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Memorials

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A parishioner had died and her cremated remains were interred in the churchyard extension. The family applied to have a "desk style memorial" placed over the grave. Being informed that such a memorial would not be allowed under the Churchyards Regulations, the family agreed to a flat stone. By mistake the stonemason prepared a stone according to the original specification. On realising his error, the stonemason offered to replace the stone with a flat stone, but the
family would not allow him to do so. The Archdeacon applied for a faculty to have the desk style memorial replaced with a flat one. The Chancellor determined that it was appropriate to grant a faculty to the Archdeacon.

The Archdeacon applied for a faculty to authorise the removal from the churchyard of a "desktop" style memorial marking the interment of cremated remains, as it did not comply with the Churchyard Memorial Rules currently in force. The family of the deceased objected. The Chancellor determined that there were no exceptional reasons why the memorial should remain and accordingly granted a faculty to authorise the removal of the memorial and its replacement with a memorial which complied with the Rules.

The petitioner wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial of dark grey granite, polished on the face only, with silvered lettering within an incised design of an open book; the inscription included the words "Beloved Husband, Dad and Grandad". The proposal also included kerb stones and a granite vase bearing the inscription "John" within the kerbs. The Deputy Chancellor determined that the memorial would not be out of place in this particular churchyard, bearing in mind other memorials nearby, and he granted a faculty, subject to the vase not bearing an inscription.

The petitioner wished to place a memorial on her late husband's grave. Many of the details of the proposed design were outside the diocesan churchyards regulations, including: two coloured engravings, one of a robin and the other of a West Highland Terrier (to represent a deceased family pet); dark grey honed granite with a polished obverse side; gold lettering; the use of the words "Dad" and "Grandad" in the inscription; two flower holders in the base. The Parochial Church Council members unanimously did not support the proposal. Bearing in mind the context of the grave, which had near it other memorials with polished faces, the Deputy Chancellor did not approve the memorial design as proposed, but granted a faculty allowing: dark grey honed granite with a polished obverse side; white (rather than gold) lettering; the use of the words "Dad" and "Grandad" in the inscription; one flower holder only; the design of the dog, coloured white, but not the coloured design of the robin.

The petitioner wished to place a memorial to her late brother on the family grave in which his cremated remains had been interred. The proposal was for a wedge shaped polished black granite memorial, 18" by 12", with gold lettering. At the head of the grave was an upright polished black granite memorial with gold lettering, bearing the names of the other members of the family whose remains had been interred in the grave. Two family members objected that the proposed memorial would dominate the grave. There were said to be other black granite memorials with gold lettering in the churchyard. The Chancellor refused to allow a wedge shaped stone, but said that in the circumstances he would permit "a 12” cube in polished black granite and bearing the proposed words in gold lettering".

The petitioner applied for permission to erect in the churchyard a memorial to her late husband, the memorial to be of polished black granite with gold lettering, both of which features are outside the churchyards regulations. Alongside the rectangular upright stone and connected to it was to be an upright column extending a little higher than the stone and bearing for almost its full height the image of a cross with a rose entwined around it. From a number of photographs, it was clear to the Chancellor that the churchyard contained many memorials which did not comply with the regulations, including a large number of black granite memorials with gold lettering. In the circumstances the Chancellor determined that it would be unfair to the petitioner to refuse to grant a faculty. Accordingly, he directed that a faculty be issued.

A proposed memorial inscription included the words "Husband, Dad and Pop". The incumbent did not feel happy about agreeing to the use of the word "Pop". An application was made for a faculty. The Diocesan Advisory Committee had no objection. The deceased's daughter claimed that "Pop" was a word in popular use in Cumbria, being a term commonly used to refer to a father or grandfather. The Chancellor decided on balance, and on the facts of the particular case, that it would be pastorally insensitive to refuse the faculty sought, and he accordingly granted a faculty.

The Chancellor authorised for each of two separate churchyards 'bespoke regulations' as to the types of memorial stone which may be permitted.

The cremated remains of the petitioners' mother, who died in 2016, were interred in the grave of her first husband, who died in 1978. The petitioners obtained approval from the acting priest during an interregnum to remove the headstone in memory of their late father, in order to have their mother's name added to the memorial. In the meantime, the mother's second husband of 32 years arranged for a tablet in memory of the petitioners' mother (including her surname after remarriage) to be laid on the grave. The petitioners wished the tablet to be removed. The Chancellor granted a faculty authorising the removal of the tablet subject to the condition that the headstone be amended by agreement between the petitioners and the second husband by adding words along the lines of: 'a widow for 5 years and for 32 years the beloved wife of N'. In the absence of agreement within 3 months, the Chancellor would invite the Archdeacon to petition for a faculty for the removal of both the headstone and the tablet and their replacement by a single memorial bearing wording directed by the Court.

In recent years the Rector and Parochial Church Council had discouraged the use of grey granite for memorials in the churchyard, even though there were already a few such stones in the churchyard. The petitioner had in fact already had a honed grey granite memorial made by a stonemason in a neighouring diocese. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for a further grey granite memorial: "... the approach which the Rector and the Parochial Church Council have taken over recent years of preventing further granite memorials seeks to ensure that for the future memorials in the churchyard will be of a material compatible with the church and the locality. That approach is an entirely appropriate one. This is particularly so given the grade I listing of the church and the appearance of the surrounding area."