Thornbury Town Council is currently undertaking routine topple testing at Thornbury Cemetery, Kington Lane. This involves inspecting memorial masonry for damage and structural instability. Over time, memorials deteriorate and can become unsafe, with the potential to fall causing injury to staff and visitors, with children being at particular risk. Burial authorities have a legal duty to test headstones and make safe any that fail to meet minimum safety standards. Once a memorial has failed an inspection, it is marked with a notice and the Council office will write to the last known address we have on record for a living owner of the plot. This is to inform them of any immediate action our staff have needed to take, and what duty the grave owner has. It is therefore very important that grave owners keep their details up to date with the Council office and let us know when their details change.
We encourage grave owners to visit their plot periodically and check its condition so that they are aware of any changes. We are happy to assist with queries to help people understand their legal responsibilities for the property they own or have a duty to maintain under their Exclusive Right of Burial. We understand that this is a sensitive topic and seeing a headstone laid down can be distressing, but it is important that we keep people safe. We can be contacted at: email@example.com or 01454 412 103.
Failed memorials requiring restoration must be addressed by a qualified and competent memorial mason working in line with British legislation and permits. Grave owners must not attempt to reinstate or repair themselves any headstone that has been laid down or staked. Grave owners with failed headstones should contact a mason to arrange a repair and make contact with the Council office. Should the Council be required to commission restoration work on behalf of the grave owner, being unable to make contact with them, the grave owner will be liable for this cost and we may seek to reclaim this money.