Devon family upset after book-design gravestone rejected

Posted by AK Lander | On March 2, 2015 09:03

A family from the Devon village of Rackenford have had their request of a book-shaped gravestone refused, resulting in huge distress and anguish for the family.

The disagreement involves the Jakeman family, who have been attempting to have a gravestone erected for the grave of their mother and father who were buried at Rackenford back in January 2013.

With their mother Patricia working as a writer before her passing, the family felt that a book-shaped memorial would be the perfect way to commemorate both her and her husband Mark.

However, it became a serious issue when the family received a letter from Steve Goodbody, the local reverend, which said that grave memorials in the shape of a heart or a book are not permitted. After the proposal was rejected by the Rackenford’s Parish Church Committee in October last year due to the shape, the family had no choice but to take their appeal to the Diocese of Exeter, the governing body of the church, which will cost £200.

Family upset at the length of time this has taken

It’s an issue that is proving understandably upsetting for the family, with their son and three daughters all finding it hard to believe that it has taken so long for the grave to be erected.

Their son Shane, 44, said: “I’m really frustrated. Something so simple should not take so long.

“We’re not asking for a multi-coloured pillar. It’s just a small, unassuming stone which you could walk past without even noticing.”

On the incident, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Exeter said that families who wish to put up a headstone that contravenes the regulations have to apply for permission. They added that the reason for this is to preserve the churchyard and that anything added will be of good design and fit with the surroundings.

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