Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Reordering

To search all judgments, go to the Judgments page.

Display:
Sort By:

A judgment dealing with a matter outstanding from Re Holy Trinity Wandsworth [2012], namely the repositioning of the font and the baptistry screen. Re Duffield discussed. Faculty granted.

The Dean of Arches granted to the Victoria Society leave to appeal on restricted grounds in respect of a judgment by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Peterborough relating to reordering proposals for the church of St. Botolph Longthorpe.

There had been a scheme for reordering parts of the church, most of which had already been approved by the Chancellor. The only outstanding item was the proposed introduction of carpets in the nave. The Diocesan Advisory Committee was of the opinion that carpet was not appropriate for a Grade II* church, "being too domestic in appearance". Historic England (though it did not wish to be a party opponent) objected that the introduction of carpet would be harmful to the significance of the building. The Chancellor was however satisfied that the petitioners had made out a good case for the introduction of carpet and did not feel that it would have the adverse impact claimed by Heritage England. He therefore granted a faculty.

Faculty granted for the removal of a pew platform and four pews from the west end of the church, the Chancellor being satisfied that there were "compelling justifications on the basis of liturgical freedom, pastoral well-being and putting the church to other viable uses consistent with its sacred character."

The petitioners wished to remove four rows of pews from the west end of the nave, in order to allow greater community use of the church. The church had a mixture of medieval and Victorian pews. The Chancellor granted a faculty to allow the removal of the pews as requested, with the exception of one medieval pew and frontal.


The priest-in-charge and churchwardens sought a faculty for a reordering of the interior of the Grade II listed church. The works included: the removal of some pews; a carpeted nave dais; removal of the riddel posts; upholstered chairs;and other items. The Chancellor, having considered the approach recommended in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013] Fam 158, decided that " ... any harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest is outweighed by the proven needs of the parish ... the determinative feature seems to be that all these proposals are wholly reversible."

The proposed works comprised the construction of an extension at the west end of the south elevation of the church, to provide a lobby, toilets and kitchen, and the relocation of the font. The Chancellor determined that the public benefit of the changes to the Grade II listed church building would outweigh such harm to its significance as might result from the works.

Appeal allowed against refusal of Faculty for the relocation of the chancel screen.

The petition proposed various items of reordering. The Victorian Society had initial reservations about the removal of all but two pews and the replacement of the pews with upholstered chairs, but later withdrew their objection in favour of solid wood (unupholstered) chairs. The Society also objected to the carpeting of the nave and the erection of a partition to create a meeting room, WC and kitchen. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to a condition that the replacement chairs should be of solid wood and not upholstered.

An archive of judgments is gradually being built up. Diocesan Registrars and Chancellors who have judgments (recent or not) which are not already listed on this web site are invited to send them to the email address on the Home page.

A more comprehensive collection of Consistory Court judgments is held at the Middle Temple Library.