Judgment Search

Exhumations

Display:

The petitioner wished to have his father's cremated remains exhumed from Allesley churchyard and reinterred in the churchyard of Willoughton, where the petitioner now lived and where his mother's cremated remains had been interred. During her lifetime, the petitioner's mother had expressed a wish not to be buried next to her husband's grave at Allesley, but at Willoughton, hoping that it might be possible in due course to have her husband's remains moved to Willoughton. Applying the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Chancellor found that this was a case where there were insufficient exceptional grounds to warrant the grant of a faculty.

The Petitioner, of Italian, wished to have her husband's cremated remains exhumed and interred in a family mausoleum in Italy, where she would also intend her own ashes to be interred. The reason for the request was that after the petitioner's death there would be no surviving family members in England to look after the grave, whereas the family in Italy would continue to look after the family mausoleum. Faculty granted.

The cremated remains of a wife and her husband had been interred in the same plot in 1971 and 2003 respectively, and there was an upright memorial was placed over the plot. In 2004 a single story extension to the church had been built, and the memorial stone was within inches of the extension. On two occasions since 2004, thieves had used the memorial as a stepping stone to gain access to the church roof and steal the lead. On the second occasion, the memorial had fallen over. The deceased's daughter wished to have her parents' remains and memorial moved to another part of the churchyard. The Chancellor determined that the need to reduce the risk of further lead theft and of damage to the roofs of the church (i.e., public benefit) justified the movement of the remains and the memorial: "This is wholly different from those cases where exhumation is sought for private purposes".

Two petitions and two pending petitions relating to the exhumation of cremated remains, currently stored in a municipal cemetery on a temporary basis in non-biodegradable urns beneath plaques, on the expiration of the initial licences.  The chancellor considered the need for a faculty in such a situation, and indicated that he would be minded to grant a faculty where it could be shown that the original interment was never intended to be permanent. Faculties would also be granted in two cases on the basis of reinterment in a family grave elsewhere.

A faculty was sought to permit the exhumation of the remains of a husband, in order that they might be interred with the remains of his wife in another grave in the same cemetery. His wife had expressed a wish in her will to be buried with her husband, but her husband's remains had been interred in a family grave where there had previously been three

Faculty refused for the exhumation from a cemetery of the cremated remains of a child buried in 1960, and reinterment in the churchyard of a parish to which the parents had moved. The Chancellor took into account the time since the interment, and also did not accept the Petitioner's argument that the deterioration in the care of the cemetery justified him in making an exception to the presumption against exhumation.

The petitioner wished to exhume the remains of her baby daughter (who died in 1948) and of her husband (who died in 1989) from Bingham Cemetery, a few miles from her home in the nearby village of Gamston. At the time of the interments, Bingham was the place where people from Gamston were normally interred. The petitioner and her daughter and son-in-law had purchased two plots in Wilford Hill Cemetery, about one mile away from Gamston.  The intention was that the petitioner’s daughter and son-in-law should in due course be buried in one of the plots at Wilford Hill and that the petitioner’s husband’s and infant daughter’s remains should be transferred to the other grave, in which the petitioner would eventually be buried. The Chancellor considered that there were no exceptional circumstances to justify the exhumations, and he accordingly refused to grant a faculty. This was not a case of a desire for remains to be moved to a family grave, but to exhume from a family grave, in which it was possible for the petitioner’s remains to be interred in due course.

This was an appeal from a decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Bath & Wells, who refused to grant a faculty for the exhumation of the remains of Steven Whittle from Blagdon Cemetery, Somerset, with a view to their re-interment in Stowmarket Cemetery, Suffolk. The deceased's parents had difficulty in travelling from Suffolk to Somerset to visit their son's grave, and wished for his remains to be moved near to their permanent home and placed in a family grave. The judgment discusses the theology of burial and sets out various factors which should be considered before a decision is made as to whether an exception should be allowed from the general presumption of permanence arising from the initial act of interment in consecrated ground. The Court directed that a faculty should be granted by the Consistory Court. The Court made its decision on a number of grounds, one being that the remains were to be reinterred in a family grave in Stowmarket.

The petitioners wished to have the cremated remains of their father exhumed from Bourne Abbey and reinterred in a cemetery in Harlow, where their mother's cremated remains had been interred following her recent death. Upon consideration of the guidelines laid down in the Court of Arches decision in Re Blagdon Cemetery 2002 Fam 299, the Chancellor determined that this was a case where an exception could be made to the presumption that burial should be treated as final, as the remains of the petitioners' father would be reinterred in a family grave.

A faculty was granted for exhumation of a body from one part of a cemetery, where it had been interred contrary to the wishes of the deceased's wife, and reinterment near other family graves in the same cemetery. The Chancellor found that there had been "an error in administration", which justified him in granting a faculty.