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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022



The cemetery has two lodges. One has been used for many years as a private residence, and the other as Council offices. The land on which the lodges were built is not consecrated, but the immediately adjacent land used as garden is consecrated. The local Council wished to sell both lodges for use as private residences with gardens. The Chancellor determined that the consecrated pieces of land to be used as gardens (which contained a number of recorded burials, but none within the last 100 years) could not lawfully be sold by the Council, but the Chancellor was willing to grant a faculty to authorise the granting of licences by the Council for the two pieces of land to be used as gardens.

A bench had been introduced into the churchyard in 2002 to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee. In June 2021 the bench had been painted in rainbow colours, without consent, by a small group of people intending to show support for the National Health Service, in view of the association of the rainbow with the NHS, which had arisen during the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. The priest-in-charge sought a confirmatory faculty to retain the bench as painted. The Chancellor was not persuaded by the arguments for retention of the rainbow colours. He refused to grant a faculty and ordered that the bench should be re-painted or re-stained as soon as possible: "I have to consider the legal situation regarding this bench and also the thoughts, feelings and emotions of all users of the churchyard, not just those who support the significant change that was carried out without permission".

The Chancellor considered two petitions relating to the disused burial ground of Holy Trinity Church Hull, now Hull Minster. The proposals related to part of the burial ground being used for widening of the A63 main road in Hull at a difficult junction, and included the excavation of human remains; analysis of a large sample of the remains; the reinterment of the remains; the re-siting of memorials; rebuilding of the boundary wall of the burial ground; and landscaping. There was one objection from a lady whose forbears were buried in the part of the burial ground which would be affected by the road-widening. The Chancellor was satisfied that a good case had been made out in terms of public benefit and authorised the issue of the faculties sought.

In 2007 the Parochial Church Council passed a resolution implementing a policy of restricting the interment of ashes in the closed churchyard to those of people on the electoral roll at their death and whose names has been on the roll continuously for at least the last ten years; also that no further memorial stones should be permitted. The petitioner wished to have his wife's cremated remains interred in a new plot and a memorial plaque placed over the plot. The petitioner's wife had been on the electoral roll for three years, but the family had worshipped at the church for many years and members of the family were buried in the churchyard, with the burials marked by memorials. The Chancellor stated that the PCC's policy could not override his discretion and granted a faculty for the interment and memorial.

The proposals were for a major re-ordering of the churchyard, which included the removal of a section of the 19th century churchyard wall included in the Grade I listing of the church, the creation of a piazza with seating and a new parking area. The reason for the proposed removal of a section of the wall was to open the church up to the adjoining public square, so as to allow for greater community use of the square and churchyard. The Victorian Society objected strongly to the removal of the wall, but did not wish to be a party opponent. Looking at the wider context of a growing church and a developing and culturally growing city, the Chancellor determined that the significant potential benefits of the scheme to the church and community would outweigh the moderate loss which would be caused by the development.

This judgment is supplemental to the judgments in two earlier faculty applications relating to a project by Highways England ("HE") to widen the highway next to the churchyard. The first faculty, allowed for archaeological works to be carried out in that part of the churchyard required for road-widening. The second faculty allowed for landscaping works to be carried out. In addition, HE had been given licence to occupy part of the churchyard, but the licence had expired in March 2021. Since then, HE had been carrying out further preliminary groundworks not covered by the licence. They now sought an interim faculty to continue with works under a Development Consent Order, pending the completion of a Pastoral Scheme to transfer the land to HE. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The church is surrounded on three sides by iron railings with a bar at the top surmounted by finials in the shape of a fleur-de-lys. In 2014 a child climbed the fence in an attempt to recover a frisbee, which had flown into the churchyard. The child slipped and impaled his head on one of the finials, causing damage to his jaw. The PCC sought to remove the risk of another similar incident by seeking permission to place a bar across the tops of the finials. Notwithstanding that the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not approve the proposal, but suggested alternatives, the Chancellor granted a faculty.

The priest-in-charge and churchwardens sought permission to reuse for burials three specific areas of the churchyard where there were no memorials and no evidence of recent burials. The Chancellor considered that it was appropriate to grant a faculty to allow reburial, rather than have the churchyard closed for burials after the remaining space for five new graves in the currently used part of the churchyard had been filled. As it appeared that the risk of encountering human remains was greatest in area 3, the Chancellor directed that areas 1 and 2 should be used first. The Chancellor added a number of other conditions to the grant of the faculty.

Faculty granted for the erection of metal railings surmounted by Raptor anti-scaling barrier on the north and west sides of the churchyard, as a security measure to prevent further lead thefts.

The Court of Arches held that, where a local authority was responsible for a closed churchyard, a parish council had sufficient interest to intervene in faculty proceedings concerning the laying flat of memorials there. Where memorials had been laid flat, the duty on the local authority to maintain the churchyard included an obligation to take into account the safety of memorials and the appearance of the churchyard, but a district council was under no duty to reinstate memorials it had laid flat. (This case is fully reported at [20o9] PTSR 968.)