Choosing a New Memorial

A new memorial is a way to remember a loved one; we’ll take you through the choices available and help you to create a personal memorial.

Creating a new memorial

A memorial stone to mark a grave is a traditional way of paying tribute to a loved one. If you’re thinking of creating a new memorial the first things to take into consideration are:

  • Is it to mark a burial or an ashes interment (burial of ashes)?
  • Where will the memorial be located?

The answers will affect the choices available to you, due to the relevant regulations and restrictions.

Churchyard regulations tend to be more restrictive than cemeteries; for ashes internment, often only a tablet is allowed, or sometimes a smaller headstone. At AB Walker we take you through the relevant cemetery or churchyard requirements, so you can create the personal memorial you want for your loved one.

From the type of memorial, the stone used and the shape, to the lettering style and even imagery, there are many choices available to you in creating the memorial. Here we give you an idea of the options available.

It’s important to be aware of the timescales for creating your memorial. The process for creating a bespoke memorial can take up to 24 weeks.

We also offer memorial stone packages, simpler headstones or ashes tablet with a personal inscription that could be fitted in a shorter time of 10-12 weeks.

Types of memorials

Most memorials are made of natural stone. Granite is the most commonly used stone, due to its decorative and hard-wearing properties. Sandstone, slate, limestone and marble may also be used, though marble is not permitted in churchyards. These materials tend to weather, giving a more natural look after two to three years.

Upright headstone

An upright headstone is a traditional gravestone, and what you may immediately picture when thinking of a grave. Fixed to the ground using an anchor system, this headstone is engraved on the flat front surface with the inscription. They come in a wide variety of shapes sizes and finishes.


A monolith is a larger memorial that stands at the head of the grave. It can be engraved on the flat front surface with the inscription in much the same way as an upright headstone. Only a few churchyards and cemeteries will grant permission for a new monolith.

Kerb set

A traditional style of memorial, a kerb set has a rectangular edge of stone running around the boundary of the grave, enclosing it. Often known as a ‘surround’, they can be filled with gravel for a clean look. As this is a larger memorial, only a few churchyards and cemeteries will grant permission for a new kerb set.


Tablets are smaller memorials that are either flat to the ground, wedge shaped or desk table style and are engraved on the top. They are usually for the interment (burial) of ashes, but can be used to mark a burial site.

As well as different types of memorial, there are a variety of lettering and design options to choose from.

In both cemeteries and churchyards, there is a limit to the type of stone and headstone shape you can have, as well as the lettering colour, size and font. Something you have seen and liked in a churchyard may not be an option today. Church Diocese regulations were updated in 2016, and some materials and styles that were allowed prior to this date are no longer allowed.

AB Walker is here to help – we’ll explain the requirements of your chosen churchyard or cemetery so that the memorial option you choose meets the regulations.

Ordering a new memorial stone

With all new memorial work, we will discuss your requirements with you so we have a good understanding of your vision for the memorial. At this stage, we’ll also let you know of any churchyard or cemetery regulations that could affect your choice.

The next step is to provide you with a quote. This will be a full estimate of all memorial costs, so you know upfront exactly what you’ll need to pay and can budget accordingly.

If you decide to go ahead with the memorial, we’ll ask you to return a signed copy of the quote and a completed churchyard or cemetery application form along with payment. Permission is needed for all memorials and it can take up to a month for an application to be granted.

As soon as permission is confirmed, we will order the stone, usually from overseas, which can take 18-20 weeks to arrive. During this time we will send you a proof of your design, including your chosen font and description for you to approve; once the stone has arrived, we’ll complete the inscription as per your wishes. How long this takes depends on the complexity of the memorial, but don’t worry; we’ll give you an expected completion date so you know when your new memorial should be ready.

Once the work has been completed we’ll let you know and send you a photo of your new memorial.

The process is the same if you order one of our memorial stone packages except that we don’t need to order the stone, as we hold it in stock. This means that these memorials could be fitted by our accredited masons within 10-12 weeks at a churchyard or cemetery in Berkshire, West Berkshire or South Oxfordshire.

Grave ownership

Cemeteries require a living grave owner to complete an application for any work to be undertaken on the grave, including adding an inscription to a memorial stone. The recommendation is for a grave to have two owners from the start to help make the process easier.

Headstone shapes, lettering and designs

Taking you through the headstone shapes, lettering and design options available, we’ll help you create a personal memorial that meets churchyard or cemetery regulations.

Our memorial stone packages

For a simpler memorial stone we offer fixed price, headstone and ashes tablets packages for both churchyards and cemeteries.

New memorial stone FAQs

Our memorial stone packages could be fitted by our BRAMM-accredited masons in 10-12 weeks at a churchyard or cemetery in Berkshire or South Oxfordshire.
The process for creating a bespoke memorial can take up to 24 weeks.

Memorials form

If you are interested in finding out more about our memorial masonry services please fill in our memorial stones form or contact us on 0118 957 3650.