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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 1953 a faculty had been granted to the petitioner's grandfather to permit the erection of a memorial and the creation of a vault reserving to the petitioner's grandfather and the members of his family the right of burial in the vault. The present petitioner's grandparents and other deceased members of the family had since been buried in the vault. There were six shelves in the vault, of which four had been used. The petitioner wished to reserve the remaining two shelves for the burial of himself and his fiancee. The petitioner's cousin objected to a faculty being granted on the grounds that the reservations would prevent any further members of the family (who might predecease the petitioner and his fiancee) from being placed in the vault, and because she felt that the terms of the orginal faculty limited the right of interment to direct descendants only. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, but directed that (a) a person who married into the family would be eligible to be buried in the vault; (b) an interment should be treated as including the placing of cremated remains in the vault; and (c) if "space remains on any given shelf for the seemly custody of the cremated remains of more than one person then it is permissible for there to be such remains of more than one person on each shelf in the vault."

The petitioner wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial to her two children, who had died, aged 6 and 9, from Batten disease. When the first child had died, a memorial which was outside the churchyards regulations had been installed without permission. Following the death of the second child, the petitioner sought approval of a new memorial design, with an image of Winnie-the-Pooh at the top and the inscription including phrases from other children's literature - “To infinity and beyond” and “We love you to the moon and back”.  The Chancellor granted a faculty. He considered that the petitioner had made out a compelling case and that there were exceptional pastoral reasons for approving the design, to give comfort and solace to the petitioner and her family.

The petitioner sought permission to inter the cremated remains of her mother in a grave containing the remains of two members of the family. She also wished to replace the existing worn memorial with a small stone to be laid horizontally on the grave, with a longer inscription in gold lettering and etchings of butterflies. The petitioner had in fact already had the memorial made without seeking permission first. The memorial was made of Corian, which is a man-made material, the primary use of which is for kitchen work tops.The colour was pinkish and flecked with other colours. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the interment of the petitioner's mother's remains, but refused to grant a faculty for the proposed memorial, as too many of its features were outside the Churchyards Regulations, including: the unsuitability of a man-made product and some of the words in the inscription; the colour; the gold lettering; and the overlong inscription (79 words on a stone measuring 1ft 8ins by 2ft).

The Petitioner's grandparents were buried in a grave which has a double width headstone and a double kerb surround. Over time, the remains of the petitioner's late husband, her sister and her parents had been interred in the double grave. The petitioner now wished to carry out some renovation of the grave and place three grey granite tablets within the kerbs, with inscriptions recording the names of those interred since the petitioner's grandparents were interred. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to a condition that there should be consistency in the format of the dates of death.

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 petitioner wished to replace a severely damaged churchyard memorial, erected in about 1896, with a new memorial based upon the original design. The design was not within the churchyards regulations, being a stone cross upon three tiers of steps and with kerbs bearing an inscription around the edge. The person commemorated, Lady Mary Feilding, had been the founder of the Mary Feilding Guild, which promoted employment and suitable housing for ladies in need of some support. The Chancellor considered it appropriate to have a new memorial erected to the original design and granted a faculty subject to a condition (inter alia) that no chippings should be placed within the kerbs. He also gave permission for a plaque or inscription to be placed on the back of the memorial, setting out the year and reason for the installation of the replacement memorial, linked with the charitable legacy of Lady Mary Feilding.

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.

A boy aged 13, a keen footballer, had been killed when knocked off his bicycle by a speeding motorist. He was buried in the churchyard. The family wished to erect a memorial which included features outside the diocese's Churchyard Rules, namely, polished black granite with gold lettering; in the top left quarter, a large image of a young man with a football at his feet, standing in front of a stairway leading to heaven, with light beams at the top of the stairway radiating out from a heart; in the top right quarter an inscription giving names, dates and relationships; and in the lower half of the memorial a poem 8 lines long and containing 90 words. The Chancellor accepted that there were already several memorials of polished black stone with gilded lettering in the churchyard and that a faculty should not be refused for another. However, his decision was that a faculty would be granted if there was an acceptable smaller image, and if a much shorter inscription could be agreed for the lower half of the memorial, the revised design to be approved by the court.

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.