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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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Leave to appeal granted by the Dean of the Arches in respect of a decision by the Chancellor not to allow a Gaelic inscription on a memorial unless accompanied by an English translation.

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.

The Archdeacon applied for a faculty to authorise the removal from the churchyard of a "desktop" style memorial marking the interment of cremated remains, as it did not comply with the Churchyard Memorial Rules currently in force. The family of the deceased objected. The Chancellor determined that there were no exceptional reasons why the memorial should remain and accordingly granted a faculty to authorise the removal of the memorial and its replacement with a memorial which complied with the Rules.

The petitioner wished to install in the churchyard a vertical slab memorial surmounted by a Celtic wheel style cross, the total height of the memorial being 39 inches. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, but said that it would be appropriate for the incumbent to approve a stone of conventional shape with the incised design of a Celtic cross.

The petitioner wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial of dark grey granite, polished on the face only, with silvered lettering within an incised design of an open book; the inscription included the words "Beloved Husband, Dad and Grandad". The proposal also included kerb stones and a granite vase bearing the inscription "John" within the kerbs. The Deputy Chancellor determined that the memorial would not be out of place in this particular churchyard, bearing in mind other memorials nearby, and he granted a faculty, subject to the vase not bearing an inscription.

The petitioner wished to place a memorial on her late husband's grave. Many of the details of the proposed design were outside the diocesan churchyards regulations, including: two coloured engravings, one of a robin and the other of a West Highland Terrier (to represent a deceased family pet); dark grey honed granite with a polished obverse side; gold lettering; the use of the words "Dad" and "Grandad" in the inscription; two flower holders in the base. The Parochial Church Council members unanimously did not support the proposal. Bearing in mind the context of the grave, which had near it other memorials with polished faces, the Deputy Chancellor did not approve the memorial design as proposed, but granted a faculty allowing: dark grey honed granite with a polished obverse side; white (rather than gold) lettering; the use of the words "Dad" and "Grandad" in the inscription; one flower holder only; the design of the dog, coloured white, but not the coloured design of the robin.

The petitioner's wife died in February 2018 and her body had been cremated. Her ashes had not been interred in the Garden of Remembrance in the churchyard. The Church had its own set of churchyards regulations, approved by faculty, which prohibited memorials to mark the interment of cremated remains. In April 2018, the petitioner reserved a grave for himself in the churchyard. He now wished to have a tablet in memory of his wife placed either on the grave he had reserved for himself, in anticipation of his wife being buried in the reserved grave after he himself had been buried in it, or on a cremation plot in the Garden of Remembrance, if his wife's ashes were buried there. The Chancellor refused a faculty, as he did not feel that the Petitioner had made a good case for an exception to the church's churchyard regulations. He pointed out, inter alia, that a memorial to the petitioner and his wife could be erected on the reserved grave after the petitioner's body and his wife's ashes had both been buried in it.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise a black granite memorial in the churchyard: " ... given the presence of so many examples of black granite memorials in this churchyard, it would in my judgment be unconscionable in this case to refuse consent for one more such memorial ..."

The petitioner wished to place a memorial to her late brother on the family grave in which his cremated remains had been interred. The proposal was for a wedge shaped polished black granite memorial, 18" by 12", with gold lettering. At the head of the grave was an upright polished black granite memorial with gold lettering, bearing the names of the other members of the family whose remains had been interred in the grave. Two family members objected that the proposed memorial would dominate the grave. There were said to be other black granite memorials with gold lettering in the churchyard. The Chancellor refused to allow a wedge shaped stone, but said that in the circumstances he would permit "a 12” cube in polished black granite and bearing the proposed words in gold lettering".