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.

Monumental Masons Versus Local Authorities

Knowsley council in Merseyside have this week announced that they will be providing memorial packages themselves, something which arguably gives them a cost advantage as they do not have to charge VAT.  They are not the only local authority to do this but before making use of their cheaper service, there are other factors that the customer should consider.

There will almost certainly be much less of a choice when it comes to ordering headstones from a council. This won’t necessarily just apply to the size and design of the memorial, but also the material and lettering styles. Questions are also raised as to whether local councils would add lettering to existing gravestones and if the style and finish will be the same as the original. Also, is the work guaranteed for any length of time and to what standards will the memorial be fixed to the ground?

It is unlikely that local authorities will employ their own masons and in all probability the work will be contracted out. Whereas with a monumental mason you will have dedicated point of contact who has the expertise to guide you through the process, with councils you could find yourself liaising with the grounds person or general administration assistant in the office.

When you deal with a monumental mason you will be given regular progress on the update of the memorial and can see it taking shape in the workshop. The work will be carried out by skilled craftsmen and in Sarsfield’s case to BRAMM standard (British Register of accredited Memorial Masons). We can also offer guarantees and insurance in relation to our work and cut lettering to existing memorials in the original style, whether it be hand cut, machine cut or sandblasted.

Sarsfield has been a family business spanning three generations since the 1940s and if you contact us we can guarantee a bespoke, professional, friendly and caring service. You can have a say in the design of your memorial and will be personally dealt with by Ursula from initial enquiry to installation and aftercare. If you would like to speak to us please contact us here and we will be able to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.


Why Anchoring Your Headstone Is So Important

When purchasing a headstone for your loved one’s grave, one of the most important things to consider is will it be anchored. If the answer is yes, then you can be sure that the gravestone is secure for many years to come.

Sarsfield Memorbramm logo accreditationials is a member of the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons (BRAMM). This was set up in 2004 to establish a national register of accredited masons to replace the local registration schemes which were then in existence.  This is the masons equivalent of the CORGI standard which is applied to gas fitters  Many local authorities are now only allowing masons to fit memorials that have signed up to BRAMM.

Among the aims of BRAMM is to ensure all gravestones are fixed to the BS8415 standard. This specifies minimum lengths of anchor that are needed, dependent on ground conditions.

The anchoring system used by Sarsfield is the Ground Support System C.C.A ® Central Collapsible Support. These anchors are adjustable depending on the thickness of the base of the memorial, they require no adhesive cement and are simple for Masons to remove and re-affix to headstones, should the gravestone have to be removed for future internments.














All of Sarsfield’s masons have the BRAMM fixer licence, so you can be rest assured at the quality of our workmanship. These are issued to fixers once they passed a practical and written test, meaning that installing the headstone to the BS8415 standard is guaranteed. Fixers must re-apply for their licence every five years and be able to show that they continue to meet the standards required. Any headstone supplied by someone with a BRAMM Fixer Licence is certain to be stable and fitted to a uniform standard by somebody with the skills and knowledge of the procedures required to do so.

Sarsfield Memorials will always guarantee that all new headstones anchored by our masons are done so to the BRAMM standards. The same applies to older gravestones that we may restore, as if a memorial is removed from a cemetery it must be anchored to minimum standards on refixing, even if it wasn’t initially fitted to them.

Liverpool City Council is one local authority that does not require masons to be BRAMM accredited. However we are because we choose to fix our memorials to a standard that is recognised throughout the trade and give our customers added security and peace of mind. Please contact us for advice and a free no obligation quote if you are thinking of buying a memorial or wish to bring an older one up to the modern safety standards.