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Registering a building for worship or marriage

How to apply for a building to be registered as a place of worship and marriage.


If you would like us to send you hard copies of the forms contact the Registration Service.

Place of worship

Under the provision of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, a congregation may apply for a building to be certified as a place of worship by applying to the superintendent registrar in the district where the venue is situated. This excludes churches or chapels of the Church of England unless it shares a church building with another religious denomination.

The person who acts as 'minister', 'proprietor' or 'trustee' at the place of worship will need to send the following to the superintendent registrar at Oxford Register Office:

  • two completed copies of form 76
  • a sketch of the floor plan identifying which rooms will be used for worship
  • an average weekly timetable of how the building will be used to satisfy the Registrar General that the building is primarily used for religious worship
  • a cheque or postal order made payable to 'Oxfordshire County Council', covering the statutory fee of £29.

Registration for marriage

If you decide you would like your place of worship to become a building where marriages can take place, two copies of form 78 need to be completed. Please note that a safe is needed for the marriage registers.

If you want the building be certified as a place of worship and registered for marriage at the same time, forms 76 and 78 can be submitted together. However, the forms for registration of the building for marriage must not be dated before those for worship.

Each form 78 must be signed by 20 separate householders who regard the building as their usual place of worship. The forms must be countersigned by a trustee or proprietor of the building. You will also need to send a cheque or postal order made payable to 'Oxfordshire County Council' for the statutory fee of £123 (which covers the cost of the public notices – see below).

All newly licensed buildings will automatically be licensed for marriage between a man and a women, and on request, can also be licensed for the marriage of same sex couples at no additional cost, but the church must have the permission of its regulatory authority first.

Please note that most religious buildings currently licensed for marriage only hold a registration certificate for marriage between a man and a woman. With the permission of the church's regulatory authority an addition may be added to the current licence to extend it to cover same sex marriage.  The current statutory fee for this is £64.

What happens to your application

Once we receive the information, we send it to the General Register Office (GRO) for authorisation. When the GRO certify a building for worship, it will be recorded in the list of places of meeting for religious worship maintained at the General Register and one of the forms 76 will returned to you.

When GRO register a building for marriage, the Superintendent Registrar is required to send a certificate of the registration to the proprietor or trustee who countersigned the householders’ certificates. Public notice of the registration must be advertised in a local newspaper and in the London Gazette.

If a place of worship is no longer in use

If the congregation stops using the building, there is a legal obligation to let the Registrar General know. You will need to complete form 77. It can be signed by any person who can represent the congregation.

If the building is demolished and re-built on the same foundations within a year and will be used by the same congregation, the certification and registration will not be affected.