Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Miscellaneous

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There was a petition by the Vicar and Churchwardens seeking permission to convert a fixed lavabo in the sanctuary of a nineteenth century church for use as an aumbry. The Chancellor granted a Faculty. Although the petition was unopposed, the Chancellor decided to give a detailed written judgment, in order to explain his reasoning, particularly with regard to the questions raised in the Court of Arches judgment Re St. Alkmund Duffield, and their application to the subject matter of the present petition.

The Petition contained proposals for the complete re-wiring and the installation of new and emergency lighting within the Grade II listed church. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposed works would not alter the Grade II church to such an extent as to be likely to affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and he accordingly granted a faculty.

Faculty granted for the felling of two trees which were causing damage to a nearby house.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to permit the loan to the Chichester Cathedral Treasury of a figure of Christ, believed to have been part of a crucifix made in Limoges in the 13th century. The Chancellor had previously granted an interim faculty allowing the Archdeacon to remove the figure to a place of safety, following the theft of the figure and its subsequent recovery by the Police.

The Vicar and Churchwardens sought a confirmatory faculty for the permanent disposal of 100 kneelers already removed from the church. (At the time of removal, the consent of the Archdeacon would have been required under the then diocesan 'de minimis' rules but, since the coming into effect of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 on 1 January 2016, the consent of the Archdeacon to a disposal of kneelers would not be required.) The Chancellor saw no grounds for refusing a faculty. Faculty therefore granted.

Faculty granted for the installation of six stained glass windows in the south porch of the church, in memory of a parishioner.

Faculty granted for cross above pulpit. Objector was a member of the PCC who voted against the proposal. Chancellor held that the will of the majority of the PCC should prevail.

Faculty granted for a new audio-visual system for a Grade I church, to include two monitor screens mounted on mobile trolleys; two monitors screens mounted on poles; and three monitor screens mounted on the walls.

The Parochial Church Council applied for a faculty to authorise the sale of a helmet which, since the early 17th century had hung over the tomb of the first Duke of Bedford. The Chancellor determined that he was unable to grant a faculty, for two reasons. Firstly, the PCC had no title to the helmet, as it belonged in law to the descendants of the first Duke of Bedford. Secondly, section 3 of the Faculty Jurisdiction Measure 1964 provides: "A Court may grant a Faculty to which this section applies (1) although the owner of the monument withholds his consent thereto or cannot be found after reasonable efforts to find him have been made... (3) no faculty to which this section applies shall be granted if the owner of the monument in question withholds his consent thereto, but satisfies the court that he is within a reasonable time willing and able to remove the monument … and to exercise such works as the Court may require to repair any damage to the fabric". In this case there was no evidence at the hearing as to who was or were the heir or heirs at law, and no evidence as to whether they gave or withheld their consent.