Judgment Search



There were to petitions. The first related to the construction of a new church hall linked to the south porch; removal of internal draught lobby; external lighting; tree felling, landscaping and signage. The second sought the necessary authorisation for the Petitioners (the Incumbent and Churchwardens) to enter into a contract with the Diocese of Southwark for the transfer of a small piece of land to the south west of the church building which was required for part of the proposed new structure. The Victorian Society objected to the new hall being constructed so close to the Grade II church, but was not a party opponent. The Deputy Chancellor determined that a Faculty should be granted.

The cemetery has two lodges. One has been used for many years as a private residence, and the other as Council offices. The land on which the lodges were built is not consecrated, but the immediately adjacent land used as garden is consecrated. The local Council wished to sell both lodges for use as private residences with gardens. The Chancellor determined that the consecrated pieces of land to be used as gardens (which contained a number of recorded burials, but none within the last 100 years) could not lawfully be sold by the Council, but the Chancellor was willing to grant a faculty to authorise the granting of licences by the Council for the two pieces of land to be used as gardens.

The Chancellor considered two petitions relating to the disused burial ground of Holy Trinity Church Hull, now Hull Minster. The proposals related to part of the burial ground being used for widening of the A63 main road in Hull at a difficult junction, and included the excavation of human remains; analysis of a large sample of the remains; the reinterment of the remains; the re-siting of memorials; rebuilding of the boundary wall of the burial ground; and landscaping. There was one objection from a lady whose forbears were buried in the part of the burial ground which would be affected by the road-widening. The Chancellor was satisfied that a good case had been made out in terms of public benefit and authorised the issue of the faculties sought.

In 2007 the Parochial Church Council passed a resolution implementing a policy of restricting the interment of ashes in the closed churchyard to those of people on the electoral roll at their death and whose names has been on the roll continuously for at least the last ten years; also that no further memorial stones should be permitted. The petitioner wished to have his wife's cremated remains interred in a new plot and a memorial plaque placed over the plot. The petitioner's wife had been on the electoral roll for three years, but the family had worshipped at the church for many years and members of the family were buried in the churchyard, with the burials marked by memorials. The Chancellor stated that the PCC's policy could not override his discretion and granted a faculty for the interment and memorial.

The proposals were for a major re-ordering of the churchyard, which included the removal of a section of the 19th century churchyard wall included in the Grade I listing of the church, the creation of a piazza with seating and a new parking area. The reason for the proposed removal of a section of the wall was to open the church up to the adjoining public square, so as to allow for greater community use of the square and churchyard. The Victorian Society objected strongly to the removal of the wall, but did not wish to be a party opponent. Looking at the wider context of a growing church and a developing and culturally growing city, the Chancellor determined that the significant potential benefits of the scheme to the church and community would outweigh the moderate loss which would be caused by the development.

The church is surrounded on three sides by iron railings with a bar at the top surmounted by finials in the shape of a fleur-de-lys. In 2014 a child climbed the fence in an attempt to recover a frisbee, which had flown into the churchyard. The child slipped and impaled his head on one of the finials, causing damage to his jaw. The PCC sought to remove the risk of another similar incident by seeking permission to place a bar across the tops of the finials. Notwithstanding that the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not approve the proposal, but suggested alternatives, the Chancellor granted a faculty.

Faculty granted for the erection of metal railings surmounted by Raptor anti-scaling barrier on the north and west sides of the churchyard, as a security measure to prevent further lead thefts.

The Court of Arches held that, where a local authority was responsible for a closed churchyard, a parish council had sufficient interest to intervene in faculty proceedings concerning the laying flat of memorials there. Where memorials had been laid flat, the duty on the local authority to maintain the churchyard included an obligation to take into account the safety of memorials and the appearance of the churchyard, but a district council was under no duty to reinstate memorials it had laid flat. (This case is fully reported at [20o9] PTSR 968.)

Following a complaint by a parishioner, there were two petitions relating to the churchyards of two parishes. The Rector and Churchwardens sought a confirmatory faculty to allow the retention of several grave markers and other items which have been introduced without lawful authority, either because the Rector had allowed items to be introduced which were outside the delegated authority he had under the churchyards regulations or because items had been installed without his permission first being sought. In his judgment, the Chancellor emphasised the importance of clergy complying with their responsibilities under the regulations. The Chancellor granted a faculty with conditions requiring that several items should be removed from graves in the two churchyards.

The University of Oxford proposed a redevelopment of the site of the former Radcliffe Infirmary burial ground, which had been consecrated in 1770. The University therefore petitioned for the exhumation and subsequent reinterment of the human remains contained in the burial ground. The Chancellor granted a faculty. He was satisfied that the provisions of the Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884, which restricted building on disused burial grounds, did not apply, owing to an exception in the Act which excluded burial grounds transferred by statute (the site having been transferred to to the Minister of Health under the National Health Service Act 1946). He was also satisfied that there were exceptional circumstances to justify exhumation, namely, the public benefit to be derived from using the land for academic purposes.