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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 20 January 2022

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The petitioner wished to re-locate the headstone at the grave of her son by a small distance sideways, so that it would be aligned with what she believed to be the centre of the head of her son’s grave. The vicar and churchwardens objected on the grounds that (1) realigning the stone would make it stand out amongst other stones in the churchyard with which it would not be in line; (2) headstones were aligned with those in rows behind them “for dignity, and creating an orderly environment”; (3) the petitioner had agreed in writing to the headstone being aligned with the stones behind; and (4) allowing the petition would be seen as creating a precedent. The Chancellor did not consider the first and fourth objections as carrying much weight, but that the second and third objections did. The vicar was entitled to require such uniformity of alignment of monuments as he thought fit, within the parameters of the churchyard regulations, and the petitioner had agreed in writing to the monument being placed where it was, even if there had been a mistake in understanding on her part. The Chancellor accordingly refused to grant a faculty.

The petitioners, the rector and churchwardens, removed from the churchyard personal mementoes which had been placed on graves, and which the churchyards regulations did not allow. They then gave notice of removal, where possible advising the families concerned as to where they could collect the relevant items. The petitioners subsequently applied for a faculty for the disposal of the items not collected. There were two objectors, who became parties opponent, around 40 other written objections, and there was an online petition opposing the faculty. The Chancellor decided that the petitioners were entitled to remove the items, as required by the churchyards regulations, and that a faculty was needed for their disposal. The Chancellor therefore confirmed an earlier decision to grant a faculty, subject to there being no objections.

The widow of the former priest who died in office applied for permission to have her husband's ashes interred in a granite casket resting on a concrete slab below the base and to the west of the newly re-positioned font in the baptistery at the eastern end of the south aisle of the church and to erect a white marble plaque set within a timber surround above the casket, which would sit flush with the surrounding timber boarded floor. The Chancellor was satisfied that (1) the interment inside the church would not set a precedent, as the PCC would only support interment in church in the case of the death of a priest in office and (2) the priest's service and the affection in which he was held satisfied the test applicable to the introduction of a memorial plaque into the church.

In the late 1980s, an upright memorial had been introduced into the churchyard, and the grave had been surrounded with pre-cast concrete edging and covered with white chippings. The petitioner now wished to replace the concrete edging with stone kerbs. Although kerbs would not normally be approved, the Chancellor granted a faculty. It would be inappropriate to require the removal the concrete edging, which had been in place for over 20 years, and the new kerbs would not be any more obtrusive.

Leave to appeal granted by the Dean of the Arches in respect of a decision by the Chancellor not to allow a Gaelic inscription on a memorial unless accompanied by an English translation.

The petitioner's parents had both been born in the Irish Republic and had been active in serving the Irish community, both in Coventry and nationally. Following her mother's death, the petitioner sought a memorial, of which the significant features would be a Celtic Cross (which would extend beyond the top of the memorial) containing an emblem of the Gaelic Athletic Association,  and the Irish Gaelic words “In ár gcroíthe go deo”, meaning “In our hearts forever”. The Chancellor took the view that a cross protruding above the memorial would have had a 'jarring impact' on the churchyard as a whole and that an incised cross would be more appropriate, to which the petitioner agreed. However, the Chancellor refused to allow an inscription in Gaelic without a translation, which would be incomprehensible to most people visiting the churchyard, and might be misconstrued as a slogan or political statement. He therefore granted a faculty for a memorial with an incised cross and for the Gaelic words to be included, provided that an English translation was also inscribed.

This was an appeal against a decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Coventry (in Re St. Giles Exhall [2020] ECC Cov 1), who granted a faculty for a memorial which included a short inscription in Gaelic, but subject to a condition that there should be an English translation beneath the Gaelic inscription, to which the petitioner and her family objected. The Court of Arches heard the appeal on 24 February 2021 and  announced the same day its decision to allow the appeal, reserving its reasons to a written judgment, which was delivered on 16 June 2021.

A parishioner had died and her cremated remains were interred in the churchyard extension. The family applied to have a "desk style memorial" placed over the grave. Being informed that such a memorial would not be allowed under the Churchyards Regulations, the family agreed to a flat stone. By mistake the stonemason prepared a stone according to the original specification. On realising his error, the stonemason offered to replace the stone with a flat stone, but the
family would not allow him to do so. The Archdeacon applied for a faculty to have the desk style memorial replaced with a flat one. The Chancellor determined that it was appropriate to grant a faculty to the Archdeacon.

The Archdeacon applied for a faculty to authorise the removal from the churchyard of a "desktop" style memorial marking the interment of cremated remains, as it did not comply with the Churchyard Memorial Rules currently in force. The family of the deceased objected. The Chancellor determined that there were no exceptional reasons why the memorial should remain and accordingly granted a faculty to authorise the removal of the memorial and its replacement with a memorial which complied with the Rules.

The remains of two parents and their daughter were interred in a grave, the daughter having been the last to die. There was a grey granite memorial to the parents on the grave. The petitioner wished to take down the memorial, crop it and lay it flat on the grave, and then put at the head of the grave a new memorial of Westmorland green slate in memory of the daughter. The Diocesan Advisory Committee ("DAC") and the Parochial Church Council ("PCC") disapproved of the proposal. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. The DAC and the PCC did not support the proposal; the petitioner had not satisfied the Chancellor that the petitioner was the owner of the memorial to the parents; and Westmorland green slate would look out of place in the churchyard.