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Mossfords Guide to Choosing a Memorial


Set out below are a few of the most important considerations when ordering a Memorial.


Memorials are usually erected in cemeteries or churchyards. They need to be of a material that:

  • Will withstand the weather,

  • Can take a lasting, carved inscription,

  • and, at a later date, is suitable for shaping and ornamentation.

Time has shown that natural stone, slate, marble and granite have all these qualities.


A memorial is a lasting monument, tribute to a person's life, perhaps a final gift to someone dearly loved, therefore it is important to choose carefully. Hasty decisions made while still in great distress frequently result in later regrets, so it can be sensible to wait and to spend time on selecting a suitable design.


You may wish to use a company recommended by a friend of relative, or you may need to look around. Whichever you do, it is generally advisable to use one which specialises in memorial masonry. The company should understand stone and so be able to give you reliable advice as to whether the stone you are choosing is suitable for the type of memorial you require and for the area in which it is to be fixed. Weather, pollution and surrounding vegetation can have an effect on this.

Members of the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons (BRAMM) are bound to strict Codes of Business and Working Practice and, should a dispute unfortunately arise, by the findings of a free and objective Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

BRAMM members must have Public & Products Liability Insurance of no less than £5 million, Employee Liability Insurance of no less than £10 million and must also give a guarantee of the stability of their memorial.  Many masons will have been accredited by BRAMM to use the Code of Working Practice - Fixing Safe Memorials.


In general, cemeteries and churchyards usually have regulations governing the kinds of memorials and, sometimes, the inscriptions and ornamentation they will allow.  These vary from place to place and so need to be checked before any choice is made.


There are often special areas for the burial of cremated remains. Some just have a central memorial commemorating all those buried nearby.  In others, headstones or plaques can be erected on the individual plots.


Before a memorial may be erected in a churchyard or cemetery, written permission has to he obtained from its management.  Your BRAMM memorial mason will organise this for you.


It is important to obtain a written estimate clearly setting out full details, together with all the costs of the memorial you are considering. The estimate should include details of the memorial including size, material, lettering, any ornamentation and finishes.  Also, it should include the cost of the secure installation of the memorial on a proper foundation together with the cemetery or churchyard fees (plus VAT.)

Lettering and ornamentation can be hand carved, sand blasted or machine cut.  These options and the different types of stone available all vary in price.  If you obtain estimates from more than one company, check them carefully to make sure you really are comparing like with like.


When placing the order you will be asked to pay a deposit, with the balance of the agreed price payable later.  Before signing to confirm your order it is important to check it thoroughly. Be particularly careful that the wording and spelling of the inscription, and any dates are shown correctly. 


Any alterations should be confirmed immediately and in writing.

NB. Unless you give definite written instructions to the contrary, the layout of the inscription may be left to the letter carver.

The availability of the materials, the complexity of design and the condition of the ground will effect the time the memorial will take to complete.  A reputable memorial mason will be able to advise you.

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