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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 20 January 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2021 judgments on this web site.

Memorials

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The petition proposed a churchyard memorial in the form of a wheeled cross on an open plinth and solid base. Whilst the design was outside the churchyards regulations, the Chancellor determined that the design was both both attractive and appropriate for a churchyard setting, and he accordingly granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to erect a memorial on the grave of two family members. The Incumbent, churchwardens and PCC did not support the application. The Chancellor granted a faculty. The judgment includes a discussion of two subsidiary issues: (1) do the petitioners need to show some exceptional reason for the proposed memorial; and (2) is it open to the Diocesan Advisory Committee to change the advice it proffers to the parties and to the Chancellor and, if so, in what circumstances?

The Chancellor granted a faculty allowing a blue plaque to be placed on the outside of the church to commemorate Gordon Welchman, who had played a significant role in code-breaking at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, and whose father had been Vicar of the Parish.

The petitioners applied for a confirmatory faculty in respect of a memorial placed in the churchyard without permission. The Chancellor refused to grant a confirmatory faculty and granted a faculty for its removal by the team Vicar and churchwardens on the grounds that: (1) the installation without authority was a trespass; (2) the type of stone and colour of lettering were not authorised by the churchyards regulations; (3) part of the inscription (which suggested that a particular cancer treatment was responsible for the death of the person commemorated) was inappropriate; (4) there were concerns for safety, as the memorial was not installed by a member of the National Association of Memorial Masons; and (5)  'Allowing the memorial to remain fails to address the unfairness to others who correctly obtain appropriate authority and follow the Regulations'.

The priest in charge, a churchwarden and the Chairman of the Tutbury War Memorials Preservation Committee petitioned for a faculty to place two metal wreath holders near to the war memorial in the churchyard. Historic England and the Parish Council objected, the former becoming a party opponent. Historic England felt that the proposed structures were not of sufficient aesthetic merit for the churchyard of the Grade I listed church. The Chancellor, however, was satisfied that what was proposed was of an appropriate quality, and accordingly he granted a faculty.

The petitioner sought a confirmatory faculty to permit the retention of some kerbs and slate chippings which were introduced at the grave of his late father without the prior authority of a faculty. The petitioner later gave notice that he wished to withdraw his petition. In his judgment, the Chancellor granted leave to withdraw the petition and stated that, as a consequence, a retrospective faculty could not be granted; the kerbs and chippings should be removed to a secure place and, if the kerbs and chippings were not removed by the petitioner within 6 weeks, the churchwardens could remove them and dispose of them as they wished.

The petitioner wished to place inside the church a memorial to his parents, Leslie Allison Godfree and Kathleen ("Kitty") Godfree. Kitty Godfree won the Wimbledon Ladies Championship in 1924 and 1926, and she and her husband were both doubles champions. Kitty's remains were buried in the churchyard. The Parochial Church Council objected. Since the end of the First World War no plaques have been installed in St . Mary's and the PCC did not see any reason to make an exception for the Godfrees, which might set a precedent for others to try to follow. The Chancellor determined that there was a sufficient degree of exceptionality to justify allowing the proposed memorial. Kitty Godfree's achievements were of general public interest. He granted a faculty, subject to the proposed instcription being shortened.

The parish priest sought a direction from the Chancellor as to whether it was permissible, within the diocesan churchyards regulations, to allow a memorial inscription which included Chinese characters. The Chancellor determined that, notwithstanding the recent decision in Re St. Giles Exhall [2020] ECC Cov 1, that the Irish expression, 'In ár gcroíthe go deo', could only appear on a headstone if it was accompanied by its English translation, ‘in our hearts forever’, it was appropriate to include a phrase in a foreign language, without a translation, provided that the phrase did not offend Christian doctrine or teaching. The Chancellor therefore made a declaration giving appropriate guidance to the clergy of the diocese as an addendum to the churchyards regulations.

The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for a memorial which was outside the diocesan churchyards regulations in a number of aspects, including: the design in the shape of a double heart; the stone wider than the maximum permitted under the regulations; polished blue granite; a green and white floral motif.

The Petitioner sought a faculty to erect in Maughold churchyard, forthwith and before his death, a memorial in the shape of a Buddhist stupa. The memorial was to include the inscription: 'He wanted green dandelions', a statement described as a Buddhist 'koan', an illogical statement designed to aid meditation. The Vicar General refused to grant a faculty to permit the petitioner to place the stupa in the churchyard in advance of his death, and stated that the inscription would have to be considered when and if an application for a faculty was made after the Petitioner's death.