Disinterring cremated remains in Scotland: Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway

The issue of the exhumation and re-interment of cremated remains has recently been considered in Glasgow Sheriff Court.


In Diocese of Glasgow, Application by the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway of The Scottish Episcopal Church [2019] ScotSC GLA 33, Holy Cross Church had been closed in 2017 and the building and land were sold to a business operating a children’s nursery [1]. Adjacent to the church is a memorial garden, which from time to time was used to inter what were described as “cremains”. Said Sheriff Cubie in a footnote to [2]:

“Cremated remains are apparently properly referred to by the portmanteau term ‘cremains’, although I note that the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 which comes into force on 4th April 2019 confines itself to defining ‘ashes’ as the material (other than any metal) to which human remains are reduced by cremation.

There were 107 recorded cremains; and part of the sale agreement was that the Diocese would remove the interred ashes at its own cost and make good all damage by 25 June 2022 [2]. The intention was to create a new memorial garden at St Bride’s Church, Hyndland, and re-inter the cremains there [3]. Continue reading