Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Reordering

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Determination of two petitions on written representations in respect of a Victorian Grade 1 church (14 of its 15 stained glass windows designed by Edmund Burne-Jones and made by William Morris and company). The first petition sought permission to remove and dispose of two pews from the front of each side section of pews and relocate the pew frontals; to remove and dispose of three pews from the rear of each section of pews; to remove pew platform, level floor and re-carpet; to remove redundant piping from centre aisle; to remove and dispose of redundant parts of the existing sound system; to relocate sound desk to rear of pews; to install new sound desk equipment and audio-visual equipment. The second petition sought a faculty to authorise the introduction of a circular votive candle stand. Faculty granted in respect of each petition.

Faculty granted for re-ordering, including moving of font, removal of pews, building of church extension, and creation of glass-sided room within the church. Discussion of the principles to be considered concerning the siting of a font.

Petition to remove 2 pews and book boards from the west end of the nave, to re-site the font centrally in the west bay of the nave, to introduce kitchenette cupboards against the north wall of the tower, to introduce display units and cupboards at the west end of both aisles and to do various works in the vestry.

The Chancellor granted a faculty for some minor reordering of the chancel of the church, to include moving the stone altar forward by 1 metre, to allow the celebrant to face westwards. The work also included the removal and disposal of the children's choir stalls.

The proposals were to remove the front seats in the sanctuary; to extend the Chancel step into a semi-circle and install a moveable altar rail and locate the Side Altar as a nave altar; to remove all the wooden flooring, cut down the pews whilst retaining the pew ends, and so to make the pews moveable; and to provide ramps to run west and east along the wall line from the southwest door. Principles in Re St. Alkmund Duffield considered. Faculty granted for all items, apart from the removal of pews west of the cross aisle (except those next to the proposed ramp).

The works proposed by the petitioners included the removal of pews from the north and south aisles and the augmentation of toilet and kitchen facilities within the church. The Victorian Society objected to the removal of pews. Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013] considered. Faculty granted.

There had originally been a proposal to sell the organ located in the church tower, and to use the space presently occupied by the organ to provide for kitchen and toilet facilities. The organ had not been used for many years, but had been installed shortly after the church had been built in the 19th century. However, the current petition was limited to the sale and removal of the organ. The Chancellor was satisfied in principal that the removal of the organ and installation of the kitchen and toilet facilities would benefit the church and the community, and he granted a faculty for the sale of the organ, provided that the sale would take place within two years, and provided also that the organ should remain as it is until the petitioners have permission from the Court to install the proposed kitchen and toilet facilities.

The proposals were to re-order the west end of the church, including (1) replacement of the outer west doors;  (2) relocation of the inner west screen doors to the bay of an arch between the chancel and the Lady Chapel; (3) creation of an entrance foyer at the west end with inner and outer screens and mezzanine floor above; and  (4) relocation of the font and its cover from the west end to the north aisle. Faculty granted, subject to the base of the font (designed by G.E. Street, architect of the Royal Courts of Justice) being retained, rather than replaced with a larger base, as proposed in the petition.

The faculty proposed changes to the heating system, removal of the side aisle pews and introduction of upholstered chairs to match the chairs in the centre of the nave, which had been authorised in 2015 to replace the nave pews. The Victorian Society objected to more upholstered seating. The Chancellor concluded that, "It would not be reasonable to deny the petitioners more of the same sort of chair", and granted a faculty.