Monuments and headstones can only be erected with the authority of the lair holder.  The maximum dimensions permitted are restricted for both health and safety and planning reasons.  Work to erect a monument can only be undertaken by a registered Monumental Mason and must comply with Stirling Council's Registration Scheme for Monumental Masons.  The dimensions permitted are:

Family Graves

The maximum dimensions of a monument placed on a full coffin or cremated remains lair should be:

Height 5ft (1524 mm)
Width 3ft   (914 mm)
Depth 1ft  (305 mm)

Smaller lair markers for stillborn and non-viable foetus lairs can include inscribed flower vases or small grave plaque. These should measure a maximum of:

Height 1ft6in (457mm)
Width 1ft6in   (457 mm)
Depth 1ft        (305mm)

Responsibility for the maintenance of the monument or headstone

The lair holder is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of any monument or headstone erected upon a lair for the lifetime of that memorial.  If the lair holder dies, the person taking on the lair will also inherit this responsibility.

Headstones can be insured for maintenance purposes and against vandalism, and the costs associated with this are very reasonable.  Your local Monumental Mason should be able to provide you with more details about this.  You can also get details from the Cemeteries Office or by contacting the National Association Of Monumental Masons (NAMM).

Inspecting/Testing of Memorials


There have been several recorded accidents involving members of the public in cemeteries across Britain, some fatal.

As the Burial Authority for cemeteries within the Stirling Council area we have a responsibility to our operatives/staff and members of the public to ensure, where possible that our churchyards and cemeteries are a safe environment for working in or visiting and meet Health & Safety Standards.

Unstable memorials can pose a danger to our staff, members of the public who wish to visit friends and relatives buried in our cemeteries and those who attend interments.

We understand that testing and making safe memorials may cause upset to bereaved families but our priority has to be the safety of those visiting cemeteries.

Burial Authorities are required to control the risks associated with cemeteries for which they are responsible.  However whilst Burial Authorities have overall responsibility for the safety of the cemetery, including risks from unstable memorials they do not own the memorials.  The owners of memorials will be the registered holder of the 'Exclusive Right of Burial' - normally the family of the deceased.

Your Questions 

Are there any restrictions on memorial inscriptions?

Yes. All inscriptions must be authorised in advance by the Council. The Council has a duty to ensure inscriptions are not offensive and to maintain standards of decency within the cemetery.

Can a memorial be made of any material?

No, the materials that a memorial is made from is limited, however the Council endeavours to allow some freedom of choice in the materials used for the construction of memorials.  All memorials must be authorised in advance by the Council and some restrictions may apply where materials used are considered to be a safety hazard.  

Do all graves have to have a headstone or memorial?

There is no requirement for a headstone or memorial to be erected. This is a matter of choice for the family or executors.

What guidelines are there for erecting a memorial or headstone on a grave?

The Council allows a certain freedom of expression in the size and styles of memorial on a grave.  However, all memorials and inscriptions must be authorised in advance by the Council.

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