Judgment Search

Downloads

Click on one of the following to view and/or download the relevant document:

Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 24 November 2021

Index by Dioceses of 2021 judgments on this web site, as at 24 November 2021

Memorials

Display:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission wished to replace a memorial to an airman from the local airfield, who with his fellow crewmen had died during the Second World War. The crew had all been buried together in the churchyard. The reason for wanting to change the memorial was that the original bore an inscribed cross, whilst the deceased was found to be of Jewish descent. The Chancellor decided that it would not normally be appropriate to allow in a churchyard a memorial bearing a Star of David, or a symbol of any other religion inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church of England, but he determined that there were exceptional circumstances in the present case to justify permitting a Star of David to be inscribed on the proposed replacement memorial.

The application was for a memorial to those who had died in the Second World War. This memorial would be placed beneath the existing memorial to those who had died in the First World War. For the reasons set out in the judgment, the Chancellor was not satisfied with the details of the proposals and he adjourned the matter, requesting that revised proposals should be submitted.

The petitioners wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial to their late mother. The memorial proposed was to be a bird bath, carved from grey, unpolished Finland granite, containing the name, and dates of birth and death of the deceased, and inscribed with the words: “The goat’s milk is sour.” (These words had been used by the family for over 30 years in times of stress, to relieve tension, and no-one had objected to them.) But the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposed design, on the basis that it might form a precedent. However, the Parochial Church Council approved the proposal, as the bird bath would be placed next to trees, where mourners had from time to time placed bird feeders. The deceased had been a great supporter of wildlife in general and birds in particular. The Deputy Chancellor decided in the particlar circumstances that it was appropriate to grant a faculty.

Faculty refused for memorial inscription including the words “Finally fell off his perch” and “It’s only rock and roll”.

The petitioner sought retrospective permission for a replacement memorial introduced into the churchyard in 2019 by a firm of stonemasons without permission being first obtained. The stonemasons had left the remains of a previous memorial on the grave (kerbs and chippings) in the undergrowth of the churchyard. The Parochial Church Council members unanimously objected to the retrospective application, because they said that the memorial would not be in keeping with the churchyard and because it was installed without permission. The Chancellor took the view that the memorial would not be out of keeping in the churchyard, that it was better than the memorial it replaced, and that it would not be appropriate to order its removal. The Chancellor considered that the stonemasons had been remiss in several aspects of this matter and decided that they should be required to pay a substantial proportion of the costs of the application.

The Chancellor granted a restitution order for the removal of a memorial which had been placed in the churchyard without permission.

The Chancellor refused to permit on a headstone a design of two intersecting triangles and a '12 spoked Dharmachakra', an Indian religious symbol, as he could not see in the design anything consistent with the three general principles of honouring the dead, comforting the living, and informing posterity, nor was there anything in the design to indicate the Christian hope of resurrection. 

The petitioners wished to install in the churchyard a memorial which was outside the churchyards regulations. It is described in the judgment as "of lawn design, with kerbstones, to be in black granite and with the addition, within the kerbs, of  a Sadshalil Grey ‘pathway to heaven’ – a curved, raised area running the length of the grave from its foot to the headstone itself". Letters of objection were received from the Rector, churchwardens, and some members of the Parochial Church Council. The petitioners argued that a number of memorials with kerbs had been introduced in the past, notwithstanding the regulations. The Chancellor, accepting the parish's desire to 'draw a line' and enforce the regulations, declined to approve the proposed memorial.

The Commonwealth Graves Commission applied for permission to erect in the churchyard a War Grave memorial to a soldier who died in 1918 of a disease acquired in France, whilst on active service. The exact position of his grave in the churchyard was unknown. But the Chancellor agreed to grant a faculty for the erection of the memorial.

In the particular circumstances of this case, the Chancellor found reasons to justify the grant of a faculty authorising a memorial of light grey Cornish granite, which is not covered by the churchyard regulations: the deceased had a connection with Cornwall; there were two Cornish light grey memorials already in the same row as the grave of the deceased, and one in the next row; and the stone was not far removed in the appearance from the majority of local stones in the churchyard.