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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 24 November 2021

Memorials

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The Chancellor authorised for each of two separate churchyards 'bespoke regulations' as to the types of memorial stone which may be permitted.

The cremated remains of the petitioners' mother, who died in 2016, were interred in the grave of her first husband, who died in 1978. The petitioners obtained approval from the acting priest during an interregnum to remove the headstone in memory of their late father, in order to have their mother's name added to the memorial. In the meantime, the mother's second husband of 32 years arranged for a tablet in memory of the petitioners' mother (including her surname after remarriage) to be laid on the grave. The petitioners wished the tablet to be removed. The Chancellor granted a faculty authorising the removal of the tablet subject to the condition that the headstone be amended by agreement between the petitioners and the second husband by adding words along the lines of: 'a widow for 5 years and for 32 years the beloved wife of N'. In the absence of agreement within 3 months, the Chancellor would invite the Archdeacon to petition for a faculty for the removal of both the headstone and the tablet and their replacement by a single memorial bearing wording directed by the Court.

In recent years the Rector and Parochial Church Council had discouraged the use of grey granite for memorials in the churchyard, even though there were already a few such stones in the churchyard. The petitioner had in fact already had a honed grey granite memorial made by a stonemason in a neighouring diocese. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for a further grey granite memorial: "... the approach which the Rector and the Parochial Church Council have taken over recent years of preventing further granite memorials seeks to ensure that for the future memorials in the churchyard will be of a material compatible with the church and the locality. That approach is an entirely appropriate one. This is particularly so given the grade I listing of the church and the appearance of the surrounding area."

The petitioner's brother died aged 21 in 1977 and was buried in the churchyard. A dark grey polished headstone bearing two carved images (a church window and ears of corn) was placed on the grave. The petitioner's mother died in 2020 and her remains were interred in the grave, but there was insufficient room on the existing headstone for a further inscription. The petitioner applied for permission to replace the headstone with a new one which did not conform to the churchyard regulations, in that it would have a polished surface and more than two carved images - similar images to those on the original headstone, plus a small carved rose, as the petitioner's mother (Rosalie) was known as Rose. Also the words 'Mum, Nan and Great Nan' were proposed as part of the inscription. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the three images would not make the stone look cluttered, and he did not object to the use of the words 'Mum, Nan and Great Nan'.

The Chancellor granted a faculty for a single collective memorial on which could be recorded up to 120 names of those interred in the area for cremated remains of the churchyard. The Chancellor permitted a large stone of honed granite with three dark granite tablets. He would not normally have permitted such stone for a individual memorial in the churchyard of a sandstone church surrounded by mostly sandstone memorials. But he accepted that sandstone is much less durable than granite. Inscriptions would remain durable for longer on a granite tablet to which inscriptions would be added over a period of many years. Also, the memorial would not be close to other memorials in the churchyard and any adverse effect on the overall appearance of the churchyard would be minimal.

The petitioners wished to replace three family memorials, which were unstable and/or eroded. The Parochial Church Council objected to the replacement of the stones with stones of modern design in the old part of the churchyard. They preferred the original stones to be restored. The Chancellor determined that one of the stones, which was unstable, should be dismantled, cleaned, re-engraved, and re-fixed securely. The other two memorials, where the inscriptions were illegible, should each either be dismantled, cleaned, re-engraved, and re-fixed securely; or alternatively or else replaced with a new memorial to precisely the same design and dimensions as the existing, with same inscription, and of stone similar in colour to the existing.

Petition for Faculty to authorise a memorial comprising a headstone and kerb stones. Headstone authorised, but not the kerb stones.

The war memorial in the churchyard was dedicated in 1921 and bore the names of those who gave their lives in the First World War. Subsequently, the names of those who lost their lives in the Second World War were added. The Parochial Church Council now wished to have the memorial refurbished in time for the forthcoming commemoration of 100 years from the end of the First World War. As part of the refurbishment, they wished to have the names of the fallen gilded. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not approve of gilded lettering. The Chancellor granted a faculty allowing the names to be gilded: the DAC's decision was based on an aesthetic evaluation, which the Chancellor felt was overruled by the depth of feeling of the petitioners to make the names prominent; a photograph of the memorial in 1921 shows that the lettering stood out; the aging of the memorial would allow it in due time to be more keeping with the church; the names of the fallen should be clearly legible to the local community.

The petitioner wished to place a memorial on her mother's grave. The parish priest declined to authorise the proposed memorial, as it did not fall within the scope of the Diocesan Guidelines. The design resembled a scroll, between two hand-carved angels, above a plinth resting on a base.  The central “scroll” and the plinth and base were in Rustenburg dark grey granite, and the two angels in a paler stone. The Chancellor considered that carvings of angels in full relief would not be appropriate to the setting, but he would not object to carvings of angels in low relief on the memorial stone. On that basis he granted a faculty for a memorial, subject to the final design being approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee or, in default of such approval, by the court.

Outside the north wall of the church is an area for cremated remains containing a large number of wedge-shaped memorials set on stone slabs 18 inches square. However, some larger bases which had been introduced had adversely affected the appearance of the area. The churchwardens therefore proposed setting plain slab bases on the unused plots in anticipation of wedge-shaped memorials being put on them in the future, in order to minimise the risk of incorrectly sized bases being laid; to keep the area looking uniform and tidy; and to avoid the churchwardens having to take remedial steps, which might give rise to pastoral difficulties. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposal, but the Chancellor was satisfied that there was a problem which needed to be addressed, and he accordingly granted a faculty.