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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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In the particular circumstances of this case, the Chancellor found reasons to justify the grant of a faculty authorising a memorial of light grey Cornish granite, which is not covered by the churchyard regulations: the deceased had a connection with Cornwall; there were two Cornish light grey memorials already in the same row as the grave of the deceased, and one in the next row; and the stone was not far removed in the appearance from the majority of local stones in the churchyard.

The Petitioner wished to add the word 'Beloved' to the memorial on his father's grave, on a blank line before the words 'Father, Teacher, Linguist'. The incumbent and one of the churchwardens became parties opponent and there were two parishioners who submitted letters of objection. In 2010 the petitioner had been convicted of murdering his father, and had been sentenced to life imprisonment. Following the murder, the petitioner had buried his father's body under concrete and had made a pretence to the community that his father was still alive. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. He concluded that, given the circumstances, it would be inappropriate to allow the word 'Beloved' to be added to the memorial, and would be likely to give offence to the local community. Furthermore, the word would appear to the public as an expression of the petitioner's continuing denial of the offence for which he had been convicted.

A faculty was granted for a memorial in the form of an urn.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for a proposed memorial which included kerbs.

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.

The subject matter of the petition was a memorial to Tobias Rustat (d. 1694) in the Chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. The petitioners (the College) wished to remove the memorial from the Chapel, for conservation and retention elsewhere, as they wished to avoid the risk of people worshipping at the Chapel being offended by the memorial, in view of Rustat’s involvement in the slave trade in the late 17th century. There were many objectors to the proposal. The judgment deals with procedural and evidential issues, including refusing the objectors’ application to adjourn the hearing listed for 2-4 February 2022 in order to obtain the expert evidence of a historian, and refusing the petitioners’ application to call an eighth witness.

His Hon. Judge David Hodge was specially appointed by the Bishop of Huntingdon to act as Deputy Chancellor to determine the petition presented by the College, which sought permission to remove from the College Chapel a Grinling Gibbons memorial to Tobias Rustat, who had been a benefactor of the College in the 17th century. The College contended that Rustat's investment in companies connected with the slave trade created a serious obstacle to the Chapel’s ability to provide a credible Christian ministry and witness to the College community and a safe space for secular College functions and events. The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. He considered that the removal of the Rustat memorial from the west wall of the Chapel would cause considerable, or notable, harm to the significance of the Chapel as a building of special architectural or historic interest, and he was not satisfied  that a clear and sufficiently convincing justification for the removal of the memorial had been made by the College.

In his judgment in Re Jesus College Cambridge [2022] ECC Ely 2, the Deputy Chancellor dismissed a faculty petition by the College to remove the C17th memorial to Tobias Rustat from the west wall of the Grade I listed College Chapel. The present judgment deals with an application for costs by the parties opponent.  For the detailed reasons set out in the judgment, the Deputy Chancellor refused the application for costs by the parties opponent. There was an overriding principle in relation to costs that parties should not be penalised by an award of costs against them purely because they were unsuccessful, but only if they had acted unreasonably and thereby increased the costs of the litigation. The Chancellor was satisfied that the College had on the whole acted reasonably, and that "any mistakes have tended to work to the benefit of the case advanced by the parties opponent rather than causing them to incur costs unnecessarily."

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.