Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Memorials

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Request for a memorial to a six weeks old infant, the design including an infant lying in a crib, several stars, and doves bearing olive branches. Per Chancellor: "In the tragic and exceptional circumstances of this case, an exceptional response is called for. I have no hesitation is approving the petition."

Confirmatory Faculty refused for memorial introduced into the churchyard without authority, the memorial being in contravention of the Churchyard Rules.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission wished to replace a memorial to an airman from the local airfield, who with his fellow crewmen had died during the Second World War. The crew had all been buried together in the churchyard. The reason for wanting to change the memorial was that the original bore an inscribed cross, whilst the deceased was found to be of Jewish descent. The Chancellor decided that it would not normally be appropriate to allow in a churchyard a memorial bearing a Star of David, or a symbol of any other religion inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church of England, but he determined that there were exceptional circumstances in the present case to justify permitting a Star of David to be inscribed on the proposed replacement memorial.

Faculty refused for memorial inscription including the words “Finally fell off his perch” and “It’s only rock and roll”.

The Caister Joint Burial Committee proposed to remove and relocate all memorials from an old section of the parish cemetery, to allow for an ordered reuse of that area for further burials. There were objections from two relatives of persons buried in the 1890s. The Chancellor determined that the petitioners’ need to clear an area for reuse must outweigh the wishes of the objectors, but directed that the two memorials concerned should be carefully relocated to the boundary of the cemetery.

The Faculty Petition related to a proposed memorial to be placed inside the church. The Chancellor decided that it was inappropriate for the proposed inscription to refer to the grandparents of the person in whose memory the memorial was to be erected. The Petitioner would not accept the omission of the reference to grandparents. The Chancellor accordingly declined to grant a Faculty.

The petitioners sought to place a tablet in the churchyard to commemorate two interments in the same plot in 2005 and 2007. Tablets had been allowed for a short period in the 1960s, but since then the Parochial Church Council had adhered to a policy of not allowing further tablets, in order to preserve the open grassed appearance of the churchyard. In 2011, a Faculty had been granted to authorise a memorial wall on which plaques could be placed to commemorate those whose cremated remains have been interred in the churchyard since 2010. The incumbent and Churchwardens objected to a further plaque being placed in the churchyard. Whilst of the view that the policy of the PCC was reasonable and should normally be adhered to, the Chancellor felt there were exceptional circumstances in this case, as the plot in question was the only cremation plot without a tablet in a row of plots where tablets had been placed in the 1960s. Accordingly, a Faculty was granted.