Graves and memorials


New grave availability

New graves are available for purchase at:

There are no new graves available in Blackburn cemetery or Darwen old cemetery, except for a section set aside for burial of cremated remains (ash plots).

Number of burials per grave

Current ground conditions allow for graves for 3 people at Darwen and graves for 2 people at Pleasington .

"Green" burials

There is a woodland section at Pleasington Cemetery which offers a natural form of burial.

  • Graves are for one person only and are set in a circular pattern with six graves around a tree.
  • The body must not be embalmed and no varnish or preservative must be used on the coffin.
  • No memorials are permitted on this section.

For further detail please contact bereavement services.

Graves and land ownership

When a new grave is purchased, it is not the land that is purchased but the rights to have burials in that particular space.

Ownership of the land itself remains with the Council and the Council retains the right to make rules and regulations to benefit all cemetery users.

Sunken graves

The Council will top up any grave that sinks within 12 months of a burial taking place, free of charge. After that, it is the grave owner's responsibility to maintain the space. You may wish to put some good top soil on the grave in any case, as after a burial the grave may have a very sandy appearance due to the nature of the soil, particularly at Pleasington.


If you have purchased a new grave, you will not need to wait. On the new sections at both Pleasington and Darwen Cemeteries, continuous concrete plinths are laid across each row so headstones can be fixed straight away.

Churchyard graves

The Council has no involvement with church yards or burials that take place there. If you wish to arrange for a churchyard burial you will need to contact the vicar of the church.

Buying graves

Your funeral director will arrange this for you, or you can contact us directly.

You can also pre-purchase graves. You will need to complete a form, available by contacting us and pay for the grave now.

Grave location

There are different sections in Blackburn with Darwen cemeteries according to religious denomination.

Contact us to make arrangements to visit the cemetery, where a member of staff will show you the available sections.

You may choose only within the row currently in use on any given section.

Edgings around graves

The cemetery rules state that no edgings are permitted as they impede mowing and can create a trip hazard. This rule will be strictly applied on future new sections.


Permission to erect a memorial

Your memorial mason will need to send in a plan of the proposed memorial, detailing dimensions, type of stone and inscription, to the Council for approval. There is a fee to pay for the right to erect a memorial. For further detail please contact us.

All new memorials must now conform to certain standards.  A headstone must be fitted with a “ground anchor” by an approved memorial mason in order to permanently secure it in position so that it can not fall or be pulled over. Any headstone that fails the safety test should be re-fixed by this method. You must not attempt to erect the memorial yourself.

Buying memorials

Yes, provided that the mason is registered with the Council. For further detail please contact bereavement services.

The Council operates a memorial mason's registration scheme, whereby only masons who have satisfied certain conditions are allowed to work in Council owned cemeteries. This is to ensure good working practice and secure fixing of memorials, to safeguard yourself and other cemetery visitors.

Memorials available to remember someone who has been cremated

  • There is a book of remembrance in the crematorium.
  • There is a memorial wall with the facility to place Lakeland slate plaques.
  • Subject to availability, you may be able to purchase a memorial tree at Pleasington cemetery. These are also available in Darwen eastern cemetery.
  • "Ash plots" are available for burial of cremated remains and may be marked with a headstone subject to planning application and payment of fees. Contact us for details of all current schemes.

Memorial benches

The number of benches allowed in the grounds is limited.

You would need to identify an area where you think a bench would be appropriate and contact us to make arrangements to meet the supervisor on site to discuss it with him.

You are not permitted to buy a bench of your choosing. For health and safety reasons, benches available for public use must be of good and durable quality and for this reason, they can only be purchased through the council.

Welfare burials

Under the provisions of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the Council has a duty to arrange for the funeral of any person who has died within its area where it appears that no person is making the appropriate arrangements.

Contact us for more details

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