FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

NEW HEADSTONE QUESTIONS

Q. I have never bought a headstone before where do I begin?

A. Most families will only ever buy a headstone once or twice in a lifetime. We understand how difficult this process can be and are here to help you through it. We will talk you through the whole process whether your loved one has been buried or cremated, explaining the options and choices available to you and the processes involved including timescales . We will also deal with the cemeteries on your behalf, so once you decide on how you want to mark the grave of a loved one we take care of everything. We understand that when choosing a memorial a family is grieving and our aim is to be part of that so that the finished headstone is a true reflection of your loved one.

Q. How soon after a death can I order the headstone?

A. Most families will wait until after the funeral to start thinking about a headstone. However there are some who will contact us beforehand as often this is the only time that all family members are together, so it is felt that this is a good time for everyone to be involved.

Q. How soon can I have my Memorial fitted after a burial/Cremation?

A. Our personal recommendation is not to erect a headstone until at least six months after the burial as this allows the ground to settle, thus avoiding the possibility of the stone leaning. The six month rule does not apply to cremation memorials or vases, which can be fixed as soon as the grave is purchased. Some burial grounds have a concrete plinth placed at the back of the grave to allow for immediate installation. We will offer you advice once we have the exact location of the grave.

Q. Can I put up any type of gravestone?

A. Churchyards and cemeteries have rules and regulations about what type of memorials they allow. They will mainly specify natural material marble, slate. stone or granite and they have size regulations. Contact us with the name of the cemetery and we will advise you.

Q. I have seen a Memorial I like but I can’t find it on your website or catalogue can you help me?

A. Yes, we can quote for any headstone in any natural material marble, granite, slate or stone from either a photograph or drawing.

Q. I would like a individual bespoke design Memorial?

A. This is not a problem we are always delighted to offer advice to our customers and work with them on their ideas.

Q. I want to design a memorial?

A. We welcome your thoughts and own designs. Through the information you share with us, we can draw the design to scale to see how it will look, if it is viable and if so how we can make it work. Bespoke designs are welcomed by us.

Q. Can you explain what a Grave Owner is?

A. A Grave Owner is the person who owns the deeds for the plot. In most cases it is the person who arranged the burial with the Local Authority. If you are in doubt as to who the owner is we can check these details for you.

Q. Can I purchase a Memorial if I am not the Grave Owner?

A. Yes you can, providing the Grave Owner has no objections and is willing to give permission by signing the relevant paperwork.

Q. Do I have to get the permission for a Memorial?

A. The proposed memorial will be submitted to the relevant Local Authority or vicar for approval before work goes ahead and we do this on your behalf. The payment for the application fee is then paid to us with your memorial payment. We do not charge any extra for this service and no fee is payable if the application is rejected. However, given our working relationships with the cemeteries and knowledge of what they allow, it is very unusual for any application not to be approved.

Q. Are there additional cemetery or Local Authority costs in marking a grave?

A. If you wish to mark a grave with a memorial stone or tablet then some cemeteries will charge a fee, but there are others which will include this fee when you purchase a new grave. Each cemetery/churchyard work differently and have their own charges. Please contact us regarding where you wish the headstone to be located and we will be able to confirm what charges if any apply.

Q. What are cemetery/churchyard fees for?

A. The Local Authority or clergy for churchyards may charge a fee for the right to erect a memorial. This fee covers administration costs and cemetery/churchyard upkeep etc. We will advise you what fees are payable and can add them to the cost of the memorial.

Q. How much are the cemetery/churchyard fees?

A. Cemetery fees vary from council to council. We can give you this information or you can ring the council in charge of the cemetery to find out. Fee charges vary dependant on the type of memorial, whether it be a new headstone, a monument, a replacement or renovation.

Q. How are headstones fixed?

A. All headstones we fix are to a national standard with stainless steel dowels and a stainless steel anchor system. We are members of BRAMM which is the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons so customers can rest assured the work will be of excellent quality.

Q. Do you fix the memorial?

A. Yes. All prices quoted will include the fixing of the memorial in the cemetery/churchyard to the specification of BRAMM, of which we are an accredited member.

Q. Who will install the gravestone?

A. All gravestones are erected by our team of experienced of fixers who work to the National standard, while our membership of BRAMM, the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons, gives our customers total peace of mind.

Q. What is a NAMM approved anchor system?

A. A NAMM approved anchor system is a safety device that is secured into the ground and the headstone to prevent it from falling.

Q. I don’t know what to have written on the memorial?

A. The choice of wording on the memorial is the most personal thing of all and careful thought should be given to this. A selection of texts and phrases can be seen on our website. It is a requirement for local authorities that a mason’s name goes on the memorial. We discretely engrave it on headstones, our mark being SARSFIELD.

Q. What lettering can I have on a gravestone?

A.  Depending on your choice of material you have many options. Remember when you read a memorial the lettering needs to be clear and visible, the name needs to be in the largest letters as this is who the gravestone is for. Marble gravestones are supplied with cut and leaded letters which is the traditional finish for them. Granite gravestones tend to be cut or sandblasted letters and finished in gold leaf or silver enamel. Slate gravestones either have the lettering cut and left, white enamelled, or gilded with gold leaf. Stone memorials have the lettering cut and left or enamelled black. If you prefer we do offer other finishes to lettering, the ones stated are the most traditional. We can advise you of all options available both to the style of lettering and the finish.

Q. What do you write on a gravestone?

A. Most families start an inscription with a prayer or introduction, then you would have the name of the deceased, followed by their date of death and age, or date of birth and date of death. It is important to say who they are to the people they left behind ie: devoted, beloved, loving mum or dad, brother, sister; Please take a look at some of our suggestions http://www.sarsfieldmemorialsliverpool.co.uk/sample-inscriptions/

Q. How is the lettering cut on the memorial?

A. We use many different techniques ranging from the traditional methods of hammer and chisel, to an incisografo machine and sandblasting.

Q. What style and size of lettering is used on a memorial and can we get an idea of how our memorial will look before it is lettered?

A. Our customers receive a layout of how the inscription will look before we letter the memorial. This gives our customers an idea as to how the gravestone will look and allows for any changes before we start work on the stone.

Q. Can I put a photograph on the memorial?

A. We can offer porcelain photo plaques, resin photo plaques and laser etchings. Local Authority cemeteries are happy to allow photographs or portraits of the deceased on the memorial, but not all churchyards do so. You should either check with your local Priest/Vicar or contact us if you are in the North West of England and we will be able to help you.

Q. Can I see how the headstone will look before it is erected?

A. Most of our customers that order a new headstone will receive an A4 layout showing how it will look when finished. However if you require a bespoke handcrafted headstone this may not always be possible, but we will always do our best to show you a layout to scale.

Q. Can I get Insurance for my headstone?

A. We inform all our customers about memorial insurance, which can be bought for new or existing memorials. The Insurance we recommend is through Bridge Insurance Brokers which is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc. We have used this Company for many years and can highly recommend them. Insurance costs from £28.00 for 5 years cover, click on the link and contact us for a quotation http://www.sarsfieldmemorialsliverpool.co.uk/memorial-stone-insurance/

Q. What are headstones made from?

A. All memorials supplied have to be made from natural quarried stone ie:  marble, granite, slate or stone.

Q. Where does marble, granite, slate and stone come from?

A. We source materials from all around the world. Most of our slate comes from Wales or Cumbria, stone from various parts of the United Kingdom, marble from Italy and granite from Scandinavia, South Africa, and India.

Q. What is the difference between marble and granite?

A.  Carrara white marble which is used for headstones and marble statues is quarried in Italy. It is white in colour with grey veining and you will see a lot of memorials in our local cemeteries and churchyards in this material. It is a crystallised stone that is porous so will mellow over the years and become discoloured if not maintained by the family.  If you have an old marble memorial we can professionally clean and restore it to its former glory. Traditionally marble memorials have cut and leaded letters.

Granite is an igneous rock, coming in many colours including black, blue, green, red and grey. It is a very hard material and mainly it is seen in cemeteries with a high gloss polished finish, but it can also come in eggshell. It will remain in good condition for many years and requires little attention. Granite memorials tend to have cut and gilded or silvered letters.

Q. We have cremated remains can we buy a grave?

A. In our local area you can buy a grave that allows for cremated remains only and it can be marked with a memorial just like a full burial grave. Contact us and we can advise you.

Q. Can I buy a memorial in advance?

A. We have families that have reserved a grave in a cemetery and we mark the grave with a headstone with either the family name on it or an introduction or prayer. The names of the deceased can then be added after an internment.

Q. How much does a memorial cost?

A. Memorials vary in price depending on material, size and shape. A lawn memorial starts from £600, while tablet/flatstone prices start at £160. These prices include lettering and fixing.

Q. I would like a border or kerb set around the grave are they allowed?

A. Yes they are allowed in some cemeteries.  Contact us with the cemetery name and we will confirm whether or not they are allowed and what size they can be. All cemeteries have different rules and regulations and may apply fees. Liverpool City Council, for example, allow them and charge a fee.

Q. Our religion is important to us and we would like to include a symbol or prayer, is this allowed?

A. You can include religious symbols, prayers and verses on a gravestone. Speak to us and we will be able to offer you suggestions and advice.

Q. English is not our first language, can you letter a memorial in any language?

A. Yes we can we can letter memorials in most languages including Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, Greek, Romanian, Russian and Japanese. If your language is not listed please contact us and we will advise.

Q. Can you include the name of a family member who is not buried in a grave on a gravestone?

A. Most local authority cemeteries will allow this and will charge a fee, but private cemeteries and churchyards normally do not allow it. If you would like to know whether or not it is allowed in the cemetery of your loved ones please call us.

Q. We don’t live in Liverpool but our family grave is in Liverpool, can you help?

A. We understand that the world is now a small place and many family members do not live local to where their loved ones are buried. This is not a problem with the advances in technology as we are able to correspond with enquiries through email and can take card payments over the phone and payment by bank transfer. This applies to both UK and overseas customers.

EXISTING HEADSTONE QUESTIONS

Q. Our family grave has a headstone on, who removes it for a new internment?

A. If the headstone needs to be removed we can remove and store it for you so it doesn’t get damaged. Contact us with the grave details and we can advise you.

Q. We have a memorial that is lying down on the grave and it needs to be refixed, what do we need to do?

A. Sarsfield Memorials Liverpool will visit the cemetery and inspect the memorial. We will then give you a free no obligation quotation for the headstone to be re-fixed, which must be done using an anchoring system. Please contact us with the grave details.

Q. We have had a recent burial and the headstone has been removed, what do we need to do?

A. If the headstone has been left at the side of the grave we can collect and store it for you free of charge until the ground has settled and we have carried out the additional lettering and any other work you require. Once the ground has settled we will refix the headstone to the current cemetery specifications. We are happy to give you a written quotation for the work prior to the memorial being collected.

Q. Can you add a name to a gravestone?

A. Yes. Our aim is to match the existing style, size and finish of the new name to the original lettering. We can add names and lettering by hand cutting, sandblasting or machine cutting the lettering, and finish them with gold leaf, lead or enamel paint.

Q. I have a memorial that has no space for another name, do I need to buy a new one?

A. It may not be necessary to buy a new headstone, we would inspect the original memorial and discuss with you what options are available. Depending on whether there will be any future internments in the grave, you can then make the right decision in the long term for your family.

Q. When a new inscription is added can you add a design or photograph?

A.  If there is space available, yes.

Q. The gold has worn away on the lettering, can this be re-done?

A. Yes we charge per letter for this work and the work can be carried out in the cemetery, weather permitting.

Q. My memorial is leaning to one side and doesn’t look safe, what do I do?

A. The gravestone will need to be re-fixed, contact us with the grave details and we will provide a free no obligation written quotation for you.

Q. I have a headstone that is really old, can it be refurbished?

A. Contact us with the grave details and we will visit the grave and inspect the headstone. We will offer you a free no obligation quotation and advise on whether or not it can be refurbished to a good standard, which most memorials can be.

Q. How can I clean a marble headstone?

A. If the memorial has discoloured then we would normally recommend that you have it professionally cleaned and then we can offer you advice on maintaining it. For marble gravestones we recommend having them professionally cleaned every 10 to 15 years. Be careful buying products that claim to be suitable for cleaning marble or stone. Because they have chemicals in them, extensive damage can be caused if you do not carefully follow the instructions. We offer free no obligation quotations, so contact us before you attempt to clean a very discoloured headstone as you will be surprised as to how little it costs.

EXTRAS FOR GRAVES

Q. Where can I buy glass chippings?

A. We sell a large range of coloured glass chippings, both in random glass and in polished glass.

Q. Where can I buy flower containers for our memorial?

A. We keep 3”, 4” and 6”metal flower containers in stock with silver, gold or black lids.

Q. I am looking for something to add to a grave at Christmas or for a Birthday?

A. We can offer you lots of suggestions from photo plaques, books, vases, angels, cherubs, doves and statues. We can also lay flowers on the grave or a holly wreath if you are unable to get to the cemetery.