Display:

The petition proposed a substantial reordering, to include: replacement of the remaining pews and some green upholstered chairs with metal framed chairs upholstered in neutral-coloured fabric; the lowering of the timber pew platforms to create a level floor in the nave; the removal of some of the chancel furniture; new lighting and audio-visual equipment; and various repairs. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the majority of the items, but was not prepared for the lectern and reader's desk to be removed, being part of the church's set of liturgical furniture. He also required that once the worn carpet on the chancel step had been removed, the step should remain uncovered.

This judgment relates to five churches: St Michael and All Angels, Bexhill; All Saints, Danehill; St Matthew, St Leonards-on-Sea; St Mary, Balcombe;  and St John the Evangelist, Upper St Leonard. Each church had suffered lead theft. Four churches applied for faculties, and one for dispensation from faculty, to replace the roofing. The proposed replacement roofing in each case was Decothene (liquid plastic) or GRP. The Chancellor granted faculties and the requested dispensation from faculty.

The issue was as to whether refusal to grant an application to exhume and move a dead body would breach the applicant's human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The court decided that, although the refusal to exhume may interfere with the applicant's human rights, such an interference could be valid under the terms of the ECHR

Cyril Jones was buried in the churchyard of St. Margaret Orford in 1990. His widow, Esther, who died in 2015, was buried in Fox Covert Cemetery. Mrs. Jones, during her lifetime, realised that there would be no room for her to be buried with her husband, and she had expressed a strong wish to her family that she should be buried in the cemetery and that the family should arrange for her husband's remains to be moved and buried with her. The Chancellor granted a faculty for exhumation on the basis that "Mrs. Jones widow made a mistake in interring her late husband's remains in a full garden, a mistake which she regretted almost from the outset; secondly, that Mrs Jones delayed seeking exhumation on the grounds of her own personal belief that she felt that such would be inappropriate in her lifetime; and thirdly, there is now a desire to create a family grave."

This was an interim judgment relating to a petition whereby the petitioner sought authority to have the remains of her father, who died in 1976, exhumed and cremated, and then interred with the cremated remains of her mother, who died in 2016. It was proposed that the remains of the petitioner's parents should be taken and buried in a cemetery in Scotland

This judgment should be read in conjunction with In the matter of David Bell deceased [2016] ECC She 3, which was an interim judgment, where the Chancellor requested further evidence before making a decision as to whether to allow the exhumation and cremation of the remains of the petitioner's father, who died in 1976, and the interment of those remains

The petitioner, whose mother had died recently, wished to exhume his father's cremated remains from the parish where his father had spent his early childhood, and to inter the cremated remains of both his parents in a plot in the grounds of Rotherham Crematorium, opposite which his parents had lived for 45 years. During her lifetime the petitioner's mother had regretted her decision to have her husband's remains interred in the parish where he lived as a boy and had expressed the wish that her remains and those of her husband should be buried together in the cemetery they both knew so well. The Chancellor decided that this was a case where an exception should be made to the general rule against exhumation, and granted a faculty: "I consider that the reasons for granting it satisfy the Blagdon test of being exceptional and the Alsager test of there being a good and proper reason such that most right thinking members of the church would agree. I have cautioned myself against importing or introducing a concept of the remains of a deceased person being generally portable."

The deceased had been buried in a line of graves next to the churchyard footpath. It had been the practice for some years that bodies were interred with their heads to the west, next to the footpath, and their feet to the east (in accordance with the traditional practice), but that memorials were placed at the foot of each grave and facing the footpath. The petitioners were unhappy that the memorial to their relative was at the foot of the grave, and applied for permission to move the memorial to the head of the grave. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty: " ... it does not seem appropriate to me to grant the Petition because by doing so I would be interfering with a reasonable policy adopted by the PCC and ... imposed upon the relatives of all the other deceased buried in the area."

The petitioner applied for the exhumation of his father’s remains, in order that they might be buried in another burial ground with the remains of his mother, who died in 2017. The petitioner’s father had died 27 years previously. His widow, until her death, had frequently complained about the churchyard where her husband was buried as being overgrown. The situation was made worse by the installation 22 years previously of a gas governor site next to the grave, which became noisy and at times gave off fumes, which distressed the petitioner’s mother. Before she died, she expressed a wish that on her death her late husband’s remains should be exhumed and interred with her remains elsewhere. The Chancellor concluded reluctantly that he could find no exceptional circumstances to justify an exhumation. There had been no mistake in the place of interment of the petitioner’s father; 22 years had elapsed since the installation of the gas governor site; and a mistake of law on the part of the petitioner, that he did not realise until recently that it was possible to exhume remains, would not entitle the petition to succeed.

The petitioner wished to erect a memorial on his wife's grave. The proposed design included a design of a rose in gold, red and green. The Chancellor decided that in this particular case he would allow gold lettering and the design of the rose, provided that the rose was only coloured gold.