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Many people approach a funeral director immediately after a death occurs to arrange a burial. The funeral director will ensure we receive the necessary forms and help you with the funeral arrangements.

Our short guide below explains some of the choices available to you.

Arranging a burial or cremation (PDF) [591KB] (opens new window)

Burials are available at the following cemeteries:

  • Weston Mill Cemetery
  • Efford Cemetery
  • Longcause Cemetery
  • Ridge Cross Cemetery

Apply for a burial

Applications for a burial (interment) must be received by:

  • New graves - ten clear working days before the burial date
  • Re-open graves - four clear working days before the burial date

Apply for a burial (PDF) [74KB]

Consent for a burial in a new grave (PDF) [73KB]

Consent for a burial in a reopened grave (PDF) [73KB]

Buying or reserving a grave

Graves are no longer sold as freehold but can be leased for 25, 50 or 100 years. Leases can be bought in advance.

When you buy a lease Plymouth City Council still own the land and the responsibility for its management remains with us but as deed holder/owner you have the exclusive right of burial in that grave. You will also need to give permission for someone else to be buried in the grave or to place a memorial.

When a deed expires, a renewal letter will be sent to the last known address of the person named on the deed. If the deed owner dies, deeds can be transferred subject to a formal transfer process. This will avoid difficulties if the grave has to be re-opened. An inscription can be added to the existing memorial but a new headstone would require a formal deed transfer. The following forms need to be completed together:

Declaration re missing deed of grant or transfer of burial right (PDF) [63KB]

Deed of indemnity (PDF) [59KB]

You'll need to inform us of any change of address or circumstances in writing so that we can amend our records.


We recommend waiting at least six months after a burial (to allow the ground to settle) before placing a memorial.

Once a memorial is in place the deed holder/owner is responsible for the  and keeping it in good repair.

For memorial approval please email or call 01752 307770 for Efford and Weston Mill cemeteries.

Tracing a family grave

We have details of all burials within our cemetery grounds.

To trace a family grave please email, call 01752 307770 for Efford and Weston Mill cemeteries or complete the grave search form below (there may be a charge for this).

Search for a grave (PDF) [72KB]

Apply for an exhumation license 

Exhumation is the removal from the ground of the remains of a human being, either in the form of a body or cremated remains. You need to apply for a licence to remove human remains from the ground. The exhumation can't proceed if the conditions of the licence aren't met or there are public health or decency concerns.

Apply for an exhumation license

A coroner can decide to exhume a body for:

  • an inquest or inquiring into the death
  • criminal proceedings for that death or a connected death

A body or cremated remains may also need to be exhumed:

  • to move from an original grave to a new family plot
  • to bring or send back from another country to be buried with family members
  • to transfer from one cemetery scheduled for development to another

An environmental health officer must be present at the exhumation to make sure that:

  • the correct grave is opened
  • the exhumation starts early in the morning to ensure maximum privacy
  • the plot is screened for privacy
  • the health and safety of all workers
  • everyone present shows due respect to the deceased person and adjoining graves
  • the name plate on the casket corresponds to that on the licence
  • the new casket is approved
  • all human remains and all the pieces of casket are placed in the new casket
  • the new casket is properly sealed
  • the area of exhumation is disinfected
  • arrangements are in place as to what is going to happen to the body or remains