York Village Pen & Ink

First Parish Cemetery
180 York Street
York, Maine 03909
(207) 363-3647
email info@firstparishcemetery.org

First Parish









The Cemetery Trustees have compiled the following guidelines with respect to Cemetery use. These regulations governing the use of the First Parish Cemetery are further identified in the by-laws and regulations as adopted and periodically amended since August 3, 1971, by the First Parish Cemetery Association.

The guidelines contained herein are designed for the express purpose of governing the activities in the Cemetery for the mutual protection and benefit of lot holders and the Cemetery as a whole. They are established with certain restrictions to ensure a degree of uniformity and control within the Cemetery grounds to achieve the preservation of Cemetery character and those landscape qualities that contribute to a peaceful and reflective place.

The Trustees and staff hope you find this information helpful when visiting the Cemetery. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Cemetery Office.

1. General

Contact Information
First Parish Cemetery
180 York Street
York, Maine 03909
Telephone: (207) 363-3647

Operating Hours

1.1    The Cemetery shall normally be open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours.

1.2    The Cemetery may be closed for burials during the winter months, if conditions warrant, at the discretion of the Trustees.

Cemetery Personnel

1.3    Overall supervision of the Cemetery is vested in the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall have full authority for enforcement of these regulations with respect to any persons coming on the Cemetery grounds.

1.4    Cemetery employees are prohibited from performing any work directly requested of them by anyone other than the Superintendent.  No money shall be offered or paid to Cemetery employees for personal services or as a gesture of gratitude.  All inquiries regarding work performance should be directed to the Superintendent.

2. Visitors / Uses

General Conduct

2.1    All persons within the Cemetery will conduct themselves in a manner in keeping with a hallowed place.  Indecorous behavior will not be tolerated and persons violating reasonable standards of behavior will be subject to removal from the grounds in the absolute discretion of the Superintendent.

2.2    Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult, and must not be allowed to play or climb upon any headstones, monuments, or mausoleums.

2.3    Visitors to the Cemetery who are not members of a funeral procession or party are forbidden to intrude upon a funeral party or to loiter around an open grave.

2.4    Visitors are asked to show respect for the Cemetery grounds by not marking, defacing, or damaging grave markers or landscape features.

2.5    Trash, flowers, containers or any other debris should be placed in disposal containers provided by the Cemetery.

2.6    Pets shall be confined to motor vehicles.

2.7    To preserve the peaceful character of the Cemetery grounds, visitors are asked to refrain from creating disturbing noise such as the sounding of horns, sirens, and loud car radios.

2.8    Motorcycles or bicycles will be permitted to enter the grounds only for the purpose of attendance at funerals or on business.

2.9    Skate boards, roller blades, manual scooters, snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles, and any other such type of transportation are not allowed in the Cemetery.

Vehicles and Parking

2.10    The Superintendent has the right to close any or all roads in the Cemetery for the purpose of preservation of the lawns, monuments and roads. 

2.11 Admission of vehicles upon the roads of the Cemetery will be permitted as a privilege and not as a right inherent to the Lease Holdership of a lot, or otherwise.  As a privilege, it is restricted to those who obey the traffic rules adopted by the officials of the Cemetery.

2.12    Visitors on foot have the primary right to the use of the roads, and all vehicle drivers are required to observe their right by careful driving and a strict adherence to the rules.

2.13    Vehicles are not permitted to turn around upon roads, but must loop around the section to change direction.

2.14    Motor vehicles shall be driven at a speed no greater than 15 miles per hour on Cemetery grounds.

2.15    Parking of motor vehicles shall be at the discretion and direction of the Superintendent.  Parking will be in designated areas only and shall never block the roadways.  Motor vehicles shall not be driven or parked on grass areas unless so directed.

2.17    Any operator causing damage to Cemetery property shall be required to make restitution therefor.

2.18    Motor vehicles shall not stop or park near an open grave while interment is in process.

3. Lot Provisions


3.1    Lots are to be leased only to bona fide residents and/or taxpayers of the Town of York or to their immediate families and their close relatives or those who have close family connections.  "Resident" is construed to mean a long-term residence in town which is not transient in nature.  Resident status and the interpretations and clarifications necessary for the above will be determined by the Trustees of the Cemetery. 

3.2    The deed to a lot conveys only the right of burial therein.  The Cemetery Trustees retain control and supervision of all lots that have been sold, and the Cemetery Superintendent shall have the right to enter any lot and prohibit, modify or remove any structure, object, improvement or adornment on such lot which may be placed thereon in violation of the rules, or injurious to the lot or adjoining lots, or the general appearance of the Cemetery.

3.3    Lots are let for no purpose other than for the burial of human remains without regard to race, color, or national origin.

3.4    When a lot is conveyed by Cemetery Trustees to two persons, they take the title as tenants in common.  In such cases, upon death, a tenant's interest goes to said tenant's heirs.

3.5    Upon the death or judicially declared incompetence of a Lot Lease Holder it is the duty of the heirs, devisees, or guardian to file with the Cemetery Trustees competent proof of their right to use of the lot.  Further burials on the lot may not be permitted until such proof is presented.

3.6    Lots reserved in advance should be paid for as specified in the terms of the lease or as determined by the Trustees.

3.7    All standard burial lots shall be leased in increments of one space or more.  Family plots shall be leased as a minimum of four, with additional spaces in increments of two.

3.8    Additional amenities such as walls, fences, gates, planters and plantings may be added by the Lease Holder in designated family plots with the approval of the Cemetery Superintendent.  Family plots with periphery walls and fencing shall be leased as a minimum of six individual plots.  All costs associated with lot improvements shall be incurred by the Lease Holder.  See the Cemetery Superintendent for additional fees and guidelines pertaining to family plot improvements.

3.9    Lease of lots and graves within the Memorial Garden area shall include the landscape elements therein, as provided by the Cemetery.

3.10    Cremation Burial Plots and Garden Plots shall be leased in increments of one space or more.  Columbary niches shall be leased singly or in increments of four spaces in family-designated areas.  Lease of lots for vaults and mausoleums shall be reviewed and approved by the Cemetery Trustees.

3.11    A perpetual care fee shall be assessed for all leased lots and graves.  The income from the perpetual care trust fund is used for the maintenance and upkeep of the grounds, drives, enclosures and buildings. Lot Lease Holder must deposit with the Cemetery Trustees a sum of money as determined by the Superintendent to be sufficient to yield an income for the proper care of such lot in perpetuity.

3.12    The income from the perpetual care trust fund does not include private mausoleums and vaults.  Before any mausoleum or vault is erected, the Lease Holder must deposit with the Cemetery Trustees a sum of money estimated by him and agreed to by the Superintendent to be sufficient to yield an income for the proper care of such structure in perpetuity.

3.13    All lot corners are plainly marked by the Cemetery.

3.14    No grave shall be opened on a lot except at the request of the Lease Holder or Lease Holders or their qualified heirs.  A request to open a grave to receive the remains of any persons other than the Lease Holder or Lease Holders or their qualified heirs shall be made in writing and attested to by the ease Holder or their qualified heirs in accordance with Section 4 - Interments.

4. Interments


4.1    All interments shall be made at the expense of the Lot Lease Holder. 

4.2    No interment may be made on any lot or space not under perpetual care until all annual care fees are paid up to date.

4.3    There will be no interments allowed on Sundays or holidays.

4.4    Notice for opening a grave must be given to the Superintendent at least 12 working hours prior to time of interment.  Notice for opening a grave for Saturday interment shall not be later than 12:00 p.m. of the Friday preceding.

4.5    The Cemetery does not provide pallbearers, color guards, or other ceremonial activities.

4.6    The burial of cremated remains shall be prohibited when the frost exceeds three inches in depth.  Full burials, if possible and weather permitting, will be subject to additional charges from November 30 to March 31.

Special Considerations

4.7    Any change of location after interment will be done at the expense of the Lot Lease Holder, and then only under the direction and supervision of a licensed funeral director.

4.8    No disinterments shall be made until all state and local laws pursuant to such matter are complied with.

4.9    The cost of the Cemetery's participation in disinterment will be charged to the Lot Lease Holder or duly authorized representative, and the Cemetery does not assume any liability for any resulting damage.

5. Physical Guidelines


5.1    Lots shall not be filled above established ground level.  The grade of any lot, once established, may only be changed by the Cemetery.

5.2    Lease of a lot does not grant the lease holder the right to make any plantings nor to erect any coping or enclosure around the lot or grave.

5.3    The Superintendent will take all reasonable precautions to protect Lot Lease Holders and the property rights of Lot Lease Holders within the Cemetery from loss or damage, but the Cemetery cannot be held responsible for loss or damage from causes beyond its reasonable control.

5.4    It is required that Lot Lease Holders and monument suppliers consult the Superintendent before proceeding with the installation of any monument and/or marker.

5.5    Approved concrete vaults or liners must be used for all burials. Cremation remains must be in an urn or vault approved by the Superintendent.

5.6    All graves are to be dug or excavated under the direction and supervision of the Cemetery Superintendent or Cemetery representative.

5.7    All seeding or sodding of the graves shall be carried out by the Cemetery.

Burial Plots

5.8    Each standard burial plot shall have a width of 3½ feet and a length of 10 feet.

5.9    No ironwork or other fencing will be allowed on standard single burial plots.

Family Plots

5.10    Family plots shall be located in designated areas only and shall measure a minimum of 7 feet wide and 20 feet long.  Individual graves shall comply with the general guidelines outlined herein.

5.11    Ironwork, walls, or any other structures other than headstones shall only be allowed on family burial plots with 6 or more spaces and with written approval by the Superintendent.

5.12    No additional ironwork, walls, or other structures, trees, shrubs or plantings shall be allowed on family plots within the Memorial Garden area.

Cremation Plots

5.13    Urns or caskets containing cremated remains may be interred in standard burial plots or in designated areas of the Cemetery and the Cemetery's Memorial Garden.  Cremation burial plots shall measure a minimum of 3½ feet in width by 5 feet in length.  Areas designated as Cremation Gardens shall measure 7 feet in width by 20 feet in length and shall contain a maximum of 16 burial urns.

5.14    Lot provisions and interment guidelines as outlined herein shall be applicable to cremated remains and burial cremation plots.

5.15    Cremated remains may not be disposed of on the surface of any grave, or elsewhere in the Cemetery.

5.16    Re-vegetation of cremation burial plots shall be carried out by the Cemetery.

Columbary Wall Niches

5.17    Burial niches shall be located in designated areas of the Memorial Garden and Outer Cemetery columbary walls.  Niches shall be arranged in modules of four.

5.18    Cremated remains to be interred to a columbary wall niche shall be in a Cemetery-approved liner.

5.19    Niches may be used for the burial of human remains only. A maximum of one interment shall be permitted in a single niche and a maximum of four interments per module.

Mausoleums and Vaults

5.20    All plans for mausoleums and vaults must be submitted to the Superintendent for approval by the Trustees before proceeding with installation. Proposals must be reviewed for appropriateness of material, size, scale, location and style.

5.21    All plans for mausoleums and vaults shall be stamped by a licensed structural engineer.

5.22    Immediately upon the completion of any mausoleum or vault, one key to each lock on or in the same must be deposited in the office of the Custodian to remain permanently in the custody of the Cemetery.

6. Monuments and Markers


6.1    No monument or marker may be erected prior to the purchase of the right of burial and all other associated fees.  Costs for monuments, markers, lettering and inscription are separate from the purchase and interment fees.

6.2    No monuments, markers or parts thereof shall be removed from the Cemetery without prior written approval from the Cemetery Trustees.

6.3    Any monument taken down for any purpose must be replaced in a timely manner and to the satisfaction of the Cemetery Trustees.  Should a monument or marker need to be permanently removed, it shall be removed from the Cemetery and shall be replaced with a monument or marker in-kind to the satisfaction of the Cemetery Trustees.

6.4    Persons involved in the installation of a monument or marker, as approved by the Cemetery Trustees,

        a) shall comply with all applicable health and safety codes governing the performance of work,

        b) shall notify the Cemetery Superintendent before initiating work and comply with all reasonable directions and requirements of the Cemetery Superintendent,

        c) shall work only during hours of regular Cemetery operation, and 

        d) shall remove all debris associated with the performance of work and leave the site in a condition deemed satisfactory by the Cemetery Superintendent.

6.5    The Cemetery Trustees will not assume any responsibility or liability for accident or damage to monuments or markers resulting from the ordinary hazards of Cemetery work.  However, the Superintendent will use reasonable care in engaging competent and experienced workers and in seeing that they do their work with customary carefulness.

6.6    All plans for monuments and markers must be submitted to the Superintendent for approval by the Trustees before proceeding with installation.

Review of Monuments and Markers

6.7    Proposals for approval by the Cemetery Trustees shall include a dimensioned illustration of the monument and/or marker, specifications for the material(s) and a copy of the proposed inscription.  The inscription should include the full known names of those interred.  No monument or marker may be erected or inscription added without the Cemetery Trustees' written permission.

6.8    Proposals shall be reviewed for appropriateness of material, size, scale, location and style.  Please refer to the appropriate subsection for specific information regarding monument and marker requirements.

6.9    No monument or marker shall be used that, in the opinion of the Trustees, is out of keeping with the character of the Cemetery.

Burial Plots

6.10    All monuments and/or markers must be of natural stone of a type approved by the Cemetery Trustees.

6.11    All monuments and/or markers must be of an appropriate scale for the lot and lot location as determined by the Trustees.

6.12    Monument and/or marker foundation preparation and installation shall be performed in accordance with industry standards and governing codes.  Monuments shall rest on a concrete and/or stone foundation extending a minimum of three feet below grade.  All markers must be set in a suitable solid foundation.

6.13    Monuments and/or markers shall be in line with the existing monuments and/or markers whenever possible and to the rear and center of the lot, depending on the type of lot.  Engraving shall face the same direction as the adjacent monuments.

6.14    Headstones shall be fixed by dowel pins or by mortice and tenon type joint to a base stone of the same material and securely fastened to the concrete foundation slab in accordance with industry-approved standards and applicable governing codes.

6.15    All markers, including corner stones, shall be installed flush with the ground with the exception of family or name stone markers, unless otherwise approved by the Cemetery Trustees prior to installation.

6.16    On individual grave lots, the monument and/or marker shall not protrude upon another lot.  All stones shall be placed within the specific confines of the leased lot.

6.17    All lots must be marked with a set of four corner marker stones to be set by Cemetery personnel only, unless prior authorization is obtained from the Trustees.

Family Plots

6.18    Monuments and/or markers on individual graves in a family plot shall conform to the monument and/or marker standards for burial plots as outlined under Section 6.

6.19    A maximum of one family monument may be installed in each designated family plot.  Markers may be installed to designate individual spaces.  Family monuments and/or markers shall be approved as outlined under Section 6 General.

Cremation Plots

6.20    Markers on designated cremation burial plots shall conform to the standards for individual burial plots specified under Section 6.

6.21    The Cemetery assumes the rights of Lease Holdership for all columbary wall faceplates.  Requests for lettering of faceplates shall be made to the Cemetery Superintendent, who will assess an engraving fee, separate from the cremation plot lease price or interment fee.

6.22 Lettering and inscription on all columbary wall faceplates are subject to review and approval by the Cemetery Trustees as outlined under Section 6 Review.

Mausoleums and Vaults

6.23 Lettering and inscription on all mausoleum fronts are subject to review and approval by the Cemetery Trustees as outlined under Section 6 Review.

6.24 Requests for lettering of mausoleum fronts shall be made to the Cemetery Superintendent, who will assess an engraving fee, separate from other fees.

7. Decorations / Landscaping

Artificial Flowers

7.1    Artificial flowers may be used from November 1 to April 3 only, so as not to interfere with grass cutting operations.

7.2    Artificial flowers shall be removed at the discretion of the Cemetery personnel.

Cut Flowers

7.3    Cut flower arrangements may be set in front of the monument and/or marker stone, provided they are removed from their packaging.

7.4    Flower arrangements and/or funeral flowers shall be removed after ten days or at discretion of the Cemetery personnel.

Seasonal Plantings

7.5    Temporary seasonal in-ground plantings of annuals and potted plants, as defined herein, shall be allowed from Memorial Day through Labor Day provided such plantings and pots meet the specifications outlined herein. 

7.6    Seasonal plantings of annuals will be permitted if planted within 12 to 15 inches of the main upright monument only.

7.7    Permanent planters for cut flowers or plantings may be included in the price of a burial plot or installed for an additional fee with prior arrangement with the Cemetery Superintendent.

7.8    The Cemetery assumes no responsibility for maintenance of seasonal plantings. Seasonal plantings may be removed at the discretion of the Cemetery personnel.

7.9    Potted plant containers no greater than 15 inches in diameter shall be placed at the monument base or sunk in the ground below the surface in a manner that will not interfere with grounds maintenance.

7.10    No flower or plant containers will be allowed in the center of the grave lots or around small marker stones.

Permanent Plantings

7.11    No trees, shrubbery or plantings of any nature shall be permitted without prior arrangement with and approval from the Cemetery Trustees.  The Cemetery reserves the right to install plant material for landscaping purposes.

7.12    Proposals for permanent plantings such as trees, shrubs, ground covers, bulbs, perennials and vines must be submitted to the Cemetery Superintendent for approval by the Cemetery Trustees.  Proposals shall be in the form of a plan indicating proposed species, size and location.

7.13    A perpetual care fee shall be assessed to cover the maintenance and upkeep of the additional plantings.

7.14    The Cemetery may request the removal of or may remove existing trees, shrubs or other vegetation if, in the opinion of the Cemetery, said plant material has become unsightly.  The Cemetery will assume no financial responsibility for such removals.  See the Cemetery By-Laws for the associated public notice procedures.

Flags, Emblems, Government Markers

7.15    The Cemetery shall set any federal government marker at the appropriate spot at veteran's graves at no cost to the Lot Lease Holder. 

7.16    Public service flags, emblems, ensigns and/or the American flag may be displayed directly in front of or on a monument.  Flags will be removed at the discretion of Cemetery personnel and handed over to the Veterans Administration for proper disposal.


7.17    All non-floral decorations other than flags, emblems and government markers must be approved by the Superintendent on behalf of the Trustees before being placed in the Cemetery.  Decorations, with the exception of those designating the Christmas holiday, will be removed by Cemetery personnel after ten consecutive days.

7.18    Those decorations that appear to be of particular value will be held at the Cemetery office for one week after removal from the gravesite. If not called for within that time they will be disposed of.  Please refer to Section 1 of the Guidebook for contact information.

7.19    All decorations must be placed upon the grave or marker in a manner that will not obstruct general maintenance activities, pose a hazard to Cemetery personnel or visitors, or appear unsightly.

7.20    The Cemetery prohibits the use of decorations if, in the opinion of the Superintendent, such decorations potentially pose a hazard to visitors and Cemetery personnel or interfere with general maintenance operations. Please see the Cemetery By-Laws Section IV for more specific information. 

7.21    No decorations shall be allowed if, in the opinion of Cemetery Trustees or their designate, such decorations detract from the dignity and serenity of the Cemetery.

7.22    No sign, bulletin, or poster of any kind will be permitted within the confines of the Cemetery.

7.23    The Cemetery reserves the right to remove and dispose of decorations that fail to meet the standards specified herein.

8. Maintenance

8.1    Cemetery Trustees may take such steps considered necessary in order to preserve and maintain any grave, vault, mausoleum, monument, marker or lot feature such as coping, walls, fences, gates and permanent planters. 

8.2 The Cemetery Trustees reserve the right to prune or to request the removal of or to remove existing trees, shrubs and permanent plantings when, in the opinion of the Trustees, such removal is warranted. Please refer to the Cemetery By-Laws Section IV for specific information.

8.3    Thirty (30) days prior to Christmas, a general cleanup of the area will commence, in order that seasonal decorations may be placed prior to Christmas and will not be disturbed by the groundskeepers.

8.4    Cemetery personnel will conduct periodic inspections of the Cemetery grounds to locate and remove weathered or unsightly plantings, flowers, flags and decorations.

8.5    Spring and fall cleanups of the grounds shall typically occur before Memorial Day and after Halloween, weather permitting.  Please refer to the appropriate subsections of the Guidebook for restrictions concerning plantings and decorations.