Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Reordering

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The Priest in Charge and the churchwardens petitioned for a faculty to remove the existing Victorian storm porch and to replace it with a porch consisting of glass doors in a timber frame. The Diocesan Advisory Committee and English Heritage supported the proposals. The Victorian Society felt that the new doors would be too reflective. The architect explained that the doors would be set back and would therefore not have the reflective appearance the Victorian Society feared. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

In 2013, an Archdeacon's Licence was granted for a temporary reordering of the church by the removal of up to 10 pews at the rear of the church in order to create the opportunity for the Parish to experiment with the more creative and welcoming use of the space created. In 2014, an application was made for a faculty to authorise the permanent removal of the 10 pews, together with other works including installing a retractable projection screen and wiring for a portable projector; replacing the wooden panels in internal porch doors with clear safety glass panels etched with St. Cuthbert's cross; the installation of some stacking chairs; electrical works; and works outside the church. One objection was received. Faculty granted.

Faculty granted for the following works in respect of a late 19th century Grade II* church: “to take up and relocate the font; to introduce a new altar and Ambo; to remove and dispose of the existing nave altar and Lady Chapel altar; to install additional lighting; to remove and dispose of seven high-level metal halide light fittings; to box in the electrical services in the baptistery.” Faculty granted. The Chancellor determined that the proposed works would affect the character and significance of the building. However, he was satisfied that, in conjunction with the proposed liturgical development, the effect of the works would be to enhance that character and significance.

The petitioners sought a faculty for a re-ordering of the chancel and north aisle, to include work to the floor, the removal of the choir pews and the relocation of some solid oak screens from the chancel to improve sight lines. The amenity bodies, for the most part, did not approve of the removal of the choir pews and relocation of the screens. The Chancellor found that, on balance, the public benefit would outweigh the likely harm that would ensue from the proposals and that it was therefore appropriate that a faculty should issue. 

The proposed works as set out in the Petition included: "to reorder the chancel area to provide a raised platform which will be level with the current chancel steps; to provide a movable Nave Altar to be crafted from two redundant two-seater stalls; to provide a three sided dais complete with removable altar rails to allow people to kneel when receiving Holy Communion and to provide a stage area when hosting school concerts and choirs". The Victorian Society objected, but did not become a party opponent. On the basis that the applicants were motivated by a real desire to make the church more accessible both to the community and to the congregation in terms of their participation in the Liturgy, and that the proposals were completely reversible, the Chancellor granted a faculty.

The Rector and Churchwardens applied for a faculty for the installation of a WC in the north-west corner of the church, the replacement of the pipe organ with an electronic organ, the re-siting of some pews, and the rearrangement of some windows. The only contentious item was the removal of the pipe organ to accommodate the WC facilities. The pipe organ had been installed in the 1950s and was of doubtful provenance. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The Chancellor granted a faculty authorising the erection of an extension to the church to provide toilets and storage space. Access to the new facilities would be via the existing north door to the church and thus there would be no impact on the existing interior of the Grade I listed church.

The Vicar and Churchwardens petitioned for a faculty to permit the creation of a new servery, the removal of a timber narthex screen from the rear of the church and improvements to the toilet facilities. Objections were received from English Heritage and the Church Buildings Council in relation to the removal of the narthex screen. The guidelines contained in the Court of Arches judgment in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013] were considered by the Deputy Chancellor. Faculty granted.

A faculty petition relating to a proposed reordering was dismissed on the basis that the petitioners had failed to comply with the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules, in particular with regard to not giving proper notice of the proposals.