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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

Memorials

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In 2020, the Chancellor gave a judgment concerning the temporary removal of two memorials from the churchyard. There had been complaints that the inscription on each memorial contained the same allegedly offensive or derogatory word. (SeeĀ  Re St. Margaret Rottingdean [2020] ECC Chi 4) In the present case, the vicar and churchwardens applied for a faculty to authorise the re-cutting of the stones, so as to omit the offensive word from the inscriptions, and the return of the stones to the churchyard. The families of those commemorated by the stones supported the application. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The petitioners applied to reintroduce into the churchyard a memorial to their father, which had been placed on the centre of the grave of the petitioners' parents, but had been removed because it had been installed without authority. The grave already had a memorial to the petitioners' mother. The additional memorial to the petitioners' father was in the shape of a small cylinder, with names and dates around the circumference and a Maltese Cross on the top surface. The design was outside the churchyards regulations, though it was noted that most of the memorials nearby breached the regulations in some way. The Chancellor determined that "the memorial proposed is attractive and complements the original memorial in place" and he therefore granted a faculty.

The petitioners, who were the Team Rector, Team Vicar, Vice-Chair of the Parochial Church Council and a Churchwarden, sought a faculty to install a wall-mounted monument commemorating the Hoare Family of Barn Elms on the north wall of the Langton Chapel in the church. This was to replace a previous Hoare family memorial commemorating sixteen members of the Hoare family whose remains were buried in the vault of the church. The former memorial had been destroyed by a fire in the church in 1978. The Hoare family had for three centuries been benefactors of the church. However, although there were no objections to the proposal, the Chancellor felt that, in the current climate of "public interest in contested heritage issues", he had to address the issue of the connection of the Hoare family with the slave trade in the early 18th century. Having considered any potential arguments which could be raised, he decided to grant a faculty. None of the family members to be commemorated had links to the slave trade, but only a member of the family two generations earlier than the oldest of those to be commemorated.

The Chancellor refused to permit a memorial bearing the masonic symbol of a square and compasses, because he considered that "wording or symbols which give rise to a real risk of offence or upset to a significant body of those visiting the churchyard will not be permitted."

The petitioner sought permission to erect a memorial to her late father. The design comprised a tapered four-sided stone surmounted by a Celtic cross. (Her father was a Catholic of Irish descent.) The overall height of the memorial would be 43 inches. The PCC felt that the proposed stone was too tall (though the maximum height specified in the churchyards regulations was 48 inches), and that the design would be out of keeping with the rest of the memorials in the churchyard. The Chancellor considered that the design was within the regulations, and that uniformity was not to be sought in itself. Applying the test of 'suitability', he granted a faculty.

The petitioner wished to purchase and install at his own expense a new Second World War Memorial of the same design as, and to replace, the existing memorial plaque fixed to the wooden side of the lychgate at the churchyard. The plaque was made of moulded metal and it gave the name of the Petitioner's cousin as "Pat Collins". The petitioner stated, and produced evidence to show, that his cousin's proper name was Kenneth Lawrence Collins (though his nickname was "Pat") and that Kenneth had been the resident from Wychbold who had died in the Second World War. The Deputy Chancellor determined that, as the memorial was a public record, it ought to show the correct name. He therefore granted a faculty permitting an amendment to the existing memorial, if possible, failing which the memorial could be replaced with a replica showing the petitioner's cousin's name as "Kenneth L. Collins".

There was an application for a faculty to authorise a polished green granite memorial, including an etching of a rose picked out in blue. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty on the grounds that some features of the proposed memorial were outside the churchyards regulations and no good reason had been advanced for allowing an exception.

The Chancellor had previously refused permission for a polished green granite memorial stone. The petitioner had responded with a letter expressing disappointment at the Chancellor's decision. This judgment contains the Chancellor's reasons for his decision to refuse permission for the type of stone requested.

The petitioner wished to install a replacement memorial on his parents' grave. The design included images of a dove, a stairway to heaven and two swans. The inscription included a verse of poetry written by the petitioner's daughter and it ended with an x, the symbol of a kiss. There was an objection that the design would not be in keeping with the part of the churchyard where the memorial would be located. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a condition that the x should be omitted from the inscription.

The Chancellor considered three petitions relating to memorials. The first petition sought retrospective approval of a memorial (already erected) in the shape of an open book. The second petition, by the Archdeacon, sought the removal of the memorial. The third petition was for a further memorial in the shape of an open book. The Chancellor decided to authorise the first memorial and the erection of the second and to refuse the Archdeacon's petition.