Moving a relative's remains

Our Bereavement Service occasionally receives requests from people who wish to move the remains of a relative from one grave and place them in another. The process of moving a person's remains from a grave is called an 'exhumation'. For various reasons, exhumations take a long time to arrange and can be expensive.  

Exhumation of a grave can only take place once the Home Office has issued a licence. The licence contains certain conditions that must be observed.

Apply for a exhumation licence

If the grave is within consecrated grounds, eg blessed by the Church of England, permission also has to be obtained from the church beforehand. The representative for the Church of England is the Bishop of Southwark. You can contact the Diocese of Southwark on their website.  

If the exhumation goes ahead, an Environmental Health Officer is required to be present to ensure that there's no risk to public health and all conditions are complied with. 

Page last updated: 27 November 2017