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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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This was an application for a confirmatory faculty in respect of a memorial, a vertical slab of black marble, with gilt lettering, mounted on a horizontal plinth, spanning two plots in an area for cremated remains, and the only vertical memorial in that area. The memorial also contained small engraved images of the two persons commemorated. The Chancellor refused to grant a confirmatory faculty for the upright memorial, but authorised its replacement within 12 months by a double-width horizontal memorial of similar design.

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.

The petitioners wished to erect a headstone on the grave of their uncle. The proposed memorial was to be dark grey granite, partly polished, with gold lettering, and bearing an engraved image of a motor cyclist with helmet and goggles on a racing motorcycle bearing the number 60, the number used by the deceased when he took part in motorcycle events, including the Isle of Man TT. As there were already several other polished stones in the churchyard, and the image was appropriate to commemorate the life of the deceased, the Chancellor granted a faculty.

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 petitioner wished to remove the existing memorial from her late brother's grave and replace it with a new memorial commemorating both her brother and her mother. The existing memorial fell outside the churchyards regulations, being a polished stone. The proposed new memorial fell outside the regulations, in view of the number of carved images proposed. The original memorial had two images. A third image, a rose, was proposed for the new memorial, next to the name of the petitioner's mother, whose name was Rosalie, though she was known as Rose. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

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.

A woman had died and had been buried in the grave of her husband. She left eight children. One of the daughters and her husband were appointed executors and sole beneficiaries of her will. This had caused a rift in the family, including a dispute as to the validity of the will. The executors applied for a memorial, which the priest in charge approved as within her delegated authority under the churchyards regulations. Not all the siblings had been consulted or had agreed on the proposed inscription. Four of the siblings petitioned that all the siblings should be required to agree a new form of words. The Deputy Chancellor took the view it was doubtful that the Court could make such an order. Instead, he had to consider whether the inscription was appropriate, or whether there were sufficiently good reasons for removal and replacement of the memorial. He decided that the inscription was not inappropriate, and there was therefore no good reason to order the removal of the stone, simply because there had not been consultation with and unanimous agreement between all the siblings.