Closed churchyards

We are currently responsible for three closed churchyards:

  1. St Mary the Virgin in Great Shelford
  2. All Saints in Horseheath
  3. St Mays and All Saints in Willingham


A churchyard can become closed under one of the following circumstances:

  • it is full and there is no space for any new burial plots
  • the continued use of the churchyard for burials may constitute either a risk to safety or be contrary to decency
  • if not allowing any further burials to take place may prevent or mitigate nuisance.

Currently the churchyards do not have individual management plans, but we are responsible for the maintenance of the grass, trees, boundary walls, memorials and footpaths. Each churchyard is managed for safety but respecting individual character, use and wildlife.

To raise an issue or for more information on the maintenance that we are responsible for, please either call us on 03450 450 500 or email

For information on other matters relating to individual churches or churches in general you will need to contact the church or the Diocese of Ely directly.


Memorials in need of repair

In a closed churchyard, the primary responsibility for the maintenance and safety of a memorial or monument remains with the owner of the monument or his/her heirs at law. However, if the owner does not fulfil this responsibility (or cannot practically be traced due to the age of the memorial), a secondary responsibility falls to the Council. South Cambs has a responsibility to ensure closed churchyards under its control are as safe as possible for visitors. As part of a rolling programme of inspection, the stability of memorials is assessed by qualified inspectors.

If a memorial fails the safety test it may need to be laid down. This will be done in a respectful manner and a sign, asking the grave owner to contact South Cambs Council, will be attached to the memorial. Please do not attempt to touch or tamper with any dangerous memorial, or warning sign in a closed churchyard.

Currently, the following memorials are considered in need of repair. If you have the primary responsibility for the maintenance of a memorial listed, please do not worry, but do get in touch by calling 03450 450 500 or emailing A memorial location number, name of earliest burial and works required are given. Memorials whose names are illegible are more than 100 years old, we can supply a location plan on request. 

St Mary the Virgin, Great Shelford

  • 47 Name illegible (re-setting)
  • 39 Name illegible (re-setting)
  • 207 John Landwright (re-setting)
  • 208 William Wright (re-setting)
  • 248 Name illegible (re-setting)
  • 268 Land Nichols (re-setting)
  • 270 Name illegible (re-setting)

All Saints', Horseheath

  • 11 Rebbecca Webb (shore up the underground vault)
  • 16 John Douglas Webb (re-setting)
  • 31 Christopher Dockerill (headstone re-attachment)
  • 49 Unknown (re-setting)
  • 50 Name illegible (re-setting)
  • 62 Nellie Clarke (headstone re-attachment)
  • 68 Oliver G Tabram (headstone re-attachment)
  • 70 Henrietta Blanche Kirk (headstone re-attachment)
  • 71 Major Frederick Reader (re-setting)
  • 86 William Hammond (re-setting)
  • 104 Charles Simkin (re-setting)
  • 105 Frederick Henry Ashfield (re-setting)
  • 107 Charles Pearson (re-setting)
  • 108 Emily Needle (re-setting)
  • 110 Ethel laura Mizon (re-setting)
  • 133 Helen Lucy Stanlake (re-setting)
  • 150 Evelyn Madelene Mizon (re-setting)
  • 159 Eli Gillson (re-setting)
  • 160 Charles Samuel Roope (re-setting)
  • 164 Thomas Dockerill (headstone re-attachment)
  • 175 Reginald G Murrell (reconstruction)
  • 179 Elizabeth Mary Pitman (headstone re-attachment)
  • 184 Name illegible (re-attachment to base)
  • 192 Christopher Parsons (re-attachment to base)

St Marys and All Saints', Willingham

  • 12 William Ingil (re-attachment to base)
  • 42 Name illegible (re-setting)
  • 64 Charlotte Blinkhorn (re-setting)
  • 74 John Norris (re-setting)

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