Judgment Search


Click on one of the following to view and/or download the relevant document:

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



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.

The petitioner, acting as executor for her brother, wished his remains to be buried in their mother's grave and for the existing memorial to their mother to be replaced with a memorial to mother and son. One of four other siblings objected to the wording on the proposed new memorial not including the words, 'We will meet again, Darling', which had been inscribed on the original memorial. The Chancellor decided that a change should not be made to a grave if it would give rise to family discord. He therefore refused to grant a faculty.

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.

The petitioner wished to install in the churchyard a vertical slab memorial surmounted by a Celtic wheel style cross, the total height of the memorial being 39 inches. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, but said that it would be appropriate for the incumbent to approve a stone of conventional shape with the incised design of a Celtic cross.

The petitioner applied for a faculty to authorise the installation of a dark grey, unpolished, upright granite memorial to mark the grave of his late wife. The proposed memorial fell outside the scope of the churchyards regulations for the Diocese of Oxford. The design incorporated two carved hearts. The petitioner wished to have a design similar to the one for his mother's memorial (for which a faculty had been granted) just a few feet away from the petitioner's wife's grave. The Chancellor granted a faculty. A faculty had already been granted to the family for a similar memorial; there was room in the churchyard for only about 12-15 burials, so the chances of further applications for similar memorials was small; and there were pastoral reasons supporting the grant of a faculty.

The petitioner wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial of dark grey granite, polished on the face only, with silvered lettering within an incised design of an open book; the inscription included the words "Beloved Husband, Dad and Grandad". The proposal also included kerb stones and a granite vase bearing the inscription "John" within the kerbs. The Deputy Chancellor determined that the memorial would not be out of place in this particular churchyard, bearing in mind other memorials nearby, and he granted a faculty, subject to the vase not bearing an inscription.