Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Miscellaneous

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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.

Faculty granted for the installation of a projector and screen in a Grade I listed Georgian church, the screen to be housed in a box across the sanctuary arch.

The proposal was to sell to the British Museum a valuable fifteenth century silver cup which had been used as a chalice, but which in recent years had been on loan to the Museum. There was one party opponent. The Chancellor granted a faculty permitting the sale of the cup on condition that it would be sold only to the British Museum. He directed that a photographic record of the cup be made, along with a short history and that it should be displayed in the church. He also directed as a condition of the faculty that a copy of the cup be made for liturgical use.

Faculty granted for the installation of solar panels on the south side of the roof of an unlisted church built in 1940 in the Arts & Crafts style.

Faculty granted for the installation of a handrail to the wall of the spiral staircase leading to the ringing chamber of the church tower, the handrail to be made of polypropylene with an outer rope covering. A similar handrail had previously been fitted without authority and had been removed by direction of the Commissary General on health and safety grounds, on an application of the Archdeacon, due to poor fixings.

Faculty granted for repairs to tower louvres. One objector with reservations about the operation of the faculty system and as to the quality of works commissioned by the Parochial Church Council. Chancellor satisfied that the works were needed and that the proposed manner of performing them was appropriate.

The Petitioners sought a Faculty to replace the existing tower clock dial with one made from Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) and restoration of the existing clock hands and dial motion works. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not support the proposal to replace the clock dial with one made of GRP. Historic England also opposed the proposed GRP dial, which they claimed would be harmful to the significance and architectural and historic interest of the Grade I listed building through the loss of historic fabric. The Chancellor determined not to grant a faculty.

The Chancellor granted a faculty, firstly, to give retrospective approval to the internal redecoration of the church already carried out and, secondly, to permit the disposal of miscellaneous artefacts from the church, including a bier, a 'spare' reredos, a number of redundant pews and a side altar. The Chancellor dealt with the matter by written representations, rather than by a hearing, as he considered that none of the items could be described as a 'church treasure'.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to allow the installation of a projector screen in a housing over the chancel arch of the church and a fixed projector, to replace the existing arrangement of erecting a portable screen and placing a portable projector on a flower stand in the pews. He based his decision on the grounds of visibility and safety. The Chancellor was satisfied that, "The impact on the appearance of the church will be modest and the benefits to be obtained by the proposed works are sufficient to overcome the presumption against change."