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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 petitioner sought to install a memorial of York Stone (and within the diocesan churchyards regulations) into an area of the churchyard known as the Croft. The Rector, PCC and a number of private individuals objected to York Stone, because allegedly the PCC had made a decision in the past that only grey granite stones should be allowed in that particular area. The PCC was unable to produce any evidence of a decision by the PCC to limit stones to grey granite, though most of the stones in the area were of that type. The Chancellor pointed out that a PCC can only have a variation to the diocesan regulations if such variation is approved by the Chancellor of the Diocese. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the memorial of York Stone.

The petitioner wished to erect a memorial on his mother's grave. The proposed memorial was of Portland Stone, 18ins high and with raised kerbs around the grave. The intention was to mirror another memorial to a relative, which was a few yards away. The memorial was outside the Churchyards Regulations in terms of minimum height and the laying of kerbs. The Chancellor saw no objection to the height of the proposed memorial. But he gave permission for kerbs only if they were to be laid flush with the level of the ground.

The petitioners wished to install a plaque, 25cm by 45cm, at the entrance to the church in order to comply with their commitment to acknowledge a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Chancellor felt that the fixing of such a relatively large plaque to one side of the main door of the church would cause serious harm to the building within the meaning of questions 1-3 in Re St. Alkmund Duffield (2013) Fam 146. He determined to dismiss the petition, unless within one month the petitioners applied for an adjournment in order to amend the petition and seek permission for the adoption of either of the smaller alternative plaques suggested by the Chancellor in his judgment.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to allow a coloured engraving of Thomas the Tank Engine on a memorial to a three year old child.

In 1953 a faculty had been granted to the petitioner's grandfather to permit the erection of a memorial and the creation of a vault reserving to the petitioner's grandfather and the members of his family the right of burial in the vault. The present petitioner's grandparents and other deceased members of the family had since been buried in the vault. There were six shelves in the vault, of which four had been used. The petitioner wished to reserve the remaining two shelves for the burial of himself and his fiancee. The petitioner's cousin objected to a faculty being granted on the grounds that the reservations would prevent any further members of the family (who might predecease the petitioner and his fiancee) from being placed in the vault, and because she felt that the terms of the orginal faculty limited the right of interment to direct descendants only. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, but directed that (a) a person who married into the family would be eligible to be buried in the vault; (b) an interment should be treated as including the placing of cremated remains in the vault; and (c) if "space remains on any given shelf for the seemly custody of the cremated remains of more than one person then it is permissible for there to be such remains of more than one person on each shelf in the vault."

The Petitioner's grandparents were buried in a grave which has a double width headstone and a double kerb surround. Over time, the remains of the petitioner's late husband, her sister and her parents had been interred in the double grave. The petitioner now wished to carry out some renovation of the grave and place three grey granite tablets within the kerbs, with inscriptions recording the names of those interred since the petitioner's grandparents were interred. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to a condition that there should be consistency in the format of the dates of death.

The petitioner wished to re-locate the headstone at the grave of her son by a small distance sideways, so that it would be aligned with what she believed to be the centre of the head of her son’s grave. The vicar and churchwardens objected on the grounds that (1) realigning the stone would make it stand out amongst other stones in the churchyard with which it would not be in line; (2) headstones were aligned with those in rows behind them “for dignity, and creating an orderly environment”; (3) the petitioner had agreed in writing to the headstone being aligned with the stones behind; and (4) allowing the petition would be seen as creating a precedent. The Chancellor did not consider the first and fourth objections as carrying much weight, but that the second and third objections did. The vicar was entitled to require such uniformity of alignment of monuments as he thought fit, within the parameters of the churchyard regulations, and the petitioner had agreed in writing to the monument being placed where it was, even if there had been a mistake in understanding on her part. The Chancellor accordingly refused to grant a faculty.

The widow of the former priest who died in office applied for permission to have her husband's ashes interred in a granite casket resting on a concrete slab below the base and to the west of the newly re-positioned font in the baptistery at the eastern end of the south aisle of the church and to erect a white marble plaque set within a timber surround above the casket, which would sit flush with the surrounding timber boarded floor. The Chancellor was satisfied that (1) the interment inside the church would not set a precedent, as the PCC would only support interment in church in the case of the death of a priest in office and (2) the priest's service and the affection in which he was held satisfied the test applicable to the introduction of a memorial plaque into the church.

The petitioner's parents had both been born in the Irish Republic and had been active in serving the Irish community, both in Coventry and nationally. Following her mother's death, the petitioner sought a memorial, of which the significant features would be a Celtic Cross (which would extend beyond the top of the memorial) containing an emblem of the Gaelic Athletic Association,  and the Irish Gaelic words “In ár gcroíthe go deo”, meaning “In our hearts forever”. The Chancellor took the view that a cross protruding above the memorial would have had a 'jarring impact' on the churchyard as a whole and that an incised cross would be more appropriate, to which the petitioner agreed. However, the Chancellor refused to allow an inscription in Gaelic without a translation, which would be incomprehensible to most people visiting the churchyard, and might be misconstrued as a slogan or political statement. He therefore granted a faculty for a memorial with an incised cross and for the Gaelic words to be included, provided that an English translation was also inscribed.

A parishioner had died and her cremated remains were interred in the churchyard extension. The family applied to have a "desk style memorial" placed over the grave. Being informed that such a memorial would not be allowed under the Churchyards Regulations, the family agreed to a flat stone. By mistake the stonemason prepared a stone according to the original specification. On realising his error, the stonemason offered to replace the stone with a flat stone, but the
family would not allow him to do so. The Archdeacon applied for a faculty to have the desk style memorial replaced with a flat one. The Chancellor determined that it was appropriate to grant a faculty to the Archdeacon.