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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 20 January 2022

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The Chancellor considered four applications for faculties to reserve graves in the churchyard. The Chancellor was concerned that there were very few grave spaces left unoccupied, and that the Parochial Church Council had already applied for closure of the churchyard in six months time, which he considered premature. After discussing the approach of other Chancellors to applications for the reservation of graves, the Chancellor decided to grant reservations in two of the present applications, where the applicants were in their 60s and 70s, they were longstanding residents, and they had strong connections with the church. But he refused the other two applications, where the applicants were in their 30s and 40s, did not live in the parish and had little connection with the church. The Chancellor did not consider that having a relative buried in the churchyard was of itself a sufficient reason to grant a faculty to reserve a grave.

The petitioner, aged 84, wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard. She did not live in the parish, but was baptised, confirmed and married at the church, and numbers of her relatives were buried in the churchyard, including her parents, grandparents and great grandparents. The Chancellor declined to grant a faculty, because there was limited grave space left; the Parochial Church Council had a policy of not supporting reservations, and they were concerned about managing a diminishing resource. However, the Chancellor felt confident that the petitioner's strong connections with the church would be properly taken into account at the time of her death.

The petitioners, husband and wife, wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard. They did not live in the parish or regularly attend the church, and therefore did not have a legal right to be buried in the churchyard. The reason for their application was that a number of relatives were buried in the churchyard. There was a limited number of grave spaces left in the churchyard. The Chancellor determined that, with few grave spaces left, the rights of the parishioners would be prejudiced by the grant of a faculty, and he therefore declined to grant one.

The petitioners, husband and wife, wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard. They did not live in the parish or attend the church, and therefore did not have a legal right to be buried in the churchyard. The reason for their application was that their son and daughter-in-law had reserved a grave next to the plot which the petitioners wished to reserve. There was a limited number of grave spaces left in the churchyard. Although the petitioners had some historic links with the parish, the Chancellor determined that, with few grave spaces left, the rights of the parishioners would be prejudiced by the grant of a faculty, and he therefore declined to grant one.

The petitioner wished to reserve a triple-depth grave for himself, his brother and his sister. The Parochial Church Council("the PCC") was opposed to the reservation of the grave, as it had maintained a policy of not supporting the reservation of gravespaces for at least forty years. The Chancellor found that there were exceptional reasons to allow the grant of a faculty: (1) the grave would be for three family members; (2) the graveyard already contained the graves of a number of members of the petitioner’s family; (3) there were concerns (undisclosed in the judgment) which were personal to the petitioner. The Chancellor also noted that, notwithstanding the policy of the PCC, members of the PCC were sympathetic to the petitioner's request.

Eltham churchyard was closed by Order in Council. The cremated remains of the petitioner's father had been interred near the west end of the church in 1961 and the interment was marked by a memorial stone measuring 18 inches by 12 inches. In 1989, the incumbent agreed with the petitioner and her mother, that their ashes could in due time be interred next to the ashes of the petitioner's father, though there was only room for one more commemoration on the memorial. The petitioner's mother died in 2020 and her cremated remains were interred under her husband's memorial stone. The petitioner sought a faculty, (1) to secure the arrangement agreed with the incumbent in 1989, so that her own cremated remains could in due time be buried next to those of her parents, (2) to permit a further stone next to the memorial to her parents; and (3) to replace the existing stone, which had weathered badly. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The petitioner, a non-parishioner, wished to reserve a grave space in the churchyard for herself and her partner, next to the plot in which her father was buried. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. There were only 50 available spaces, and burials averaged 7 a year. The petitioner, aged 31, was unlikely to die before the remaining spaces were required within about 7 years' time by those legally entitled to be buried in the churchyard, and so a reservation would prevent parishioners being buried in the remaining spaces.

The petitioner wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard. She had lived in a house overlooking the churchyard for 51 years. Her mother was buried in the churchyard and it was proposed that in due time her father would be buried in the same grave as her mother. In February 2017 the Parochial Church Council had resolved unanimously that it would not support

This judgment related to two separate faculty petitions by husband and wife for the reservation of adjoining grave spaces. The couple, in their early to mid-seventies, were resident in the parish, the wife had served on the Parochial Church Council for 25 years and as a churchwarden for 10 years, and the couple worshipped in the church and financially supported it. It was estimated that there was sufficient burial space in the churchyard for at least 15 years. A former churchwarden objected to the two particular plots being reserved, claiming that one of the plots contained a Victorian grave and the other was likely to contain the remains of a medieval cross. However, the objector was unable to produce any evidence of his claims. The Chancellor requested that the plots should rodded, and it was found that there was nothing to obstruct burials. In view of this and the petitioners' strong connections with the church, the Chancellor granted faculties limited to a period of 20 years.

he petitioner wished to reserve a grave next to that of her late husband. Since before the interment of the petitioner's late husband, the Parochial Church Council had had an informal policy of not supporting any further reservations of graves, in view of the small number of available grave spaces left in the detached burial ground. The Chancellor decided that this was not a case where there were special circumstances to justify him in acting against the established policy of the PCC. He therefore refused to grant a faculty to reserve the grave next to the petitioner's late husband's grave. However, in a note attached to the petition, the Chancellor recorded that he had had a discussion with the parish priest with a view to seeing what could be done by way of pastoral provision. The parish priest agreed that the gravespace next to the grave of the petitioner's husband would be the last space to be used in this burial ground, unless before then it came to be used for the interment of the remains of the petitioner.