Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Miscellaneous

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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.

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 Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the replacement of five cast iron downpipes and associated hoppers with high density polyethylene (HDPE) replacements on a Grade II* listed church.

Faculty granted for the disposal of three sets of High Mass vestments thought to be "not in keeping with the present vestments and were bought without sufficient consultation with the PCC and are generally regarded as 'mistakes'", even though purchased in recent years at considerable expense. Comments by the acting Deputy Chancellor on the stewardship of parish resources.

The church is situated in an area which floods regularly. In 2014, severe flooding had damaged the wood block flooring of the Grade I listed church. It was proposed to replace the wood block flooring with stone laid over insulation and with underfloor heating. The architects on the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not favour the type of insulation ("Celotex") proposed by the church architect. After considering the advice of the architects and advice from a Chartered Civil Engineer, the Chancellor granted a faculty for the works as proposed by the church architect.

The petitioners wished to install two closed circuit television ("CCTV") cameras in the church and a recorder in the vestry, to enable the church to be left open during the day. The Commissary General granted a faculty (subject to conditions) and set out in her judgment the principles and guidelines to be followed in respect of future applications for the installation of CCTV equipment.

Two matters were before the Chancellor: (1) an application for a confirmatory faculty in respect of a sound system installed without faculty in 1997; (2) an application by the Archdeacon for a restoration order in respect of lighting installed in the west porch in 2015 without faculty. The Chancellor's decisions were as follows: (1) faculty to be granted for the sound system, subject to conditions, including the replacement of the old sound speakers with new speakers in different locations; (2) a decision on the application for a restoration order in respect of the lighting to be deferred for 36 days, to allow time for a faculty petition to be presented.

Petition for installation of replacement sound system and installation of a projector screen in a Grade I church. Objections from Church Buildings Council and Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in respect of the screen. Re St Alkmund Duffield considered. Faculty granted for both items.

This was an appeal from a decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Peterborough, who had refused to grant a faculty for the sale of certain items of church silver. The reason for the proposed sale of the "redundant" silver had been to start a fund to meet the cost of building an extension to the church. The Court of Arches dismissed the appeal for the reasons given by the Chancellor in his judgment: the application to sell the silver was premature; there was no immediate financial crisis; planning permission had not yet been obtained (in fact planning permission had been refused two years earlier and no appeal had been made against the decision); there had not yet been any appeal for funds, and so one could not argue that the proceeds of a sale of the silver were vital to the completion of the project.