On Monday 19th May 2003, The Right Reverend Doctor Kenneth Stevenson, Bishop of Portsmouth, consecrated the 1.5 acres of land that has been donated to St Mary's Church by Mr Dennis and Mrs Jean Edwards (owners of Higworth Caravan Park, Hayling Island)
This land, to be called “The Garden of Peace”, will be used for the burial of people of South Hayling for several centuries to come.
The consecration formed part of the 750th Anniversary Celebration of St Mary's Church.
An area within “The Garden of Peace” has been dedicated as a Memorial Pavement. This again is for the interment of ashes, but allows the family of the deceased to have a memorial stone placed above the interred ashes.
In 2002 an area of the south churchyard was dedicated for the internment of ashes. The names of those so interred are recorded in a Memorial Book, which is displayed in the southeast corner of the nave.
Details of the graves and memorials in St Mary's Churchyard including location and inscriptions can be found here
In St Mary's church is displayed the banner of the LST and Landing Craft Association. This was an Association of veterans who steered landing craft to the Normandy beaches during the Second World War. Much of their training was on Hayling Island. The Association held its final reunion in September 2011, with a moving service in St Mary's, at the end of which the banner was handed over to the church for safe-keeping.
This large multi-limbed and hollowing propped female, whose age certificate shows it to be around 2000 years old, grows close to the south porch. In 1984 Meredith recorded a girth of 33'8" at about 2'0".
Apart from the ancient yew, a further 14 yew trees are scattered about the churchyard. Most measured between 8'0" and 11'0", although the male close to the southeast gate was 12'9'' at the root crown.