Friends have traditionally expressed their commitment to simplicity and equality of all people by discouraging the use of elaborate grave markers. In keeping with our belief in good stewardship of the earth, there is no planting of live flowers, shrubs, or trees allowed. After an appropriate amount of time for a grave to settle, which could be up to 3 years, we will plant grass or other native ground covering.


FSWBG does not require headstones. If a headstone installation is desired, both the style of the headstone and any inscription must be approved in advance by the Burial Ground management prior to the headstone being ordered, manufactured and inscribed, as well as by the registered lot owner, if other than the person purchasing the headstone.

Two styles of headstones are allowed in the Burial Ground: a) Flat, or b) “Quaker Style” (also known as “pillow-top”), a low stone with a curved top.

Headstones must not exceed the maximum size of 24”x12” for a full size grave or 12”x 6” for an infant grave or a cremains plot. Headstones must also be at least 4” thick to avoid damage or breakage during routine maintenance of the grounds.

We recommend B & B Monuments for headstone purchases. The use of a local firm which has installed stones at FSWBG in the past is encouraged. We will work with any qualified headstone company as long as they complete an application for a Permit for Headstone Work and receive approval from the Burial Ground Manager. The approved permit is required for the installation of a headstone and this must be completed and signed before the headstone is ordered. Burial Ground staff will install the foundation for the headstone. The permit processing fee ($50) and the charge for installing the foundation ($300) must be paid to FSWBG by the requesting party before a headstone can be placed.

Headstone Inscriptions:

Headstone Emblems:

Headstones may be inscribed with one of the emblems of belief illustrated by the National Cemetery Administration. An emblem of belief for inscription on a headstone is an emblem or symbol that represents the sincerely held belief of the decedent, which constituted a religion or the functional equivalent of religion and was believed and/or accepted as true by that individual during his/her/their life. The belief represented by an emblem need not be associated with an endorsed group or organization.

Emblems of belief for inscription on headstones do not include social, cultural, ethnic, civic, fraternal, trade, commercial, political, professional, or military emblems. FSWBG will not permit installation of headstones inscribed with any emblem that would have an adverse impact on the dignity and solemnity of those remembered here.

If you are applying for a permit for a headstone and find that the emblem of belief that you desire is not currently available among those depicted here, and wish to request that a new emblem of faith be considered for approval for inscription, please provide the following to the Burial Ground Manager by filling out our form for the consideration of a new emblem of belief to be permitted. We ask that you:

  • Certify in writing that the belief represented by this emblem or symbol constitutes a religion or the functional equivalent of a religion, and that it was sincerely believed and/or accepted as true by the deceased during his/her/their life.
  • Submit a 3-inch diameter illustration of the design for which approval is requested.

Such requests will be considered by the Burial Ground Committee in charge of FSWBG at its next meeting and approved or disapproved for addition to the list of approved emblems of belief.

No engraved images are permitted other than the faith emblems mentioned above, nor are photographic images.

Headstone Words:

  • Words to be inscribed on headstones for placement at FSWBG must be approved in advance and must be included on the application form as part of the Headstone Permit Application.
  • Words to be inscribed on headstones at FSWBG may include the deceased person’s full name and dates of birth and death. Appropriate terms of endearment, nicknames (in expressions such as “Our Beloved Poppy”), credentials such as “Doctor” or “Reverend,” etc. may also be included, space permitting.
  • No texts from scriptures are permitted on headstones to be placed at FSWBG. Short phrases may be permitted, if appropriate in content, and must be included in the Headstone Permit Application for approval.
  • Inscriptions must not exceed the limit of 40 characters in a font size of ½ inch.
  • If a text inscription is requested in a language other than English, Burial Ground management will have the text independently translated to verify that it is appropriate and meets the criteria listed elsewhere.

Policy and verification:

  • A copy of this policy and illustration of all approved emblems of belief will be provided with the Headstone Permit Application form. [LINK]
  • Makers of headstones will be notified that they must verify with FSWBG’s Manager that the headstone style and dimensions and the requested inscription of words and/or emblem have been approved by the FSWBG Manager before manufacturing the headstone.

Flowers & Tributes

In keeping with Quaker testimonies of simplicity and respect for the earth, fresh flowers (not wrapped in plastic or cellophane) are welcome. However, plastic flowers, flower pots, fencing, and stuffed animals are not permitted and will be removed and discarded. Fresh cut flowers will be removed after a reasonable length of time. Wreaths and other small seasonal decorations may be put out for holidays provided they do not contain any plastic or other non-biodegradable material.


We ask that those visiting the burial ground hold this space sacred and respect the loved ones interred here. Please refrain from disrespectful behavior and language. Violence, in any form, will not be tolerated. Weapons are prohibited on burial ground property.

Hours of Operation

The Burial Ground is open 365 days a year from 9am to dusk. Entry into the grounds by car is permitted through the main gate located on Powell Lane, which is open from 9am to 5pm daily. Pedestrian gates are located on Kent Road and at the main gate on Powell Lane.


We request that all visitors and attenders of burial services park within the walls of the Burial Grounds. Care should be taken to park only on designated/paved paths so as not to block other visitors or to inadvertently park on graves. The parking lot across Powell Lane from the main gate to the burial ground is private property and should not be used by visitors to the Friends Southwest Burial Ground.