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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



The priest-in-charge and churchwardens wished to transfer permanently to the Erewash Museum the remains of a corroded wrought iron ‘Anglo-Saxon sword/weaving-batten’. This item had been discovered whilst a grave was being dug in about 2006. The Chancellor determined that the item, once removed from the ground, became a 'moveable' of the church and, as such, legally vested in the churchwardens. He also decided that the item was not a 'church treasure', as defined by the Court of Arches, and he was not therefore obliged to follow the advice of the appellate court to hold a hearing. (See Re Shipton Bellinger [2016] Fam 193, para. 23) The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The petition proposed various works to the church roof and other parts of the fabric. The only contentious item was the proposal to fix a safety rope in the spiral staircase of the tower. The church architect proposed a rope running down the outer radius of the staircase, because there was an electrical cable conduit running down the inner radius. The objector, on behalf of local bell ringers, objected to an outer rope, which would tend to make users walk towards the narrower part of the very narrow staircase. The Chancellor granted a faculty for a safety rope running down the inner radius, with fixing points at intervals, which would not force users towards the narrow part of the treads and would mean it would be less likely that people might grab the electrical conduit for support.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to permit the loan to the Chichester Cathedral Treasury of a figure of Christ, believed to have been part of a crucifix made in Limoges in the 13th century. The Chancellor had previously granted an interim faculty allowing the Archdeacon to remove the figure to a place of safety, following the theft of the figure and its subsequent recovery by the Police.

The 7th Baron Lord Carrington wished to introduce into the church, at the west end of the nave, two heraldic banners which had belonged to his late father, the 6th Baron Carrington. One banner was the late Lord Carrington’s banner as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG), and the other was his banner as a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG). As the late Lord Carrington had had a distinguished political career and made an outstanding contribution to the life of the nation, had lived in the village and was a patron of the church, the Chancellor decided that there were sufficiently good reasons to overcome the ordinary presumption against change to a church building and he therefore granted a faculty.

This was an appeal from a decision of the Land Registration Division of the Property Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal, which resulted from an application by the Incumbent and the Diocesan Board of Finance (the Respondents in the appeal) to register the title to the church. The church at Dalton was completed in 1837 and was conveyed to the Church Building Commissioners by Edward Collingwood as a chapel of ease for the parish of Newburn. The conveyance reserved to the donor the burial vault under the nave for the interment of the donor and his heirs. The last interment of a member of the Collingwood family was in 1940. By a pastoral scheme made in 2004, the church was declared redundant.  Before the scheme, the church was always open, but after the scheme it was kept locked. The issue was whether the respondents (or either of them) had made out a claim to the vault based on adverse possession. The  decision of the Upper Tier Tribunal was that the respondents could not claim title to the vault by adverse possession.

The priest-in-charge and churchwardens petitioned for the introduction of a set of altar frontals in liturgical colours for the main altar. The objects of their proposal were: "firstly to introduce the colours of the church’s liturgical year more prominently into the building and secondly to add colour to what is otherwise a relatively drab space apart from the windows." Two letters of objection were received. One objector questioned the appropriateness of such adornment, when funds might be better spent on outreach. The other objector considered it wrong to cover up the beautifully carved Victorian altar table. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the petitioners had put forward a good argument for their proposal and that the objections did not amount to a good reason as to why the change should not be permitted.

The church wished to sell a 16th century chalice and paten and a 17th century Paten, which had been valued at £18,500, £8,500 and £5,500 respectively. The reasons given for the proposed sale were that the items were not used for health and safety and security reasons, and the church could not afford to insure the items to their full value. They were currently stored at a bank changing £750 per year for storage. Although the usual presumption is against the sale of church treasures, except in exceptional circumstances, the petitioners claimed that there were exceptional circumstances - principally, inability to pay the parish share and the quinquennial report indicating that £80,000 needed to be spent on repairs. The Chancellor, however refused to grant a faculty, as he was not satisfied that the petitioners had explored all possible ways of resolving the church's current financial position.

Faculty granted for a new audio-visual system for a Grade I church, to include two monitor screens mounted on mobile trollies; two monitors screens mounted on poles; and three monitor screens mounted on the walls.

The Parochial Church Council applied for a faculty to authorise the sale of a helmet which, since the early 17th century had hung over the tomb of the first Duke of Bedford. The Chancellor determined that he was unable to grant a faculty, for two reasons. Firstly, the PCC had no title to the helmet, as it belonged in law to the descendants of the first Duke of Bedford. Secondly, section 3 of the Faculty Jurisdiction Measure 1964 provides: "A Court may grant a Faculty to which this section applies (1) although the owner of the monument withholds his consent thereto or cannot be found after reasonable efforts to find him have been made... (3) no faculty to which this section applies shall be granted if the owner of the monument in question withholds his consent thereto, but satisfies the court that he is within a reasonable time willing and able to remove the monument … and to exercise such works as the Court may require to repair any damage to the fabric". In this case there was no evidence at the hearing as to who was or were the heir or heirs at law, and no evidence as to whether they gave or withheld their consent.

The Parochial Church Council wished to sell some items of Georgian silver, some of which were stored in Norwich Museum and some in Norwich Cathedral Treasury. The church had inherited the items ineeh 1970s from two nearby churches, which had been closed. The silver had been valued at £3000 to £4700 (less sale commission). The PCC wished to use the proceeds of sale towards the cost of a new lighting scheme for the church, which would cost over £8000. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, as he considered that the petitioners had not established a good reason for the sale. The silver had significance for Thetford and the petitioners had not shown any pressing financial emergency: "I am concerned that it is a case of wanting to use the financial worth of this silver for ‘something’, rather than any compelling financial need that demands the sacrifice of a church treasure."