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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 4 June 2020

Index by Dioceses of all judgments on this web site, as at 4 June 2020

Memorials

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The deceased had been buried in a line of graves next to the churchyard footpath. It had been the practice for some years that bodies were interred with their heads to the west, next to the footpath, and their feet to the east (in accordance with the traditional practice), but that memorials were placed at the foot of each grave and facing the footpath. The petitioners were unhappy that the memorial to their relative was at the foot of the grave, and applied for permission to move the memorial to the head of the grave. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty: " ... it does not seem appropriate to me to grant the Petition because by doing so I would be interfering with a reasonable policy adopted by the PCC and ... imposed upon the relatives of all the other deceased buried in the area."

The petitioner wished to erect a memorial on his wife's grave. The proposed design included a design of a rose in gold, red and green. The Chancellor decided that in this particular case he would allow gold lettering and the design of the rose, provided that the rose was only coloured gold.

A widow sought a faculty to authorise the laying of kerbs and chippings and a stone vase on her late husband's grave, which had previously been used for the interment of the remains of his great-uncle. The Parochial Church Council objected, but did not become a party opponent. The Chancellor decided that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty, even though the proposals were outside the churchyards regulations. The grave had previously had kerbs, which had been moved 20 years earlier, and the incumbent at the time had assured the lady that there would be no problem in reinstating kerbs after the next burial in the grave; and there were already numerous examples close to the grave of kerbs, chipping and vases, so to refuse to allow another set of kerbs would be unreasonable in the circumstances.

Request for a memorial to a six weeks old infant, the design including an infant lying in a crib, several stars, and doves bearing olive branches. Per Chancellor: "In the tragic and exceptional circumstances of this case, an exceptional response is called for. I have no hesitation is approving the petition."

The petitioner wished to apply fine shingle or fine gravel to the area within the kerbs of two graves, for the purpose of weed suppression. The Parochial Church Council ("PCC") opposed the proposal, as the Churchyard Regulations provided that “kerbs, railings or chippings, whether raised or at ground level, are not permitted", and the PCC had been endeavouring to enforce the regulations. They would have preferred the kerbs to be removed. The Commissary General considered the factors in favour and against allowing the proposal and decided, on balance, to grant a faculty: there was no petition for the removal of the kerbs; the introduction of fine shingle would not make mowing or strimming more difficult; the appearance of fine shingle was more natural than chippings; and the fine shingle would slow down the growth of weeds.

The Chancellor considered two applications for faculties for proposed memorials, both of black polished stone with kerbs. One design incorporated a painted scene of a fisherman against a sunset, and the other featured a stained glass insert with a design of an angel. The Parochial Church Council supported the applications, but the Diocesan Advisory Committee recommended refusal in each case. The Chancellor refused to grant faculties. He determined that the proposed designs would be harmful both to the character of the churchyard, and to the contribution it makes to the setting of the Grade I listed church.

The petitioner wished to erect on the grave of his late wife a red granite memorial with a polished face and gold lettering. The priest-in-charge declined to approve the memorial on the grounds that gold lettering was not permissible and that the size and colour of the memorial would not be in keeping with the other memorials in the churchyard. The Chancellor determined that it would be unreasonable to refuse a faculty for the memorial, as the use of gold lettering was widespread in the churchyard; also, there was a large number of polished granite stones which, though mostly black, did include a number of red granite stones, including  a red granite stone on the grave next to the grave of the petitioner's wife.

The Chancellor refused to grant a confirmatory faculty for a memorial introduced into the churchyard without authority, the memorial being in contravention of the Churchyard Rules

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission wished to replace a memorial to an airman from the local airfield, who with his fellow crewmen had died during the Second World War. The crew had all been buried together in the churchyard. The reason for wanting to change the memorial was that the original bore an inscribed cross, whilst the deceased was found to be of Jewish descent. The Chancellor decided that it would not normally be appropriate to allow in a churchyard a memorial bearing a Star of David, or a symbol of any other religion inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church of England, but he determined that there were exceptional circumstances in the present case to justify permitting a Star of David to be inscribed on the proposed replacement memorial.

The application was for a memorial to those who had died in the Second World War. This memorial would be placed beneath the existing memorial to those who had died in the First World War. For the reasons set out in the judgment, the Chancellor was not satisfied with the details of the proposals and he adjourned the matter, requesting that revised proposals should be submitted.