Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgements: Appeals

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An appeal by the Church Buildings Council against the decision of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Winchester to allow the sale of the Wootton Helmet, a 15th century Flemish Armet currently on loan to the Royal Armouries. Appeal allowed. "Whether one looks to the existence of “special reasons”, or, as we have held to be preferable, one simply looks at the matter in the round to see whether the grounds for sale are sufficiently compelling to outweigh the strong presumption against disposal by any form of sale, we are satisfied that this petition should be dismissed. The armet is a national asset with historic links to the parish and there is no proven financial case for its sale. Little if any weight should attach to the fact that it has been physically out of the church, and therefore outside the parish, for many years."

The Dean of Arches allowed an appeal against the decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese, who refused to grant a confirmatory faculty for a memorial placed inside the church. The Dean pointed out that a faculty for a memorial inside a church should only be granted in exceptional circumstances. He found that in the present case there were exceptional circumstances, as the persons commemorated had been substantial benefactors of the church and the village over many years.

The Court refused to grant leave to appeal in respect of the judgment of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester, dated 4 August 2015, when the Chancellor refused to grant a faculty giving the petitioner the right to have her ashes interred in the grave of her late partner, the wife and two daughters of the deceased partner having objected to the grant of a faculty.

This was an appeal by the Victorian Society against the judgment of the Chancellor of Winchester Diocese of 12 March 2015, granting a faculty to replace the existing, Victorian font in the church with a new font made of Purbeck stone. The new font would be smaller than the Victorian font and would be installed on the south eastern, as opposed to south western, side of the nave. The Court decided that the Chancellor had erred and acted unfairly in his purported application of the written representations procedure, and that his judgment on the merits was flawed by several errors of law. Accordingly, the Court ordered that both his judgment and the resulting faculty be set aside.