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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 Vicar and Churchwardens sought a faculty to install a memorial in the north aisle of the church, in memory of Mr. David Church. Whilst memorials are not normally allowed in churches, the Chancellor decided to grant a faculty: "Mr Church clearly was someone who contributed something special to the community and I am satisfied that he is appropriately commemorated by a tablet in the church.

The petitioners sought to place a tablet in the churchyard to commemorate two interments in the same plot in 2005 and 2007. Tablets had been allowed for a short period in the 1960s, but since then the Parochial Church Council had adhered to a policy of not allowing further tablets, in order to preserve the open grassed appearance of the churchyard. In 2011, a Faculty had been granted to authorise a memorial wall on which plaques could be placed to commemorate those whose cremated remains have been interred in the churchyard since 2010. The incumbent and Churchwardens objected to a further plaque being placed in the churchyard. Whilst of the view that the policy of the PCC was reasonable and should normally be adhered to, the Chancellor felt there were exceptional circumstances in this case, as the plot in question was the only cremation plot without a tablet in a row of plots where tablets had been placed in the 1960s. Accordingly, a Faculty was granted.

Keynsham Town Council sought a faculty  for "The laying flat on its appropriate grave any tombstone or other monument found on inspection to be unstable or dangerous in some other respect . Such permission to cover both past and future works."  The Council had already laid flat 178 memorials without a faculty. Notice of Objection was received from 20 members of the public, of whom some became parties opponent. The Chancellor decided that it was appropriate to grant a confirmatory faculty, but that a separate faculty would be needed for works in the future, and he set out conditions which would apply to future works.

A memorial was installed within a couple of years of the petitioner's father dying in 1946, when the petitioner was a small child. In 2011 the petitioner's cousin and her aunt decided to replace the original memorial with a black polished granite memorial with kerbs and green chippings, and the installation was carried out without faculty. The petitioner sought a faculty to authorise the removal of the second memorial and the erection of a replica of the original. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioner was the heir at law in respect of the first memorial, the person who purchased the memorial (assumed to be the petitioner's mother) having died. He accordingly granted a faculty to the petitioner.

The Vicar General refused to grant a confirmatory faculty for a memorial erected in memory of the petitioner's late wife, who had been a singer/songwriter and author of children's books. The memorial was made of wood and in the shape of a treble clef sign. The reasons given for refusal were: the memorial was taller and much thicker than the maximum dimensions laid down in the churchyards regulations; the wood was already cracking and deteriorating; the regulations required a memorial to be of natural stone; the memorial was of an eccentric shape, which is prohibited by the regulations; the Vicar General considered the memorial inappropriate for the setting. The Vicar General ordered the memorial to be removed within 56 days, and indicated that he would not object to it being replaced with a memorial of natural stone bearing a suitably sized engraving of a treble clef sign.

A married couple had been buried in graves alongside each other. Following the second interment (of the wife), the petitioners wished to move the memorial at the head of the husband's grave to mid-way between the two graves, to add a further inscription in gold letters on the polished black granite memorial and to add side panels bearing coloured rose designs. As there were many instances of memorials outside the churchyards regulations in the churchyard, including examples of memorials erected between adjacent graves, and in view of the fact that the churchyard would shortly need to be closed for further burials, the Chancellor granted a faculty, but excluded permission for the decorative side panels.

The petitioner wished to place on his wife's grave a cast iron memorial, which included, as part of the design, a cluster of five-pointed stars, as his wife's name was Stella. The Parochial Church Council was opposed to this type of memorial on the basis that it would not be in keeping with the stone memorials in the churchyard and it would set a precedent. The Diocesan Advisory Committee and the Church Buildings Council had no objections to the design. The Chancellor considered that the memorial would be fitting and appropriate. There was a tradition of cast iron headstones in the area, though not in this particular churchyard. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a condition that the stars should not be pierced through the memorial, but that the stars and the lettering should be raised. This was for health and safety reasons, lest children might injure themselves on the sharp points of pierced stars.

The incumbent and churchwardens wished to remove from the churchyard a headstone which had been introduced in December 2016 as a memorial to the mother and sister of the party opponent. A memorial had been erected in 1974, when the mother died. In 2016, when the daughter died, the stonemason submitted a memorial application in the standard form for a replacement memorial, which the incumbent approved. In due course the stonemason installed a memorial which was not in accordance with the approved application, and which had a number of features which were outside the churchyards regulations. The Chancellor ordered that the memorial should be removed and, as agreed between the stonemason and the party opponent, replaced by a new memorial at the expense of the stonemason. The stonemason was ordered to pay part of the Diocesan Registry costs and part of the party opponent's solicitors' costs.

The petitioner wished to place a 'desk type' ledger stone in the churchyard. The Rector had indicted that she would object, as the type of stone was not covered by the churchyards regulations, which require ledger stones to be laid flush with the ground. However, the incumbent had recently approved such a stone, and there were other examples of the type of stone in the same area of the churchyard. Following the departure of the rector, one of the churchwardens objected to the stone. The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty on the basis that (a) there was nothing offensive about the desk-style ledger stones which populate the particular area of the churchyard; (b) there were already several examples of the type of stone in that area; and (c) he was concerned that the church should be seen to be acting consistently towards applicants

The Petitioner requested a memorial designed as an open book, in memory of his brother, to match an existing memorial in memory of his mother. Faculty granted. Chancellor: "… having regard to the exceptional pastoral case made by the petitioner for having a memorial resembling that of the deceased's mother, I would be prepared to authorise one in this instance as an exception to the general rule on the basis that it did genuinely resemble that of the deceased's mother."