The Town Council has recently carried out “Topple Testing” on headstones in Leyburn Cemetery, Wensley Road. This was done by a registered contractor under the regulations governing the maintenance of Burial Grounds.

As a Burial Authority the Council has a duty of care to the public entering its Cemetery as owner occupier of the land concerned, as part of its Legal Requirement to ensure the safety of the headstones it is normal practice to “topple test” headstones periodically and very common for some to become unstable over time.

If headstones are found to be unstable, a notice will be placed on the memorial confirming that it has been assessed as unsafe by the Council providing appropriate contact details. All headstones which were deemed to be dangerous have been laid flat by the contractor. Current legislation allows the Council to make safe an immediately dangerous memorial without notification to the grave owner.

Where a headstone is found to be unsafe the Council will endeavour to contact the grave owner in writing as soon as possible after testing, however many of the original grave owners are buried in the grave on which the headstone stands and often the next of kin do not contact the Council to provide an up to date contact name and address. In these instances it is impossible to provide written notification that the headstone has been found to be unsafe. It is hoped that the notices attached to the headstones that are found to be unsafe will result in the contact details for many graves being updated.

A full list of these is detailed in the Cemetery Condition Report below and a list of headstones which are still standing but require attention will be displayed on the Cemetery Notice board.

Cemetery Condition Report March 2023

The ownership of memorials remains with the family of the deceased, therefore the responsibility for and the costs attached to the repair or re-fixing of an unstable memorial rests with the grave owner or his or her descendants. The Council’s regulations require that the repair or re-fixing of a headstone found to be unsafe will need to be undertaken by a memorial mason currently registered with BRAMM. Only qualified accredited stonemasons are permitted to erect or maintain headstones in order to ensure the safety of visitors to the Cemetery.

If you are concerned about a family headstone, or have been notified that your headstone is unsafe please contact the Town Council on 01969622561.

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