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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Memorials

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The petitioner wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial to his late wife. The proposed stone was light grey granite, polished on its face. The Parochial Church Council objected to the use of granite. Local churchyard regulations provided for sandstone to be used, to blend in with the sandstone of the Grade I listed church, and in the area used for burials since 1947 the memorials were exclusively of sandstone. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the use of granite. Granite would look out of place amongst the existing sandstone memorials. And to allow granite could upset those already denied the opportunity of having granite, and might generate an expectation that granite could be permitted in future.

The incumbent refused to approve the use of the words "Dad" and "Grandad" in the inscription for a  memorial, the reason given being that the parochial church councils of the benefice had agreed, in a written policy, that (inter alia) only the words "Father" and "Grandfather" should be used on memorials. The Chancellor could find no real justification for this policy and granted a faculty to authorise the use of the words "Dad" and "Grandad", which she did not find objectionable. (Although not a reason for the decision, it is noted in the judgment that 15 inscriptions on memorials in the churchyard used the words “Dad” or “Grandad” and there were 12 examples which showed use of female equivalents, such as “Mum” or “Nan”.)

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 petitioner wished to install an upright memorial over the single plot in the churchyard where the cremated remains of both her parents had been interred. The Parochial Church Council ("PCC") objected (inter alia) that the upright memorial would not be in keeping with other ashes plots in the row, where the memorials were laid flush with the ground or desk shaped, and it would set a precedent for others. Nine local residents (all but one of whom were members of the PCC) submitted letters of objection for similar reasons. The Diocesan Advisory Committee recommended the proposal. For several reasons (too many to be listed in this brief summary) the Chancellor granted a faculty.

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.