St Mark's Church Garden of Remembrance
Our Garden was consecrated by the Bishop of Bedford, it is hallowed ground, a special holy place where the memory of your loved ones will be treated with respect. Plots are not purchased only for a period of time and then reused, as in cemeteries, once laid to rest the plots will be undisturbed for all time. No activity can take place within the Garden without strict controls and everything is monitored closely by the Diocese of St. Albans. This is the only consecrated place of interment available to the public in Bedford. Working closely with our Diocesan Advisory Committee, we have managed to achieve what the Chancellor of our Diocese declared to be an exemplary scheme. We hope that you will agree.
We believe that St Mark’s offers a model way forward for churches to meet the mixed needs of their communities. Thank you to everybody who gives of their time so generously to make our Churchyard such a beautiful place, especially our volunteer gardeners. They have made this a special place which is loved and appreciated by so many people.
About the Garden of Remembrance
In 1992 a beautiful new Garden of Remembrance was consecrated by the Bishop of Bedford at St Mark’s Church. This Garden is now available to the whole community as a specifically Christian place of burial. It is the only consecrated churchyard available to the public in Bedford. The Garden is completely non-profit making and we are therefore able to combine beautiful facilities with the lowest cost available. Indeed there is no charge at all for the scattering of ashes.
The large grounds surrounding St Mark’s Church have offered the opportunity for landscaping and the Garden has been continually extended to accommodate the increasing number of people who have appreciated this peaceful place for the burial of ashes. The grounds continually benefit by the addition of new plants, trees and shrubs, often donated in memory of a loved one. The chapel at St Mark’s Church contains a Book of Remembrance and is a place of prayer where candles can be lit in memory of those who have died. The chapel is open every day during daylight hours and visitors especially enjoy the outstanding stained glass window.
The Garden at St Mark’s Church provides the opportunity for interment in marked plots with granite stones, alternatively some people prefer a scattering of ashes in an unmarked plot. We are also pleased to have been able to construct a memorial wall upon which engraved granite plaques can be placed in memory of those who have died, irrespective of where they may be buried. The Garden is always open and we welcome visitors. The location of the church in Brickhill offers many advantages, on major bus routes and has excellent parking, including full provision for those with disabilities.
Please do contact us for further information if there are any questions not answered in this booklet. We are also pleased to speak with you to discuss your requirements or to make reservations. Contact details are shown on the back of this booklet.
Information about St Mark’s Garden of Remembrance
Visiting the Garden and Chapel
St Mark’s Garden of Remembrance is located at the rear of St Mark’s Church. Car parking is provided and the entire premises and Garden are completely accessible for people with disabilities. You may visit the Garden at any time. Access to the garden is through the lych gate at the front of the church. If you would like to telephone before coming, we would be pleased to arrange to show you around. We have tried to make every effort to provide a totally safe and peaceful place for you to visit. You will notice the complete absence of any vandalism whatsoever. Security lighting illuminates the whole garden during the hours of darkness and the garden is covered by CCTV with infrared monitoring at night.
St Mark’s Chapel is usually also open during daylight hours and a Book of Remembrance is available for inscription in memory of those who have died. The chapel also has facilities for the lighting of prayer candles for those who visit.
Burial in the Garden
Usually burials take place at St. Mark's in the presence of a minister with a short burial service of prayers and a reading. Although we believe that our loved ones have departed to God's merciful keeping, we treat their bodily remains with the respect and dignity required for those whom God created. Families and relatives may decide to attend at the interment, or you may prefer for this to be done quietly at the church by the minister some time after the service. We offer two types of burial of cremated remains at St Mark’s.
Scattering of ashes
If you would like ashes scattered without any separate plot or gravestone, this can be provided at St Mark’s. A small hole is dug in the Garden and the ashes are poured loosely into the ground. The ashes are delivered to us by the funeral director or crematorium in a poly container.
When ashes are scattered, you may make use of the memorial wall to place a marked plaque in memory of the person who has died.
Burial of ashes in a marked plot
Many people appreciate the opportunity to have a marked plot for interment and this is provided at St Mark’s. Granite plaques mark the area in which the ashes are buried and each plot will accommodate two full size caskets. The ashes can also be buried without a casket if you would prefer.
We are obliged to ensure that the lettering on the stone is fairly simple in a style, which records only the name of the person who has died and their dates of birth and death or alternatively age. This lettering style allows sufficient space on the stone for two interments.
Charges for St Mark’s Garden of Remembrance - correct as at April 2017
We ensure that interment at St. Mark's is as inexpensive as possible. Our costs should not exceed charges made elsewhere and are usually about half the cost of local cemeteries. It is our desire to make only those charges necessary to cover the cost of memorial stones and to ensure that the garden is properly kept, and developed. All fees are paid into a separate bank account used solely for the costs associated with the maintenance and management of the Garden.
Costs for burial in a marked plot
(Please note VAT is included in all charges)
Gravel plot with granite stone
Purchase of single or double plot
with granite memorial stone 16" x 12" £750
Cost of Granite kerb vault £1,000
Interment of ashes burial fee £151
Inscription of letters on granite stone per letter £3
The cost of a subsequent interment in the same plot will be the cost of the burial fee at the time and the inscription only
Cost of scattering ashes in unmarked plot £75
Maintenance of granite memorial stones
The memorial stones are made of unpolished granite and through the use of relief lettering blasted into the granite, there will be no degradation of the carved lettering. Please note that the black paint made fade over time and the lettering may benefit from new application of paint after 10 - 15 years. However usually an application of water on a soft sponge is all that is required to remove dust which can lodge in the letters.
Re-blacking of lettering 75p per letter
The memorial wall
The memorial wall is particularly suitable for those who do not have a special plot in the Garden. This may be the case when a person has been buried elsewhere, or if the ashes are scattered somewhere in the Garden, but not in a marked plot.
You may use the plaque in memory of either one or two people. Please use the special form for entering your inscription. Please note that the Church Council may refuse an inscription
Cost for a memorial wall plaque £175
Private interment in exclusive vault
We have a magnificent granite columbaria to offer interment in a consecrated vault. Each vault will accommodate at least four sets of ashes and a plaque can be inscribed with suitable words in memory of the person who has died. The columbaria offers the unique quality of exclusive rights of burial in perpetuity. In commercial cemeteries families are usually offered rights for a period of time, perhaps 40 years, after which the ashes are removed and the vault sold to somebody else. St Mark’s can guarantee that the remains of our loved ones will rest undisturbed for all time. Families may wish to have the black granite memorial cover inscribed with a suitable inscription in gold lettering at an additional cost.
Cost of exclusive use of vault £1,000.
Cost of gold lettering £3.50 per letter
Book of Remembrance
A Book of Remembrance is kept on view at the church in memory of those whose names are recorded on the date on which they died. If you would like an entry recorded following an interment, then please contact Mrs Marion Prior 303254, she will be able to give advice over a suitable inscription and arrange an entry to be made.
Understandably relatives often wish to leave flowers in the Garden near to the place where a person has been buried. Please feel able to do this. Small plants or arrangements can be placed on the plaque. Please ensure that they are small enough that the view of other plaques is not obscured, and that the arrangement will not easily blow over. We have a tap fitted in the garden for your use and rubbish bins are also provided.
Flowers left outside very quickly begin to look untidy especially in adverse weather conditions, when they can be blown around the Garden and onto other stones. Floral tributes left in the Garden are collected up to three times a week and placed in vases in the special memorial feature near to the entrance by the Lych Gate. If you would like them to stay longer then please inform the Church Office and they will make sure that they are not removed too early. Occasionally these can be incorporated into arrangements for the Sunday service if they are in good condition. These measures ensure that the Garden is always kept tidy, and your flowers are used in a way that is honouring to the one you wish to remember.
Christmas and Easter
We understand that many people appreciate the opportunity to visit the Garden of Remembrance and leave flowers at these holiday periods. Over Christmas and Easter, the Garden will be carefully looked after each day, and suitable floral arrangements will be allowed to remain at or near the place where they were left.
At Christmas all tributes will be removed on the morning of 6 January. Containers will be placed in the large container at the rear entrance by the spiral staircase.
At Easter all tributes will be left for one week after the Easter Weekend We do have to be particularly careful with some wreaths which due to the presence of metal wire can cause rust staining to enter the granite.
We recommend that you place some plastic under the arrangement if steel wire is used.
Please note that artificial flowers are not permitted
Provision of Sunday flowers
Many people like to provide flowers in the church on a Sunday and this is a fitting way to remember somebody who has died. Arrangements exist for you to contribute to the provision of flowers on a particular Sunday at St Mark’s. Please contact Miss Marion Prior 360503