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Interment of ashes

Over the last few years, cremation has increased in popularity, surpassing burial as the most popular choice of funeral in the UK. The rise in cremation funerals can be attributed to lower associated costs, relative ease for family members and a strong aversion to being buried.

But cremation often leaves loved ones with the posing question of; what can be done with the ashes? Whilst scattering ashes is an option that works for many families, not having a permanent landmark - such as a grave, can leave some people feeling like they don’t have the option to ‘visit’ the person they have lost. The scattering of ashes is also forbidden in some religions.

This is where the interment of ashes can be a viable alternative. From burying ashes in a plot to choosing a niche in a columbarium, read more to find the most suitable option for you. 


What is the interment of ashes?

The interment of ashes refers simply to the burial of ashes in a permanent place. You can inter ashes in several ways, including in a cemetery, a natural burial ground or a columbarium. 

Prior to the interment of ashes, you will need to arrange a cremation for your loved one. Following a cremation, the funeral provider will return your loved one’s cremation ashes (in some cases, there may be a fee for the return of ashes), in a simple container or urn.

If you choose to bury the ashes of your loved one following their cremation, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Authority for Burial, which you can get from your local Register Office. 


Options for the interment of ashes

There are several places you can choose to inter ashes of a loved one.


Cemetery or churchyard

In order to inter ashes at a cemetery or churchyard, you’ll be required to sign a burial plot application form, typically issued by your local council or cemetery.

You can bury the ashes in a family burial plot, should you already have one. If your family does not have an existing plot, you will need to purchase an ‘exclusive right of burial’. Many cemeteries and churchyards have space set aside for the interment of ashes, and small headstones may be permitted.


Natural burial ground

Many natural burial grounds and woodland burial sites across the UK offer plots for interment of ashes.


Private land

The interment of ashes on private land is legal if you have the landowner’s permission. Burying your loved one’s ashes in your garden can be very personal, but it is important to be aware that if you sell your home one day, the new owner does not have to allow you to visit the spot where you buried the ashes. 



A columbarium is a wall, room or building used to store urns holding the ashes of people who have died and been cremated. It is essentially an above-ground interment option.

You might choose a columbarium due to your religion. Columbarium’s can be found in some cemeteries and crematoria throughout the UK.


In order for the ashes to be interred, there may be requirements for the type of urn that should be used. For example, if you choose a natural burial ground, you may need to purchase a biodegradable urn.


Can anyone's ashes be interred?

Interment is an option for pretty much anyone, but for some faiths and people’s last wishes it’s a way to ensure that there is a lasting memorial for their loved one, without the need for a traditional burial. The interment of ashes can allow a family to take advantage of the benefits that a cremation can offer, whilst honouring religious traditions.

Burying ashes is also ideal for those who want the sense of tradition that comes with having a plot in a graveyard or somewhere where the whole family can gather on special anniversaries or occasions.

Whilst the Catholic religion now recognises there are many advantages of cremation over burial, they still prohibit the scattering of ashes. They believe that the ashes should be kept in a ‘sacred place’ such a burial plot or columbarium, and not kept at home.


How much does interment of ashes cost?

How much it will cost to inter ashes largely depends on the cost of the burial plot, which can vary significantly across the UK. However, the cost of a plot for ashes will usually cost far less than a traditional grave. For this reason, it may be more cost-effective to inter your loved one’s ashes, than hold a traditional burial.

If you are burying ashes in an existing family grave, there will still be costs as you will need to pay a fee for opening the grave and the burial of their ashes. There may also be costs for grave maintenance, or if you would like a headstone.

If you are looking to save on funeral costs, a cremation followed by the interment of your loved one’ ashes could save you a considerable amount of money, compared to the cost of a traditional funeral which often costs thousands of pounds.


Interment of ashes after a direct cremation

Unlike a traditional burial, there is no time limit for when to bury someone’s ashes. For this reason, a direct cremation followed by the interment of ashes, instead of a traditional burial or cremation, works for many families.

A traditional funeral often takes place within a few weeks of someone’s death, meaning some friends and family members may be unable to attend due to work commitments or the travel required at short notice.

Direct cremation is a simple and dignified alternative to a traditional funeral. A cremation takes place without a service or ceremony beforehand and without any mourner’s present. Direct cremation is one of the most affordable funeral options in the UK. Learn more about our direct cremation service, available from just £995. 

Following a direct cremation, you could hold an interment of ashes service, at a time that is more convenient to you and your family.


Interment of ashes service

It is common to hold a service to accompany the interment of ashes, although this is a personal preference and not a requirement. Just like a traditional funeral service, an interment of ashes service can help bring closure and offers friends and family a final moment to say goodbye to their loved one.

An interment of ashes service may be led by a religious leader, celebrant or a family member or friend, and may include prayers, readings and poems. You may also like to ask a close friend or family member to prepare a eulogy, in honour of your loved one. As part of an interment of ashes service, ashes are usually sealed inside an urn before being lowered into the ground.


Arranging a funeral with Simplicity

If you would like your loved one’s ashes to be interred, you will need to arrange a cremation beforehand. Whether you are looking for a simple direct cremation, a small funeral for just a few family members and friends to attend, or a larger, attended funeral, we can help. Our funerals start from £995, and available throughout mainland Great Britain.

Contact us today for more information on our low cost funeral services.​

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