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

Index by Dioceses of 2021 judgments on this web site.

Memorials

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The deceased had been buried in a line of graves next to the churchyard footpath. It had been the practice for some years that bodies were interred with their heads to the west, next to the footpath, and their feet to the east (in accordance with the traditional practice), but that memorials were placed at the foot of each grave and facing the footpath. The petitioners were unhappy that the memorial to their relative was at the foot of the grave, and applied for permission to move the memorial to the head of the grave. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty: " ... it does not seem appropriate to me to grant the Petition because by doing so I would be interfering with a reasonable policy adopted by the PCC and ... imposed upon the relatives of all the other deceased buried in the area."

The petitioner wished to erect a memorial on his wife's grave. The proposed design included a design of a rose in gold, red and green. The Chancellor decided that in this particular case he would allow gold lettering and the design of the rose, provided that the rose was only coloured gold.

The petitioner wished to add an inscription and an etching of the ship HMS Newcastle to the memorial of her mother (who died in 2016), following the interment of her father in the same grave in 2020, and also to place kerbs around the grave. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the inscription (with minor amendments) and the etching, but not for the kerbs, which were not permitted by the churchyard regulations. The fact that some kerbs had been place unlawfully in the churchyard did not justify allowing further kerbs.

A widow sought a faculty to authorise the laying of kerbs and chippings and a stone vase on her late husband's grave, which had previously been used for the interment of the remains of his great-uncle. The Parochial Church Council objected, but did not become a party opponent. The Chancellor decided that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty, even though the proposals were outside the churchyards regulations. The grave had previously had kerbs, which had been moved 20 years earlier, and the incumbent at the time had assured the lady that there would be no problem in reinstating kerbs after the next burial in the grave; and there were already numerous examples close to the grave of kerbs, chipping and vases, so to refuse to allow another set of kerbs would be unreasonable in the circumstances.

Request for a memorial to a six weeks old infant, the design including an infant lying in a crib, several stars, and doves bearing olive branches. Per Chancellor: "In the tragic and exceptional circumstances of this case, an exceptional response is called for. I have no hesitation is approving the petition."

The petitioner wished to apply fine shingle or fine gravel to the area within the kerbs of two graves, for the purpose of weed suppression. The Parochial Church Council ("PCC") opposed the proposal, as the Churchyard Regulations provided that “kerbs, railings or chippings, whether raised or at ground level, are not permitted", and the PCC had been endeavouring to enforce the regulations. They would have preferred the kerbs to be removed. The Commissary General considered the factors in favour and against allowing the proposal and decided, on balance, to grant a faculty: there was no petition for the removal of the kerbs; the introduction of fine shingle would not make mowing or strimming more difficult; the appearance of fine shingle was more natural than chippings; and the fine shingle would slow down the growth of weeds.

The Chancellor considered two applications for faculties for proposed memorials, both of black polished stone with kerbs. One design incorporated a painted scene of a fisherman against a sunset, and the other featured a stained glass insert with a design of an angel. The Parochial Church Council supported the applications, but the Diocesan Advisory Committee recommended refusal in each case. The Chancellor refused to grant faculties. He determined that the proposed designs would be harmful both to the character of the churchyard, and to the contribution it makes to the setting of the Grade I listed church.

The petitioner applied for a retrospective faculty to authorise the installation on a grave in the churchyard of what was described in the petition as a “grey plastic border and white gravel”, a memorial different from those permitted by the Diocese of Oxford Churchyard Regulations 2016. The Chancellor did not regard as determinative the petitioner's contention that there were already a number of other graves with kerbing in the churchyard. The Parochial Church Council objected to the grant of a faculty, on the grounds that kerbs made maintenance more difficult, and that they had already been trying to get other families to remove similar embellishments on graves. The Chancellor determined that the petitioner had not made a good case for a departure from the churchyards regulations and he refused to grant a faculty.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise kerbs to be placed around a grave. The installation of kerbs was outside the diocesan churchyards regulations, but in this particular case the grave concerned was surrounded by graves with kerbs, such that kerbs 'appear to be the norm, rather than the exception'.

The petitioner wished to place in the churchyard a horizontal memorial tablet measuring 18in. by 18 in. to mark the interment of her late husband's cremated remains. Originally, her proposal requested the inclusion of two flower holders in the tablet, and an additional hole for a 'solar stick'. She also wished to have an inscription 15 lines long. The incumbent and Parochial Church Council ("PCC") objected to the proposal. It was customary to allow only one flower holder, no solar sticks, and an inscription giving dates and a brief biblical quote or words of comfort. Following correspondence, the petitioner amended her proposal to include only one flower holder, no solar stick and an inscription 10 lines long. To accommodate and support the PCC's policy, the Chancellor settled an inscription five lines long, which he would find acceptable. He allowed the petitioner 28 days in which to decide whether to accept the inscription, in which case a faculty would be granted. If the petitioner did not accept the inscription, the petition would be dismissed.