Display:

The executor of a widow wished to carry out the late widow's wishes by erecting on her grave a memorial similar to that on the grave of the widow's husband in the adjacent grave. The husband's memorial stone was a polished dark grey granite stone with an asymmetrical pointed top, with a carving of a church window on it and with gold lettering. Notwithstanding that the diocesan churchyards regulations did not permit a parish priest to allow a polished stone with gold lettering, the Chancellor, in the special circumstances of this case, allowed a matching memorial.

Until recent years the unlisted church had been in decline. In 2021 the Diocese had designated the church as a Resource Church, with a view to developing outreach and growth, with the help of funding from the Church Commissioners. Over the past two years there had been an increase in the worshipping congregation. The church now wished to carry out major reordering, in order to make the church more welcoming and more suited to contemporary worship, which would include the reuse of the chancel as an entrance and welcome area, an altar at the west end and the pews being replaced with upholstered, stackable chairs. There was one local letter of objection. The Chancellor was satisfied that the changes were necessary and granted a faculty.

The incumbent and churchwardens applied for a faculty to approve a local variation of the Churchyard Regulations. The Chancellor was satisfied that it was appropriate to approve a local set of regulations on aesthetic and practical grounds and to enable better management of the churchyard. It would be a condition of the faculty that families would be required to sign a notice confirming that they would comply with the regulations.

A major reordering of the Grade I church was proposed, including: a new timber floor with under-floor heating; a new ringing floor and glass screening to the tower; replacement of the pews with light-weight metal-framed chairs with wooden seats and backs; kitchenette and storage facilities; new lighting and audio-visual equipment. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for improving the church and its usability for both church and community use, in order to prevent further decline in the use of the church.

The parish was involved in a major reordering project costing around £850,000, which had been approved by faculty in February 2019. Two months after the faculty was granted, thieves stole lead from the chancel roof, and the cost of replacing the lead immediately would have been impossible for the Parochial Church Council ("PCC"), bearing in mind their current commitments. They therefore applied for a faculty to authorise the covering of the chancel with roofing felt as a temporary measure. The Chancellor decided that the priority was to take steps to prevent further ingress of water as soon as possible. He therfore granted a faculty to authorise the covering of the chancel roof with roofing felt for a period of up to five years, subject to a condition that before the expiry of such period the PCC should put forward proposals for a more permanent covering.

In 2010 the petitioner had approached the then Rector regarding the reservation of a grave for himself and his wife. The Rector subsequently wrote to the petitioner to say that the grave in question had been reserved, though in fact no faculty had been granted. In 2015 the PCC refused to support another application for the reservation of a grave, and the Chancellor had refused a faculty in January 2016, on the grounds that the churchyard was almost full of burials and closure was contemplated. When the present petitioner became aware in 2017 of the PCC's refusal to support a faculty in 2015, he was upset, firstly, that he had not been advised in 2010 that a faculty was required, and, secondly, that a ‘precedent’ appeared to have been set by a refusal of a reservation in 2015/16. He applied nevertheless for a faculty. The Chancellor granted a faculty in the special circumstances of the case, making it clear that he did not do so as a result of the petitioner's position as a reader in the parish, but because since 2010 the petitioner and his wife had entertained a reasonable expectation that their burial arrangements had lawfully been approved.

A married couple had applied for a Faculty to reserve a grave space in the churchyard. The PCC had decided on a general policy of not supporting the reservation of graves. The Chancellor determined that, in the absence of an exceptional reason (there being none in this case) for him to act contrary to the PCC policy, he should not allow a faculty to be granted to reserve a grave.

Faculty granted for the construction of a disabled toilet and storage space in the former organ chamber, and a kitchenette at the west end of the north aisle.

The petitioner wished to have the remains of her father ("the deceased") exhumed from the grave immediately next to the grave of his second wife and reinterred in the grave of the deceased's first wife, which grave also contained the remains of the deceased's parents, in order that a new memorial bearing the names of all four members of the family could then be put on the grave. The Chancellor ruled that there were no special circumstances which would justify the grant of a faculty. It appeared that before his death the deceased believed that there was no room for him to be buried in the same grave as his first wife and parents and was content to be buried elsewhere in the churchyard. His second wife died shortly after the deceased from a terminal illness, and it was assumed that they would naturally wish to be buried together after 28 years' marriage. Moreover, 25 years had passed since the deceased's death, and there was no explanation as to why an application had not been made earlier.

The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of his father exhumed from one plot in the cemetery and reinterred in another plot with the cremated remains of his recently deceased mother. The reasons given for the application were: (1) the petitioner's father's burial plot was close to the entrance of the cemetery, and when members of the family visited the plot, all other people visiting the cemetery would be passing by them; (2) there was no convenient seat at which to sit and reflect; and (3) the plot was next to a gully cover. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioner genuinely found the location of the plot unsuitable, but he could not find any exceptional reason to justify exhumation.