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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 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.

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.

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."

The cremated remains of the petitioner's son, a former Royal Marine, had been interred in an area of the churchyard set aside by faculty for the interment of cremated remains. The faculty stated that any interment may be marked by "a ledger stone or vase block". The churchyards regulations provide that "any burial without a headstone may have a horizontal stone ledger 9 inches (or 225mm) square, set flush with the turf." The petitioner wishes to have a headstone, measuring 20" wide by 12" high and 2" deep, on a base plinth, with a horizontal stone ledger measuring 3 feet by 2 feet. Very extensive inscriptions were proposed.The Chancellor was not prepared to grant a faculty, but indicated that he might be prepared to authorise a compromise proposal, in accordance with further advice from the Diocesan Advisory Committee.

In October 2019, the Chancellor had granted a faculty for an upright memorial stone to mark the interment of cremated remains in an area of the churchyard set aside by faculty for cremated remains, notwithstanding that the specification for the memorial was not within the terms of the faculty setting aside the area or within the diocesan churchyard rules.  The memorial was in memory of the petitioner's son, who had been a Royal Marine Commando. A year later a horizontal ledger stone, bearing an enamelled photograph, appeared next to the headstone. The incumbent tried without success to find out from the petitioner how the ledger stone had come to be installed, and so referred the matter, via the Registry, to the Chancellor. The Chancellor directed that the ledger stone should be removed.

A farmer and his son wished to install in the the churchyard a memorial to the farmer's late wife, comprising a small unpolished stone statue of a sheep on a plinth, inscribed in memory of the deceased and with the additional words “The Lord is my Shepherd”. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to authorise a proposed memorial which was outside the Churchyards Regulations by reason of size (base width 60ins and stone 48ins high on top of a plinth 14ins high); type of stone and finish (blue polished granite); and inscription (overly long and sentimental message addressed by the family to the deceased). The Chancellor made it clear that the presence of other memorials in the churchyard which were outside the regulations and installed without faculty did not oblige him to authorise further similar memorials.