Haycombe Crematorium, Bath

Haycombe Crematorium is the only crematorium within the Bath and North East Somerset area. It is located on the southern edge of Bath (BA2 2RQ), and has large windows overlooking the beautiful Englishcombe valley. It was built in 1961, the first cremation taking place on 2nd April  of that year. The total number of cremations carried out in the first year was 897 - the average today is approximately 1,600 per annum.

Cremation is a very ancient method of disposal of the dead. Everyone knows that the Vikings practiced it and that urns containing cremated remains are regularly found in Roman burial sites in Britain, but were you aware that there are Bronze age sites too? However, cremation seemed to disappear following the rise of Christianity to become non-existent during the Victorian era and only gradually became an option for the general public again in the early 1900s requiring new legislation to do so. Since then it has grown in popularity until approximately 72% of deaths are followed by cremation nationally, with nearer 90% in the local area.

An Open Day is held annually on the second Sunday in June between 12.00 noon and 3.00pm. The Open Day provides an opportunity for anyone to come to the crematorium and see 'behind the scenes'. Staff are on hand to talk through the cremation process. We are always keen to show off our state of the art equipment and explain our procedures and safeguards. A chat with us over a cup of tea or coffee can dispell any lingering false impressions and leave you with a clear, unbiased knowledge of how things are really done, hopefully at a time when you are not suffering the emotional distress of bereavement.  

 

  • Bereavement Services staff are committed to providing a service free of discrimination.

     

The funeral

Your Funeral Director will arrange the time when the funeral will take place for you – unless you wish to arrange the funeral yourself.  Your Funeral Director will only take instructions from you if you are the next of kin (or acting on his/her behalf with very good reason) or the executor of the will of the deceased. He/she will ask you to complete and sign the Application form 1. Form 1 is a statutory form so that answers to questions are the equivalent of answering questions in a court of law - so please check your answers thoroughly.

You will also be asked to sign against you choice for the disposal of the cremated remains on the back of the preliminary form. Your Funeral Director cannot do this for you - it must be the applicant's signature - and if you change your mind subsequently we must have your new instruction in writing. Again you should read the information on the Application for the disposal of cremated remains carefully - it includes information on environmental issues affecting cremation.

Your Funeral Director will then collect all the other papers necessary to ensure that the medical referee can allow the cremation to go ahead.  He/she will  explain the things we need to know to ensure that the funeral runs smoothly and will inform us via a preliminary application form, but it may be useful for you to know that:

  • Times in the crematorium chapel are allocated at three quarterly time slots except the first two of the day that are half hourly. Even if there is no service following yours, there may be workmen waiting to access the chapel for repairs and maintenance, so please do not exceed your allotted slot.
  • This length of service means that a maximum of two hymns can be accommodated within a ‘normal’ type of service.
  • Should you require longer, a half hour slot is available in the Top Chapel or double time can be booked for an extra charge Monday to Friday. 
  • You do not have to have a conventional service or even a service at all. If you wish to do something different, but do not have definite ideas of your own, advice or information on Humanist or civil services is available from the office.
  • If you wish to view the chapel(s) in advance, please ring to find out when it will be convenient for you to do so.

 

What will happen at the funeral?

A Crematorium Attendant will be present to guide the coffin into the chapel and help in any way he/she can. He/she will also guide you towards the exit doors at the end of the service and operate the lift if required.

  • The coffin is usually brought into the chapel followed by the mourners in procession.
  • Whilst it is being placed on the catafalque (stand where the coffin rests during the service; it also houses the lift to the crematory) the mourners take their seats and the service begins.
  • The committal usually takes place about 15 minutes into the service, but may take place earlier. Usually, the curtains are drawn at the committal, but can be left open on request.
  • Following the service the mourners leave the chapel via the exit door and may inspect the floral tributes on their way through the courtyard to the car park.

Should you use the Top Chapel for the service, or to gain additional time, the Cemeteries Supervisor will carry out similar duties to those carried out by the Crematorium Attendant.

Please encourage your mourners not to linger at the bottom of the lift/steps leading from the crematorium as the sound travels back into the chapel, disturbing any following service.  

 

The chapel

Haycombe crematorium chapel seats 75 people, but the burial (or Top) chapel seats 140, with much more standing room. Use of the burial chapel is available for a half hour service free of charge, in addtion to the crematorium slot. This is to encourage its use for larger funerals or where a longer service time is required.

Haycombe provides a service to people of all faiths and beliefs, and our facilities are designed to be accessible to everyone.

  • There is disabled access to both the crematorium and burial (Top) chapels.
  • Both are fitted with loop systems (as is the main office).
  • Both have a wheelchair available on request.
  • There are large print editions of hymn books and service books.
  • Disable toilets and public toilets are adjacent to both chapels.
  • All crosses are removable
 

The cremation

The coffin is lowered into the committal room during, or after, the funeral service, where the nameplate is checked to ensure that the name corresponds with the information given on the instructions for cremation. A card has already been prepared with the identity and all relevant instructions. This is placed on the coffin and will accompany the deceased through the cremation process i.e. it will be placed in a slot beside the cremator during cremation and will remain with the remains after that .

  • Two members of any family may witness a cremation being carried out, provided arrangements are made with crematorium staff  in advance (via the main office). More may be accommodated on request.
  • In addition, anyone wishing to view the crematorium is welcome at any time - please ask at the main office so an apppointment can be made.
  • Each cremation is carried out individually - our cremators are not big enough to take more than one coffin - and a namecard is stored beside each process to ensure that the remains you receive are definitely those of your loved one.
  • Every coffin is cremated with the body - our operators do not touch the coffins other than to load them onto a trolley, from where they are charged into the cremator. Please note that Haycombe Crematorium subscribes to a 'not for profit' re-cycling scheme for all metals recovered from the cremation process. Details are printed on the back of the Application form signed by the applicant for cremation. Applicants may opt to retain the metals but they must take them away and they cannot be returned afterwards.
  • All cremations will be carried out as soon as possible after the funeral service in accordance with the Code of Cremation Practice. (If the cremation is not carried out on the day of the funeral for operational or environmental reasons, the coffin will be held in secure accommodation overnight. Most cremations take approximately one and a half hours (average time) so you will see that it is very rarely that the coffin is cremated immediately after the service, it will be placed in a holding area to take its turn when a cremator becomes available.
  • Cremated remains are placed into a bio-degradable plastic bag inside a bio-degradable box for collection by Funeral Directors if required. Each box is clearly labelled to identify the cremated remains. 
  • When cremated remains are to go in a shrubbery (scattered) they are kept in individual bags with their label until the middle of the following month before being buried communally.
  • An Open Day is held annually when staff will talk you through the whole process, whilst the cremators are not working. We hope that you will see that we carry out every cremation in an open, honest and dignified way.
 

After the funeral

Floral tributes

  • We regret that we can only keep floral tributes for 48 hours following a funeral.
  • At the end of each day the tributes are removed from the courtyard to the fenced area opposite, adjacent to the car park.
  • Please arrange with your Funeral Director to remove cards if you wish to do so and/or remove the tributes to a grave or shrubbery elsewhere in the cemetery.

Please consider asking your florist to use recyclable materials when constructing your floral tribute. Recyclable oasis is available; as are basic wreath shapes produced from egg box cardboard, which again can be shredded and composted. 

Disposal of remains

There are a number of options for disposal of remains. There is no need to make an immediate decision. Remains will be held at Haycombe for a month free of charge, or your Funeral Director will hold them until you are ready to make a decision, or you may choose to keep them yourself (sometimes people do this so that they can have their cremated remains interred at the same time as someone else). Remember that the cremated remains will only be released to the applicant for cremation; anyone else including the Funeral Director must have the written permission of the applicant. This permssion will have been given by the applicant's signature on the reverse of the preliminary form (see above) prior to the cremation but can be given by letter at a later date. Any change of mind on the part of the applicant requires either a new signature against another option on the reverse of a preliminary form or a signed letter to that effect.  

Consider whether you would prefer  

  • Individual plots - details of Gardens will be sent to you after the funeral, unless you have indicated on the application form that you do not wish to receive them.
  • The shrubberies are our equivalent of ‘scattering’, although we inter the remains, they are buried communally. In time the combined action of weather and natural soil disturbance moves the remains and scatters them throughout the soil - truly 'ashes to ashes, dust to dust'.
  • If you have other family or friends already interred in a shrubbery, we can inter in the older shrubberies.
  • The remains to go in a family grave for which you own the Right of Interment (or can get written permission from the owner).
  • Right of interment in a half grave space where up to six caskets can be buried are available - the same rules and regulations apply as for a full burial.
  • Burial under a tree either in Haycombe Cemetery or other special woodland sites – call the office for more information.
 

How to contact us - Main Office

Staff can be contacted during office hours -  the Office is open between 8.30am and 4.30pm from Monday to Friday, with the exception of 12.30pm until 1.30pm every Wednesday when it is closed for staff training.

If you wish to speak to a particular member of staff, you should make an appointment to ensure that they are available.

Contact can also be made via the email address or telephone number given on the left of this and associated web pages.

The cemetery gates are open from 8.00am until 8.00pm from 1st April until 30th September and from 8.00am until 4.30pm from 1st October until 31st March. It is open every day of the year including week-ends and all Bank Holidays.

The Books of Remembrance are opened and closed at the same times as the main cemetery gates.

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