Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Reordering

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Determination of two petitions on written representations in respect of a Victorian Grade 1 church (14 of its 15 stained glass windows designed by Edmund Burne-Jones and made by William Morris and company). The first petition sought permission to remove and dispose of two pews from the front of each side section of pews and relocate the pew frontals; to remove and dispose of three pews from the rear of each section of pews; to remove pew platform, level floor and re-carpet; to remove redundant piping from centre aisle; to remove and dispose of redundant parts of the existing sound system; to relocate sound desk to rear of pews; to install new sound desk equipment and audio-visual equipment. The second petition sought a faculty to authorise the introduction of a circular votive candle stand. Faculty granted in respect of each petition.

Faculty granted for re-ordering, including moving of font, removal of pews, building of church extension, and creation of glass-sided room within the church. Discussion of the principles to be considered concerning the siting of a font.

Petition to remove 2 pews and book boards from the west end of the nave, to re-site the font centrally in the west bay of the nave, to introduce kitchenette cupboards against the north wall of the tower, to introduce display units and cupboards at the west end of both aisles and to do various works in the vestry.

The proposals were to remove the front seats in the sanctuary; to extend the Chancel step into a semi-circle and install a moveable altar rail and locate the Side Altar as a nave altar; to remove all the wooden flooring, cut down the pews whilst retaining the pew ends, and so to make the pews moveable; and to provide ramps to run west and east along the wall line from the southwest door. Principles in Re St. Alkmund Duffield considered. Faculty granted for all items, apart from the removal of pews west of the cross aisle (except those next to the proposed ramp).

The works proposed by the petitioners included the removal of pews from the north and south aisles and the augmentation of toilet and kitchen facilities within the church. The Victorian Society objected to the removal of pews. Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013] considered. Faculty granted.

The proposals were to re-order the west end of the church, including (1) replacement of the outer west doors;  (2) relocation of the inner west screen doors to the bay of an arch between the chancel and the Lady Chapel; (3) creation of an entrance foyer at the west end with inner and outer screens and mezzanine floor above; and  (4) relocation of the font and its cover from the west end to the north aisle. Faculty granted, subject to the base of the font (designed by G.E. Street, architect of the Royal Courts of Justice) being retained, rather than replaced with a larger base, as proposed in the petition.

The Faculty petition proposed a major reordering of a Grade II* church. The Victorian Society was a party opponent. The Chancellor approved the proposals generally, concluding that the benefits would outweigh any harm to the church. However, he was not prepared to approve the proposed red upholstered chairs. He therefore gave a stay of proceedings for 28 days, to allow for the petitioners to consider the judgment and put forward an alternative proposal for the chairs, which the Chancellor might find acceptable.

An application had been made for a restoration order following the removal of four pews and replacement of some pew platform boards. Although an application had been made for an Archdeacon's Licence for temporary re-ordering, the work had been done before the Licence had been issued, and therefore before the conditions attached to the Licence were known. The pews had received some minor damage during the course of their removal. The Commissary General decided to make a restoration order in respect of the pews (but not the platform boards), but suspend it for an initial period of four months to give the PCC an opportunity of consulting the amenity societies and the Diocesan Advisory Committee and applying for a Faculty to authorise a permanent re-ordering.

Major re-ordering. Objection by the Victorian Society in relation to the physical and spatial impact of the scheme as a whole.

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