Exhumations can be used for all human remains including cremated remains.

If you need to find out more about exhuming a body or cremated remains from a council cemetery or crematorium, contact Bereavement Services.


A ‘Bishop’s Faculty’ application is needed for an exhumation to take place on consecrated ground. There is a fee for this. Applications can be obtained from the Church of England Diocese for the area where the deceased is buried.

Non-consecrated ground

A Ministry of Justice application is needed for exhumations on non-consecrated ground.

There is no guarantee that an exhumation will be approved.

Get an exhumation licence

An exhumation cannot take place without a licence. You do not have to pay for a licence, but you may have to pay for the exhumation.

The next of kin and the grave owner will both need to give their permission for an exhumation to take place.

Apply to exhume human remains

Page last updated: 6 March 2023

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