1. Do the parents have to be baptised before a child can be baptised?


There is no requirement for the parents to be baptised, but they should feel able to support the child in their faith journey. Although parents do not need to be baptised any godparents must be baptised.


  1. Is there a minimum or maximum number allowed for godparents?


The minimum number of godparents is three, two of the same sex and at least one other of the opposite sex. If there are less than three godparents available a parent can also be a godparent (but in this case must be baptised). There is no official maximum number of godparents allowed, but practicality on the day must be considered. 


  1. Can a child be baptised with a different name than is on the child’s birth certificate?


After a birth has been registered the law allows a mother, father or person with parental responsibility for the child to change the name (within the first 12 months of the birth being registered) either:- 

  • by calling the child by a new name; or
  • by having the child baptised in the new name.

However if the child has been baptised within 12 months of the birth registration, only the baptismal names can be added to the register and not another name of choice.




  1. Can I be married at any time of the day?


A Church of England marriage must take place between 8:00am and 6:00pm. This is a legal requirement. The only exception to this is where a Special Licence has been granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as this can authorise a marriage at any time of day or night. However, a Special Licence will only usually permit a marriage outside of these hours due to medical necessity.


  1. Can I be married somewhere other than a church?


You can be married according to the rites of the Church of England somewhere other than in a parish church, you will however need to obtain a Special Licence from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.


  1. When is it necessary to have a Common Licence*?


Where both parties to a proposed marriage are British citizens, nationals of a member country of the European Economic Area (EEA), or nationals of Switzerland, but:

  • one or both of them is resident outside of England or Wales; or
  • there is insufficient time for Banns to be read (Banns must be read on three Sundays preceding the solemnization of the marriage);

a Common Licence will be needed in order to marry in a Church of England Church or licensed chapel.

(Please note that if you or your partner are neither British citizens, nationals of a member country of the EEA or nationals of Switzerland, you will need to complete civil preliminaries and apply for a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate before you can marry in a Church of England church or licensed chapel).

*A Common Licence is a document that is issued by the Diocesan Registrar on behalf of the Bishop which provides a couple with the necessary permission to marry in a Church of England church or licensed chapel.




  1. Can a grave space be reserved for future use in my parish churchyard?


An application for a faculty will be required in order to reserve a grave space for future (as opposed to immediate) use. The views of the Parochial Church Council and the incumbent will be taken into account when determining an application. A statement should always accompany the faculty application setting out the views of the PCC and the incumbent and also including the opinion of the incumbent as to the likely future capacity of the churchyard. Any faculty that is granted will be expressed to endure for no more than twenty-five years, after which if the grave space has not been used, a fresh application for a faculty to reserve the space again can be made.


  1. Am I entitled to be buried in my parish churchyard? 


Every person who lives in the parish or has their name on the church electoral roll or who dies in the parish has the right to be buried in the parish churchyard. Such right, however, is dependent upon there being sufficient space in the churchyard for burial.


  1. Who has responsibility for the maintenance of monuments and tombstones?

 Individual monuments and tombstones remain the responsibility of those who originally erected them. After their death, this responsibility then passes to the heirs of the person. It is open for anyone to contribute money on trust for the upkeep of the churchyard as a whole, but this does not extend to individual monuments and tombstones. Where a monument or tombstone becomes derelict or dangerous, or where space is required for a new grave, the parish can seek a faculty to remove or re-site the tombstone or monument. Reasonable efforts must however be made to locate the original owner (or their heirs) to provide them adequate opportunity to remove the monument or tombstone.


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