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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 Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the removal from the churchyard of a tree which was in danger of causing damage to an adjoining property.

The Grade I church of St. Leonard Old Langho is closed and vested in the Churches Conservation Trust, but the churchyard remains the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council. The vicar of the parish in which the church lies applied for a retrospective faculty to authorise the retention of two benches placed in the churchyard by persons unknown without the authority of a faculty or List B approval under the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules. Retrospective approval under List B is not possible, hence the need for a faculty. The Chancellor granted a faculty, but stated that in future he would "expect any PCC to petition for the removal of any unauthorised benches which they may find within their churchyard, leaving it to the person or persons who placed each bench there to petition for its retention, and to justify their conduct in having proceeded without prior lawful authority."

Faculty granted for the removal wooden and plastic kerbs from a number of graves.

The works proposed included improvements to the churchyard paths, including step-free access to the church, and in the course of such works the carrying out of archeological works with the objective of re-excavating a structure in the churchyard found by a nineteenth century incumbent but re-buried in 1929. This structure is believed to be the remains of a Saxon church. Letters of objection from two neighbours expressed concern about the impact of the works on the adjacent lane. The Chancellor was satisfied that the improvement of the paths would enhance the churchyard, and also examining, recording and securing for the future archaeological remains of national and possible international significance justified the granting of a faculty.

The vicar and churchwardens applied for a faculty to re-use the churchyard for burials. Though the churchyard was not closed by Order in Council, burials could now only take place in existing graves. There was one objector. A hearing was held, at which the Chancellor dismissed the objector's twelve grounds of objection as having no substance, in view of which, and also of the fact that the objector had refused to have the matter dealt with by written representations, the Chancellor directed that the objector should pay the costs of the half-day hearing.

As part of the Ashford Borough Council's Ashford Snowdogs art trail, there was a proposal to place in the churchyard a statute of a brightly painted dog. There was one objector, a parishioner whose house overlooked the churchyard, who objected to the installation on aesthetic grounds. As the proposal was that the dog would only be in the churchyard for 10 days, the Commissary General considered that, in view of the community  benefits of the project, the installation's presence would be so transitory as to make the diminution of the Church’s setting insignificant. She accordingly granted a faculty allowing the installation for 10 days.

The Parish Council, which was responsible for the maintenance of the closed churchyard at Chithurst, wished to fell an ash tree, which was suffering from ash die-back, on the grounds that the disease might cause the tree to become dangerous within the next few years and cause damage to the church or passers-by. The proposal was opposed by two neighbours. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for the felling of the tree and granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to fell a holly tree in the churchyard, because the roots were damaging a table-top tomb dated 1791. They also wished to fell a failing ash tree and to reduce the crowns of two further holly trees encroaching on graves. A report by experts said that either the tomb or the holly tree next to it should be removed. There were living descendants of those commemorated by the tomb who did not want the tomb disturbed. The Chancellor decided that the preservation of the tomb in situ was more important than the preservation of the holly tree. He also agreed to the removal of the ash tree. As regards the remaining two holly trees, the Chancellor required to petitioners to take expert advice about more modest proposals for pruning the two trees.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the re-use of an area of the churchyard in which there were no memorials and where it was believed that there had been no burials for at least 75 years.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the re-use of an area of the churchyard in which there were no memorials and where it was believed that there had been no burials for at least 150 years.