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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



After the death of Mr. John Parnaby, his mother commissioned a memorial and was reimbursed the cost from Mr. Parnaby's estate. The petitioner was Mr. Parnaby's partner and had lived with him for 25 years. She was upset that her connection to Mr. Parnaby was not mentioned in the inscription on the stone and petitioned for permission to amend the inscription to refer to their relationship, but without any consultation with the Parnaby family, owing to a rift. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, on the basis that, as stated by the Chancellor in the judgment in Re St. Giles Sheldon [2022] ECC Bir 1, " ... the Anglican teaching concerning graves is that they should not be a focus for discord and should not be disturbed unless there is clear reason that should happen".

The petitioner requested permission for a memorial in the form of a small York Stone boulder with a slate plaque on its front face, in memory of her late husband. The memorial was ostensibly outside the churchyard regulations and the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not approve it. After considering the principles to be applied when deciding whether to allow a memorial outside the regulations, the Chancellor decided that this was an appropriate case in which he should grant a faculty.

The petitioner sought permission to add kerbs and chippings to a memorial on an existing grave. The reasons given were: (1) the petitioner wished to have the name of his late wife and in due time the names of his brother and himself recorded on the grave, there being insufficient space on the existing memorial; (2) chippings secured by kerbs would eliminate or minimise recent invasive damage from moles; (3) there was a precedent for kerbs and chippings on neighbouring graves. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, but indicated that he would look favourably on an application for a faculty to replace the existing stone with a larger stone which would have room for additional names.

The Vicar and Churchwardens wished to move a memorial from inside the church to the County Museum next door to the church and erect a replacement memorial in the church. The reasons for the proposal were, firstly, concern that, in the current social climate,  the wording of the original memorial might offend some visitors to the church, as it referred to the person commemorated - John Gordon, a plantation overseer (and later owner) in Jamaica - who repulsed a rebellion of 'a large body of negroes' in Jamaica in 1760; secondly, that the continued presence of the memorial in the church would be harmful to the mission and message of today’s church. Some consultees favoured removal of the memorial, some favoured retention with interpretative material. The Chancellor determined that in this case the public benefit to be derived from the removal of the memorial, subject to its replacement with a memorial omitting details which might cause offence, would outweigh the harm caused.

A proposed memorial comprised an upright stone with a 'cover slab' supported on kerbs. The parish priest did not support the proposal, because (a) no similar type of memorial had been approved for very many years, (b) the memorial did not comply with the diocesan guidelines, and (c) the memorial would inhibit maintenance. The PCC objected on the grounds that (a) the memorial would create maintenance problems and (b) it might set a precedent that others might wish to follow. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty as requested, but said that he would approve the upright memorial element of the proposal.

The parents of a stillborn baby wished to erect on their baby's grave a heart-shaped blue pearl granite stone memorial measuring 27 inches by 21 inches by 3 inches. Stars were to be etched into the edge of the memorial and a heart etched underneath the proposed inscription. There were three other heart-shaped memorials in the churchyard, which had not been authorised by faculty in accordance with the churchyards regulations, but the Chancellor decided that this did not justify him granting a faculty for a further heart-shaped memorial.

The Huddersfield & District Army Veterans Association applied for permission to remove of the memorial cross of the Association’s founder, who died in 1907, from the churchyard  to the Association’s military plot at Edgerton Cemetery, Huddersfield. At some time in the past, the memorial had been moved from the founder's grave to the churchyard wall, to facilitate the laying of a path over the grave. The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty: 'I am not convinced either that the removal of the Monument is necessary to celebrate the memory of Major Welsh at the Huddersfield plot, or that the benefits in doing so would outweigh the harm in removing it from St Sebastian’s churchyard.'

The executor of a widow wished to carry out the late widow's wishes by erecting on her grave a memorial similar to that on the grave of the widow's husband in the adjacent grave. The husband's memorial stone was a polished dark grey granite stone with an asymmetrical pointed top, with a carving of a church window on it and with gold lettering. Notwithstanding that the diocesan churchyards regulations did not permit a parish priest to allow a polished stone with gold lettering, the Chancellor, in the special circumstances of this case, allowed a matching memorial.

The petitioner wished to erect a memorial to her late father. The design of the memorial had a number of features outside the churchyard regulations. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposed use of the words “Sunrise” and Sunset”, the proposed tablet at the foot of the grave or the inscription “See you on the other side.” Whilst the priest-in-charge and Parochial Church Council would not normally agree to a “non-standard” memorial, they were prepared to make an exception in the present case as there was a similar family memorial nearby, some three plots away. They also seem to have taken into consideration the fact that the grave is about 90 yards from the church, and at the edge of the churchyard. The Chancellor granted a faculty approving the memorial, apart from the proposed tablet at the foot of the grave.

The Petitioner applied for permission to erect a memorial to her son, who had been tragically run over and killed by a motor car. The memorial as installed bore features which were not mentioned in the memorial application - black stone; gold lettering; a photo plaque; the insignia of a football club; and the club colours (red and white) painted in alternate stripes along the edges of the memorial. The Chancellor directed that the edges of the memorial should be painted black, and the photo plaque should be removed or replaced with an incised, uncoloured portrait. In default of the amendments being made within three months, the Chancellor directed that the memorial should be removed from the churchyard.