New Columbarium to Store Loved One’s Ashes to Open in February

Work at the First Chapel at the Fairmile Cemetery is nearing completion to convert it into a Columbarium where people can store their loved one’s ashes in urns in glass fronted niches.

Henley Town Council have invested around £150K in the restoration of the both listed building chapels at the cemetery.  There has been extensive repairs to restore the roof, exterior and interior walls, along with major interior refurbishment and supply of utilities to convert the
First Chapel into a columbarium.

There will be 220 niches available to be leased from the middle of February 2021 for a specified length of time. There will be a mixture of single, couple and family.  The recommendation at this week’s Recreation & Amenities (R&A) committee meeting was that this should be for 20 years.

Research by the Council on columbaria in the UK has noted that the vast majority consist of outdoor walls or stone pillars.  There are number of privately run or Catholic columbaria indoor or in a church’s vaults, but evidence suggests that these are somewhat more expensive to lease.  The provision of an indoor, private and secure environment would make our Council’s columbarium quite unique.

The First Chapel will have low level heating and indoor seating for quiet contemplation and the building can only be accessed by a secure door entry system for which a unique code will be allocated to each family.

The R&A Committee members discussed the pricing for the 20 year lease and agreed that it should be £1300 for a single and £1800 for a larger niche for Henley residents and up to 3 times this for non-residents as per normal cemetery burial pricing.  Discussions took place on what would happen to the ashes if a family could not be contacted after the lease agreement expired. It was proposed that a clause stating that the ashes would be scattered in the cemetery in the lease agreement.

If you are interested in leasing a niche, you should contact Leena Wisely at


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