Civic burial

A civic burial takes place in a civic cemetery. Civic cemeteries in the Sunderland area include Bishopwearmouth (largest), Sunderland, Southwick, Castletown, Mere Knolls (Seaburn), Ryhope, Houghton le Spring, Hetton le Hole and Washington.

Churchyard burial

A churchyard burial takes place in a churchyard and is at the sole discretion of the individual churchyard. St Matthews in Silksworth (Sunderland) is one of the few local churches where it is still possible to be buried.

Woodland burial

Woodland burials are more commonly known as ‘Green Burials’ and can only take place in approved locations. There are two locations in the North East: Seaham and Hexham.

The deceased is buried in a biodegradable coffin, usually made of willow or bamboo. A tree is planted in lieu of a headstone. When the tree reaches a certain size it is possible to have a small plaque attached.


Bradburys Funeral Directors can help you to choose hymns and music.

Ground purchase

Ground purchase is compulsory for all churchyard and woodland burials. It is an option for civic burials.

There are three depth options for ground purchase in civic cemeteries and churchyards: five foot, seven foot and nine foot depth, to accommodate one, two or three people. The seven foot depth is usually selected for couples, and the nine foot depth for couples with an unmarried child.

Coffin contents

The rules regarding items that can and cannot be placed inside a coffin are less strict for burials than for cremations. It is common for relatives to ask to place additional items in the coffin with the deceased. If you need further information please ask.

“On behalf of the family I would like to thank you all very much for the professional and understanding way you conducted my mams funeral , it was greatly appreciated.”

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