Churchyard

“The churchyard, God’s acre, is one of the most endearing features of the landscape. Together with the church it forms the physical as well as the spiritual centre of the community. It is the most sacred and usually the most ancient enclosure in the parish.”

John Talbot White

St Thomas à Becket’s churchyard is a spiritual and sacred space. We ask all who visit our churchyard honour it and those who are buried here.

This churchyard is closed as there is no longer space for new burial, with the exception of where a grave space has already been reserved. Additionally the Garden of Remembrance is also closed, although it is still possible to have ashes interred in the churchyard, at the discretion of the incumbent, although these cannot be marked with a stone or memorial. A plan of the churchyard is kept showing the position of graves and where the internment of ashes is also shown.

The churchyard is a very special place with gravestones dating from 1700, and we do our best to maintain it to as high a standard as possible, given that we have limited resources and a largely volunteer workforce.

There are regulations governing what is and what is not allowed and these differ from those governing a municipal burial ground:

  • Bulbs and small annual plants may be placed in the soil of any grave.
  • Plants or cut flowers may be placed in removable sunken containers in the soil of any grave. Glass containers are not permitted.
  • Wreaths and cut flowers placed on graves, and plants and flowers in containers, will be removed, when withered, by those authorised to do so by the incumbent.
  • No artificial flowers or foliage may be placed on or about the graves (except for Remembrance Day poppies) and, if so placed will be removed and disposed of.
  • Mementoes, windmills, toys, wind chimes, small statues, solar lights etc. are not permitted, and will be removed and disposed of.
  • The introduction of garden seats, with memorial plaques, or similar, needs to be discussed with the incumbent, as permission needs to be obtained from him and the Archdeacon.
  • We will continue to do our best to care for God’s acre and to maintain it as a quiet resting place for your loved ones.

If you have any concerns or questions they should be addressed to the incumbent, Reverend Mark Eminson, or to one of the Churchwardens.

Churchyard Information and Downloadable Documents

The Churchyard was closed on 26th June 1997, although the internment of ashes has been allowed since this time, although memorial stones, markers etc. are not permitted. Between 1997 and 2001 these internments were not marked on the plan. Since 2001 they are plotted on the plan with the initials of the individual together with the year of internment.

Key to References

OLD GROUND                Prefix OG

MIDDLE GROUND           Prefix MG

NEW GROUND                No prefix

CREMATIONS (ASHES)     Prefix CR

Some Verses from Stones in Pagham Churchyard

Stop gentle reader spend a tear
Upon the dust that slumbers here
When you have read this state of me
Think of the glass that runs for thee
Here lies lamented in his silent grave
Tender husband and a parent brave
Pale king of terrors instead destroy
The widow’s hopes and her children’s joy
Alas he’s gone and like a spotless dove
T’increase the number of the blest above.
Since God to take our child thought fit
We’ll be content to part from it
Because we know his heavenly grace
Will fit it for a better place
We hope at last in endless joy
To meet again our lovely boy
Death without warning struck a blow
Which laid her body in the dust
Her soul hath left this vale of woe
And now is happy with the just
In life tho he belaboured to improve
In trade, in virtue, in social love
His heart was good, religiously inclined
His temper sweet, benevolent and kind
His manner open, generous and free
He was a man such as man should be.
Affliction sore long time I bore
Physicians were in vain
Till death did ease and God did please
To ease me of my pain