St Helens Cemetery

Situated in Windlehsaw, St Helens cemetery was formally opened in 1858. Local architect Thomas Denville Barry was behind the design of two curved drives creating a heart shape, with paths leading off from them.

The first interment there had actually taken place in a private vault on 20th November the previous year and was that Mary Shanks. She was the wife of James shanks, a proprietor in the Crosfield and Shanks chemical company.

St Helens cemetery chapel

Either side of the entrance in Hard Lane stand two lodges, designed by John Middleton. They were initially built for the keeper of the grounds and resident clergyman.  Barry designed three chapels for the cemetery although only the Church of England one survives. The footprint of the Roman Catholic chapel is still there as well as a memorial stone commemorating it.

Several grand monuments line the sides of the main driveway, including memorials marking the graves of family members of the Pilkington glass manufacturers. There are a number of war related burials in the cemetery, including a Victoria Cross recipient from the Indian Mutiny and several soldiers killed in the first and second world wars.

The cemetery was further extended in 1912 and in the late 1930s. In 1962 a crematorium and chapel of remembrance were opened, as well as  memorial garden. Further expansion occurred in 2010, when the purchase of adjoining farmland ensured there was sufficient capacity until around 2040.

st helens cemetery main path

Grave plots in St Helens cemetery are available for up to three interments and it is also possible to purchase plots solely for the burial of cremated remains. The local authority restricts headstone size to three feet four inches by three feet and all memorials must be erected by BRAMM registered masons. They also do not allow kerbsets, chippings, toys or ornamentation, although a two by three feet garden containing small plants is allowed. Further information can be found here.

Sarsfield Memorials has been placing headstones in St Helens cemetery for sixty years. If you are considering erecting a memorial there, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements, give guidance on their regulations and provide a free no obligation quote.

Churchyard Memorials in the Diocese of Liverpool

Although most burials take place in cemeteries nowadays they are still permitted in churchyards if the deceased lived or died in the parish. There are restrictions however on memorial sizes, types, inscriptions and what can be placed on graves.

The Diocese of Liverpool has issued guidance for clergy and churchwardens on how to follow their regulations, but they do allow a certain amount of discretion depending on the circumstances of individual parishes. Unsurprisingly there are strict rules on who can carry out work in churchyards and all masons must comply with the NAMM (National Association of Memorial Masons) code and British Standard 8415.


It is unlikely that clergy will allow highly polished memorials in a churchyard where most of the surrounding gravestones are old and weathered. As such the material used for churchyard memorials should be sensitive to its surroundings. Headstones must be no more than three feet six inches high and the width depends on how much space there is between graves. The memorial must be a simple vertical design, with curved tops preferred but rectangular shaped headstones are acceptable. It is now common for gravestones in cemeteries to have photographs of the deceased but the Diocese do not encourage these so few vicars will allow them.

There are strict rules on grave surrounds and ornamentation, with safety in churchyards being paramount. Kerbsets, chains and railings are not allowed as they can be a tripping hazard and also impede access to another grave. Gravel chippings can damage grass cutting equipment and are also not permitted. The Diocese also instructs clergy to ensure that all ornamentation such as vases is placed on the memorial plinth to aid with grass cutting.

Churchyards now allow the burial of cremated remains, with the memorial size being restricted to two feet by eighteen inches high if vertical. Alternatively horizontal memorials are allowed, measuring up to 21 inches by 21 inches.

When it comes to inscriptions, a spiritual approach is preferred but reference to the deceased being a relative of named persons is allowed. Overly long inscriptions are not encouraged so as to ensure enough space is left on the headstone for future interments.

On the whole, churchyard regulations are much stricter than in local authority cemeteries but some vicars who are more lenient than others. Generally speaking Often, a new vicar will simply follow a precedent set by those in the role before them but you cannot guarantee this will be the case. Before deciding on a memorial, it is best to speak to the vicar or a mason who can give you guidance on what they will allow. This means you can have an idea of what type of memorial and ornamentation you can place there.

As a monumental mason that has been in existence for over sixty years spanning three generations, Sarsfield Memorials has plenty of experience working in the Diocese of Liverpool with local clergy. We are sensitive to your needs and can take care of all the administration and form filling that is required on your behalf. If you would like to discuss the erection of a memorial in a churchyard, or the repair or replacement of an existing one, please contact us to discuss your requirements and a free no obligation quote.


Thornton Garden of Rest

Thornton Garden of Rest, situated in Lydiate Lane, is one of four cemeteries managed by Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council.

In 1936 the Crosby, Litherland and Waterloo Joint Burial Board purchased fourteen acres of land from the Earl of Sefton to meet the cemetery needs of those communities. There was opposition however from the West Lancashire Rural District Council and Thornton Parish Council. This led to public enquiries and it was not until  October 1938 that the Ministry of Health allowed work to begin.

The opening ceremony took place on 23rd July 1940, with the ground being consecrated by Dr A. A. David, the Bishop of Liverpool. Due to the Second World War, plans for the chapel and cemetery lodge were postponed and it was not until 1963 when one was built, along with a crematorium.

Photo by Rept0n1x

The cemetery contains the remains of forty one servicemen from the Second World War, nearly half of them in Section C which is near the main entrance. One of those buried here is  spitfire pilot John Fraser Drummond, who was just 21 years old when two allied aircraft collided over Sussex during the Battle of Britain. Although he managed to bale out his parachute failed to open and he died after impact. He was only the third internment at Thornton Garden of Rest, being buried on 15th October 1940 in Grave 3 of Section A.

During the war three German and three Italian servicemen were buried here, but they have since been reinterred in their respective national cemeteries in other areas of England.

Perhaps the most famous internment at Thornton Garden of Rest is another war veteran who went on to become a distinguished actor. Bill Dean served with the Royal Air Force in North Africa and Italy and enjoyed an acting career spanning thirty five years. He appeared in Z Cars, Juliet Bravo and Z Cars amongst others but is most famously remembered for playing the grumpy pensioner Harry Cross in Brookside. He died at the age of 78 in 2000.

Thornton Garden of Rest remains open for new internments. Grave plots can be purchased which accommodate up to four burials and six cremated remains. It is also possible to buy smaller plots that are exclusively for the burial of cremated remains.

There are restrictions on the size of headstones at Thornton Garden of Rest but unlike many other cemeteries, kerb sets are allowed. If you would like to erect a memorial at Thornton Garden of Rest  please contact us. Sarsfield Memorials will be happy to discuss your requirements, provide advice on their regulations and provide a free no obligation quote.  

Pet Memorials

Pets are not just animals that live with you, they are one of the family and it can be devastating when they pass away.

There are various options when your cat, dog, or a smaller animal dies. It is common for them to be buried in the garden, but this is not always practical if you live in a flat or terraced house, or the dog is of a larger breed. Vets can arrange cremation, but sometimes thiPet Memorialss is done communally alongside other animals and as such the ashes will not be returned to you. If your vet does ask you if they should arrange cremation, make sure you check that an individual option is available and that you can collect the ashes.

Another option is for you to have your much loved pet buried in a pet cemetery or cremated individually there. Pet cemeteries have been around for longer than you may think; the first in England opened in a corner of Hyde Park in 1881.  If you opt for cremation at a pet cemetery, the ashes can be buried or scattered there or alternatively returned to you.

If your pet or its cremated remains are buried in your garden or a pet cemetery, then you may wish to have a small headstone or other memorial to mark the grave. This can help overcome your grief and provide a fitting tribute to the times you enjoyed together.

Pet Memorials

Although pet memorials are much smaller in size, they are still made from natural sturdy materials. They require minimal maintenance,  can withstand extreme weather conditions and endure the test of time. Whether it be a small headstone, marker or plaque they can be engraved with a personal and lasting tribute message. Ceramic photographs can also be added and on the headstones it is possible to add an etching of your faithful companion.

At Sarsfield Memorials we offer a range of affordable ways to remember your pet. Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.  

Burials in Knowsley

The Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley has two cemeteries, one being at Fox’s Bank Lane in Whiston and the other in Prescot off Manchester Road. Prescot however only accepts burials in existing family graves and anybody wishing to purchase a new plot must do so at Fox’s Bank Lane.

Fox’s Bank Lane, now commonly known as Knowsley cemetery, is relatively new having opened in 1996. Covering an area of twenty acres, it has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag, recognising it as one of the best green spaces in the country. There is currently no chapel, although the Whiston Initiative in Culture Heritage hope to raise funds to build one there using stone and glass saved from the former chapel at Whiston Hospital.knowsley cemeteries

Burial Plots can accommodate up to three coffins and four cremated remains caskets. The cemetery also has plots solely for cremated remains, capable of holding up to six caskets. There are however strict rules governing the size of headstones throughout the cemetery. They must measure no more than three feet three inches by two feet eight inches and must be fixed to the concrete plinths provided by the council, who must also approve proposed inscriptions.

There are a number of churchyards in Knowsley that allow burials although two of the biggest, St Chad’s in Kirkby and Huyton Parish Church, are no longer making new plots available. It is possible though to arrange a burial in existing graves that still have space or make changes to memorials. St Mary’s in Knowsley Village does have a burial ground on the other side of the road where new plots can be bought. It must be remembered though that these churchyards do have their own rules and regulations.

If you would like to discuss placing a headstone at a grave in Knowsley please contact us. At Sarsfield we will be happy to discuss your requirements and show you a selection of memorials that meet the council’s criteria. Knowsley council’s cemetery rules and regulations can be seen here but please do not be daunted by them as we will complete all the paperwork for you.