What is a mausoleum?

Woman stood outside of a mausoleum.

A mausoleum is a free-standing building that’s purpose built to hold people’s coffins above the ground. They can hold one or more coffins inside. It’s an alternative resting place for those who may not want to have a traditional burial or cremation.

What are mausoleums made of?

Traditionally mausoleums are made of granite or marble. They’re free-standing structures so it’s important that they’re built to last.

What does a mausoleum look like?

People may think of mausoleums as large structures with unique architecture and elaborate decoration. This kind of mausoleum was often built in the gardens of wealthy families in the Victorian period. And some of these still stand today. But a modern mausoleum can be a simpler stone structure. It might resemble a small, one-room house instead of a gothic granite building you might see in films or on TV. Some might resemble a very small chapel from the outside.

How does a mausoleum look inside?

The inside of a mausoleum can vary from one to the next. And it all depends on how much was spent to build them. Old mausoleums built in the Victorian period were meant to show the family’s wealth and place in society. So the inside is just as elaborate as the outside. It could have marble walls with carved images of angels and pedestals carved out of stone to hold the coffins. And the coffin itself could be a decorated sarcophagus made from stone too. But a modern mausoleum is usually a lot simpler. It may have just have a plaque inside to commemorate the person who died. To get a better idea of what a modern mausoleum looks like visit the Brightwater Memorial Park website.

How do mausoleums work?

You can pay to have a private mausoleum or you can pay for a space in a community mausoleum. Typically a private mausoleum may be for one or more family members. These are usually built in cemeteries. Family mausoleums on a private property are not very common anymore because of strict regulations that need to be followed.

In a community mausoleum you buy a space or a chamber where a coffin can be placed. There may just be a few spaces or there may be hundreds. Depending on the mausoleum you may also be able to have a plaque placed on the sealed vault where the coffin is kept. As modern cemeteries run out of traditional burial plots it’s likely that more community mausoleums will be built.

How are bodies buried in a mausoleum?

Specially made caskets are used for mausoleums. They’re usually made from metal and are lined with zinc to make sure they’re sealed properly. The casket is then placed inside the vault in the mausoleum. This is sometimes known as entombment. After family and friends have said goodbye to their loved one then the vault is usually shut. You may then have a memorial plaque dedicated to the person on the outside of the vault.

How much does a mausoleum cost?

Prices for a space in a mausoleum can start at about £11,000 but can cost a lot more depending on the location. And if you’d like to buy a space for two people (sometimes known as a double niche) this can cost significantly more. This payment will be for a lease of 25-100 years. So the prices may be different depending on the length of the lease too. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to pay for the interment of the coffin itself. This is when the coffin is placed into the vault and sealed. This could be an additional payment or it could be included in the overall cost.

For a more detailed view of costs you may want to speak to a cemetery directly or ask your funeral director for help.

If you’re looking for memorial ideas to help remember your loved one, you can learn more about choosing a memorial.