find the service you require.

Improvement works soon to get underway

From Monday 10 June, we will be undertaking some maintenance work within the cemetery grounds (grave numbers CR926 - CR1088 and CR1557 - CR1692 on ward 22). Signs will be in place advising of the works.

This will include the removal of storm damaged trees and their stumps. This work is likely to take around a week to complete.

Due to health and safety, there will be limited access to the graves within the cordoned area when the tree removal is underway.

If you have placed personal tributes on graves within the cordoned area, please remove them by Sunday 9 June.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Tell Us Once

Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. Before you use Tell Us Once, you will need the following information.

  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • driving licence number
  • vehicle registration number
  • passport number
  • the date they died

Click here to use the Tell Us Once service on the website

For video guidance on how to use the Tell US Once service, Click here

I've bought a lawn grave. When will I be able to put a memorial onto it?

In cemeteries where continuous concrete foundations have been laid memorials can be erected on lawn graves, almost immediately.

Where individual foundations are provided for lawn memorials ideally these will be situated on un-dug ground at the head end of the grave. In these circumstances and with the use of ground anchors and fixings that comply with the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) Recommended Code of Practice, it is still possible to erect a memorial almost immediately.

In cemeteries where the headstone is erected directly on the excavated area of the grave there may be a period stipulated in the cemetery regulations which gives the ground time to settle and consolidate. During this period the cemetery staff should monitor any sinkage that becomes apparent and top up periodically with topsoil until settlement ceases. This period may differ around the country due to differing soil types and conditions. Even after settlement has ceased it is advisable to ensure that your memorial mason adopts the NAMM Code of Practice as mentioned above.

Why have I only been sold the grave for a set period of time?

The law stipulates that graves cannot be sold for more than 100 years and authorities cannot go against that law. However, the law does permit grant of ownership to be extended and some accordingly write to owners every five years offering the opportunity to 'top-up' their lease. In this manner, the grave can stay in the family for as long as they wish, though ownership will never be issued for more than 100 years at any one time. Even where this topping up option is not offered then you (or your family) can renew the right at the end of the current lease.

I own the grave - can anyone else be buried in it if I don't want them to?

No. Graves cannot be opened without the permission in writing of the registered owner of the grave. The only exception to this is where the burial is to be that of the registered owner in which case no written authority is required. The law protects your rights as registered owner of the grave.

I am told the grave is for two people - there is only one person in the grave and I now want two more burials to take place in the grave.

When a grave is purchased to take two full body burials, the depth to which the grave is excavated for the first burial must take into account the need for the second burial. There are legal requirements as to how much earth must be left on top of the last coffin, and it is therefore not physically possible to put an extra coffin into the grave without breaking the law. However, after the grave is full for coffined burial cremated remains caskets or urns may still be buried within the grave.

What happens when the lease expires?

When you buy a grave you purchase the exclusive Rights of Burial in that grave for a set period of time. At the end of the period you should be given the option of renewing the Rights for a further period. It is vitally important that you keep the cemetery office fully informed should you change address otherwise you may not receive a notice of renewal at the appropriate time.

Also at the end of the period of rights to erect and maintain a memorial the cemetery staff will attempt to contact you to give you the option to renew the lease. Should you not wish to renew the lease or you cannot be contacted the cemetery staff can lawfully remove any memorial after giving a set period of notice for you to remove the memorial yourself. If you decide to renew the lease this may be on condition that the memorial receives a full inspection and stability test and any defects found are repaired.

Who is responsible for the memorial?

Whilst the burial authority is responsible for maintaining the cemetery in a safe condition you have a responsibility to maintain your memorial in a safe condition throughout the period of the Right to Erect and Maintain a Memorial. If you fail to do this the cemetery staff may take action to make the memorial safe.

Cemetery staff carry out routine inspections of memorials in the cemetery and when one is identified as being unstable and likely to fall and injure someone it might be cordoned off, laid flat or have a temporary support installed. You will receive a letter in these circumstances and it will be your responsibility to arrange suitable repair. Should your memorial still be under guarantee the memorial mason will be responsible to carry out repair at no extra cost to yourself. Should you ignore the notice sent to you your memorial may well be laid flat and when the lease expires you will not be allowed to renew it until repairs are made. Should no repairs be carried out and after further notification the memorial may be lawfully removed from the cemetery.

Your memorial mason also has a responsibility to provide a memorial of merchantable quality and to erect it in a safe manner. You should insist that the memorial is erected in accordance with the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) Recommended Code of Practice and seek a guarantee from your memorial mason.

What happens if/when all the owners have died?

Ownership of the exclusive Right of Burial in a grave can be transferred from a deceased owner via that owner's estate. The means of transfer can be very complex and while there is a set procedure to follow, each case must be looked at individually. If you need to transfer ownership when all owners are deceased you will need to contact the cemetery office where staff will arrange for a transfer to take place with due compliance with law.

Why can I put on the grave?

When a new grave is purchased it is not the ownership of the land itself that is purchased, but the rights to have burials take place in that grave. These rights are sold, or to be more correct, 'granted' together with the rights to erect a memorial on the grave in accordance with the rules and regulations of the cemetery. It is important that you select the cemetery that will provide you with the type of memorial that you require as regulations differ from area to area. This can be checked out by contacting the cemetery office and making enquiries about the choices and options available.


The Cemetery is situated on high ground overlooking Carlisle and the Solway Plain. The main entrance to Carlisle Cemetery is off Richardson Street, just south of the City. There are two vehicular entrances from Dalston Road.

Cemetery & Crematorium Office
Carlisle Crematorium
Dalston Road,

Tel: 01228 817390

Opening Hours

Cemetery Grounds

  • Winter and Spring - 8am to Dusk
  • Summer and Autumn - 8am to 8pm

Crematorium Building

  • Monday to Friday - 8.00am to 4.30pm
  • Weekends and Bank Holidays - 11.00am to 2.30pm

Public toilets (including disabled provision) are available during opening times within the Crematorium building and within the Cemetery grounds. Free parking is available adjacent to the Crematorium building and vehicle access to the Cemetery grounds is available, during opening hours, via Richardson Street. Drivers are asked to park considerately on the roadway, leaving space to pass and please do not park or drive on the grass.

Stanwix Cemetery

Kingstown Road,


Opening Hours

Winter and Spring - 8am to Dusk

Summer and Autumn - 8am to 8pm

Upperby Cemetery Manor Road,

Manor Road


Opening Hours
Winter and Spring - 8am to Dusk

Summer and Autumn - 8am to 8pm

We have adopted the Charter for the Bereaved issued by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematoria Management. The Charter is a commitment to improving the service by confronting rather than disguising the death experience, and by reducing ignorance. It defines the rights of every individual who experiences bereavement, and gives the bereaved greater influence over the arrangements of funerals, thereby controlling costs and offering more satisfaction.

The Charter guarantees 33 rights and these are integrated into the services. Indeed, we see the Charter Rights as a minimum and our service extends well beyond these requirements. If you require a hard copy of the Charter, please contact us.

We also adhere to the ICCM's Guiding Principles of Burial & Cremation Services.

Is cremation more expensive than burial?

No. Generally the cost of a grave is much higher than the fee charged for cremation although the funeral charges are similar for both services. The only additional charge for cremation arises when the death has not been referred to a coroner and two doctors need to be paid for the necessary certificates. This does not apply to burial.

What religious ceremony can I have with cremation?

The service for burial and cremation is the same apart from the form of committal sentences. The service may take place at your own place of worship with a short committal service in the crematorium chapel, or you may have the whole service at the crematorium chapel. Alternatively, you may prefer a civil ceremony be conducted, or even no service at all.

How is a cremation arranged?

The Cremation Regulations are complex and many people approach a funeral director immediately death occurs, and advise him that they wish to arrange a cremation. The funeral director will ensure that all the necessary statutory forms for cremation are obtained and presented to the Crematorium.

Can a cremation be arranged without the services of a funeral director?

Yes. The Executor or nearest surviving relative may arrange the cremation service themselves. Cremation authorities that are members of the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management's (ICCM) Charter for the Bereaved will provide advice to persons arranging a cremation without the use of a funeral director.

Is the coffin cremated with the body?

Yes. The ICCM Guiding Principles state that the container and the body shall be placed in cremator and cremation commenced. The coffin or container with the body inside shall not be opened or otherwise disturbed, other than in exceptional circumstances, and then only with the express permission and in the presence of the Applicant for Cremation (usually the executor or next of kin).

How soon after the service will the cremation take place?

Under normal circumstances the cremation is usually carried out shortly after the service and certainly on the same day. However, when a service takes place late in the day or a limited number of services are booked, the cremations may take place within the 72 hour period.

What happens to the cremated remains after cremation?

The law relating to cremation requires that cremated remains are disposed of in accordance with the written instructions of the applicant (usually the executor or nearest surviving relative). Most crematoria have a range of options which might include scattering or burying in the garden of remembrance, placing in a columbarium, interring in a small family vault or niche. Options for memorials are also available which might include plaques beneath rose bushes, trees or shrubs and memorial benches with plaques. The simplest form of memorial is an entry inscribed in a book of remembrance.

Cremated remains may also be buried in family graves that are full for coffined burials. Alternatively you may be able to purchase a new cremated remains grave in a cemetery.

There is no need to make a hurried decision with regard the final resting place of the remains with most crematoria having a facility to hold the remains until a decision is made. Should a crematorium not be contacted with a decision after a period of time has elapsed you may receive a letter asking if you are ready to go ahead. If you are not simply tell the crematorium that you need more time (a fee may be applicable). Should a crematorium receive no reply to their letter they may legally scatter or bury the cremated remains within their grounds after giving two weeks written notice.

Can more than one body be cremated at a time?

No, each cremation is carried out separately. The aperture through which the coffin passes in the cremator and the cremation chamber are of dimensions that will only safely accept one coffin. However, exceptions can be made in the case of a mother and baby or small twin children, so long as the next of kin or executor has made this specific request.

Where can I find out more information about cremation?

The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (external link) Charter for the bereaved gives detailed information about all aspects of the cremation process and encompasses environmental and social aspects. Cremation authorities that have adopted the Charter for the Bereaved will provide information and guidance and you can obtain a full reference copy of the Charter document from the ICCM website

Historical Searches

All cremations and burials are recorded on computer and retained forever. We have more than 78,000 cremations, 125,000 burials and over 75,000 graves on record.

Please use our contact form to request our City Council team to carry out a record search.

Responsibility for the safety of a memorial rests upon three parties:

  • The purchaser/owner of the memorial.
  • The mason/erector of the memorial.
  • The land owner/s.

The condition and inherent safety of a memorial during its entire lifespan are the responsibilities of the purchaser or his/her heirs. It is a good idea to look at the memorial to assess what risk it carries:

  • How tall is it?
  • How big is the base?
  • How likely is it to fall? (some shapes are less likely than others)
  • If it fell, what damage could it do (to a child for example)?

Our cemetery staff are always willing to advise, or you could consult your local stonemason or get in touch with the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) at::

National Association of Memorial Masons
1, Castle Mews
CV21 2XL

Tel: 01788 542264

Email: [email protected]


When there are no living relatives or no other person with the responsibilty for making funeral arrangements can be traced, our Environmental Health tean can make the necessary arrangements.

Before arranging a funeral it is important to check if the deceased left any instructions within their Will regarding their wishes. It may be that they wanted to donate their body for medical research or donate their organs for transplantation. Funeral arrangements may have already been made using a pre-payment plan or specific instructions may have been left concerning the funeral service itself. If there is a Will, the executor has the right to decide whether it should be a burial or cremation (even if the Will expresses a particular wish). If there is no Will, the next of kin should decide.

By law, a death must be registered. This is usually done in the county or borough in which the death occurred, although it is possible to register the death in another area by arrangement.

In order to register a death, the registry office will require the following:

  • Certificate of cause of death
  • Full name of the deceased (if married female, the maiden name and her husband's full name will also be required)
  • Home address of the deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Occupation of the deceased.

When the death occurs at home

The nearest relative and family Doctor should be informed. The Doctor will complete a certificate stating the cause of death.  If cremation is chosen, two Doctors are required to sign a certificate. The first Doctor will instruct the second Doctor, who can see the body in the mortuary or chapel of rest. The Doctors certificate must be taken to the Registrar in the registration sub-district where the death occurred, normally within five days.

When the death occurs in hospital

A certificate will be issued as above, but the hospital may wish to carry out a post mortem examination of the deceased. Before this occurs, consent must be obtained from the nearest relative.

When a death occurs suddenly

If the death was sudden, and the Doctor had not seen the patient within 14 days of death, the Coroner must be informed. The coroner will decide if it is necessary to carry out a post mortem examination. If it is decided that the death occurred from natural causes, the coroner will issue notification to the effect that an inquest is not required. Alternatively, the coroner may decide that an inquest should take place in order to establish the cause of death.


If a grave has already been purchased, you will need to provide the deeds or some other documents to show proof of ownership. If a new grave is required, you should decide in which cemetery the interment should take place and who will have exclusive right of burial named on the deed. In Carlisle you may wish to view the different types of graves available. The funeral director can make an appointment for you, and a member of staff will show you all the options.

The funeral director will ensure that all relevant documentation is delivered to Bereavement Services by 9am at least 48 working hours prior to the burial taking place. 


You will need to advise the Doctor that a cremation is desired, so that two Doctor's signatures are obtained. In addition to the Death Certificate, a Form A Application for cremation is required. The funeral director will give you all the relevant forms, which must be completed by the Executor, the nearest surviving relative and witnessed by any householder to whom the applicant is known.

As with burial the funeral director will ensure that all the relevant documentation is delivered to Bereavement Services by 9.30am two full working days prior to the cremation.

Bereavement Services Costs

For information on bereavement and memorial fees see Downloadable Documents.

 Contact Details

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