Cremation is a very popular way to deal with the bodies of the deceased in the UK, and is permitted by the Church of England as an appropriate method for doing so. The process creates ashes, which then need to be scattered, interred, or otherwise disposed of. What options for disposal of ashes are appropriate according to the canon law and practices of the Church of England?

1 Answer 1


A brief Google search turns up this page as the first hit:

So far as the Church of England is concerned, the matter is governed by Canon B 38.4(b) which provides as follows – The ashes of a cremated body should be reverently disposed of by a minister in a churchyard or other burial ground in … or on an area of land designated by the bishop for the purpose … or at sea. The ordinary position therefore is that ashes are to be buried. They may only be scattered if the bishop has designated land for the purpose of the disposal of cremated remains on that land.

I am fairly sure that this is not strictly policed by the CofE, and if you decide to scatter them somewhere else nobody is going to come after you.

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    +1 Very good summary - I googled the Canon law cited and ecclesiasticallaw.wordpress.com/tag/canon-b38 agrees Commented Jul 7, 2023 at 12:48
  • It's not strict CoE policy in practice because the bereaved can take the ashes home and scatter them on their own property, the sea, or a river (rivers are not really for Christians though). Basically the CoE regulations are CoE property designated for purpose. Always consider upvoting BTW.
    – M__
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 2:09

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