Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Memorials

Display:
Sort By:

A parishioner had died and her cremated remains were interred in the churchyard extension. The family applied to have a "desk style memorial" placed over the grave. Being informed that such a memorial would not be allowed under the Churchyards Regulations, the family agreed to a flat stone. By mistake the stonemason prepared a stone according to the original specification. On realising his error, the stonemason offered to replace the stone with a flat stone, but the family would not allow him to do so. The Archdeacon applied for a faculty to have the desk style memorial replaced with a flat one. The Chancellor determined that it was appropriate to grant a faculty to the Archdeacon.

The Archdeacon applied for a faculty to authorise the removal from the churchyard of a "desktop" style memorial marking the interment of cremated remains, as it did not comply with the Churchyard Memorial Rules currently in force. The family of the deceased objected. The Chancellor determined that there were no exceptional reasons why the memorial should remain and accordingly granted a faculty to authorise the removal of the memorial and its replacement with a memorial which complied with the Rules.

A proposed memorial inscription included the words "Husband, Dad and Pop". The incumbent did not feel happy about agreeing to the use of the word "Pop". An application was made for a faculty. The Diocesan Advisory Committee had no objection. The deceased's daughter claimed that "Pop" was a word in popular use in Cumbria, being a term commonly used to refer to a father or grandfather. The Chancellor decided on balance, and on the facts of the particular case, that it would be pastorally insensitive to refuse the faculty sought, and he accordingly granted a faculty.

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 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.

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

Faculty granted for the sale of an armet (a spiked helmet with visor), which formed part of a funerary monument. Consent of heirs at law obtained. Financial justification for sale proved by the Petitioners.