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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 priest in charge, a churchwarden and the Chairman of the Tutbury War Memorials Preservation Committee petitioned for a faculty to place two metal wreath holders near to the war memorial in the churchyard. Historic England and the Parish Council objected, the former becoming a party opponent. Historic England felt that the proposed structures were not of sufficient aesthetic merit for the churchyard of the Grade I listed church. The Chancellor, however, was satisfied that what was proposed was of an appropriate quality, and accordingly he granted a faculty.

The petitioner sought a confirmatory faculty to permit the retention of some kerbs and slate chippings which were introduced at the grave of his late father without the prior authority of a faculty. The petitioner later gave notice that he wished to withdraw his petition. In his judgment, the Chancellor granted leave to withdraw the petition and stated that, as a consequence, a retrospective faculty could not be granted; the kerbs and chippings should be removed to a secure place and, if the kerbs and chippings were not removed by the petitioner within 6 weeks, the churchwardens could remove them and dispose of them as they wished.

The petitioner wished to place inside the church a memorial to his parents, Leslie Allison Godfree and Kathleen ("Kitty") Godfree. Kitty Godfree won the Wimbledon Ladies Championship in 1924 and 1926, and she and her husband were both doubles champions. Kitty's remains were buried in the churchyard. The Parochial Church Council objected. Since the end of the First World War no plaques have been installed in St . Mary's and the PCC did not see any reason to make an exception for the Godfrees, which might set a precedent for others to try to follow. The Chancellor determined that there was a sufficient degree of exceptionality to justify allowing the proposed memorial. Kitty Godfree's achievements were of general public interest. He granted a faculty, subject to the proposed instcription being shortened.

The parish priest sought a direction from the Chancellor as to whether it was permissible, within the diocesan churchyards regulations, to allow a memorial inscription which included Chinese characters. The Chancellor determined that, notwithstanding the recent decision in Re St. Giles Exhall [2020] ECC Cov 1, that the Irish expression, 'In ár gcroíthe go deo', could only appear on a headstone if it was accompanied by its English translation, ‘in our hearts forever’, it was appropriate to include a phrase in a foreign language, without a translation, provided that the phrase did not offend Christian doctrine or teaching. The Chancellor therefore made a declaration giving appropriate guidance to the clergy of the diocese as an addendum to the churchyards regulations.

The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for a memorial which was outside the diocesan churchyards regulations in a number of aspects, including: the design in the shape of a double heart; the stone wider than the maximum permitted under the regulations; polished blue granite; a green and white floral motif.

The Petitioner sought a faculty to erect in Maughold churchyard, forthwith and before his death, a memorial in the shape of a Buddhist stupa. The memorial was to include the inscription: 'He wanted green dandelions', a statement described as a Buddhist 'koan', an illogical statement designed to aid meditation. The Vicar General refused to grant a faculty to permit the petitioner to place the stupa in the churchyard in advance of his death, and stated that the inscription would have to be considered when and if an application for a faculty was made after the Petitioner's death.

The husband and wife petitioners sought permission to include on a memorial to the wife's father the words 'Dad' and 'Pap' . The Chancellor issued a judgment in which he refused permission, as he considered that informal terms of address were not generally suitable for use as a public record on a memorial. And whilst there were a few examples of similar words being used in other parts of the churchyard (none near the grave in question), the Chancellor took the view that so few breaches of the churchyards regulations did not justify allowing further breaches. However, following further representations from the petitioners, that there were already 34 examples in the churchyard of the use of informal descriptions, the Chancellor issued a revised judgment in which he gave permission for the use of the informal descriptions in this case.

The petitioner applied for a a confirmatory faculty permitting the continued presence in the churchyard of a memorial made of white marble 55 centimetres high in the shape of a cross, with some heart motifs and a brass plaque on it. The memorial did not comply with the churchyard regulations.  Neither the Diocesan Advisory Committee nor the Parochial Church Council approved of the memorial. The Chancellor dismissed the petition and directed that the stone should be removed by the petitioner within 2 months, in default of which the stone should be removed by the incumbent and churchwardens. However, the Chancellor gave the petitioner 14 days in which to apply in writing with reasons why the order should not be enforced and that the dismissal of the petition should remain on hold in the meantime.

The petitioner's late father had been buried in the churchyard in 2000. Her mother died in 2017, and the petitioner wished to carry out her mother's wishes to have kerbs placed around her father's grave and her mother's ashes scattered on the gravel. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to authorise kerbs and gravel to be placed on the grave. Although there were some other graves with kerbs in the churchyard, the grave in question was next to the footpath and the first in a long line of graves with no kerbs, and kerbs would make maintenance of the churchyard more difficult. The Chancellor also refused to allow the scattering of ashes, as being contrary to the churchyards regulations and Canon B 38 (4)(a).  Also, the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 1992 refers to the “burial” of cremated remains.

The Chancellor declined to allow the addition of an inscription on a floor tile in the sanctuary of the church in memory of a former parish clerk, but instead allowed a memorial to be placed on the wall at the west end of the nave, opposite a plaque in memory of another former parish clerk.