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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 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 wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial to her two children, who had died, aged 6 and 9, from Batten disease. When the first child had died, a memorial which was outside the churchyards regulations had been installed without permission. Following the death of the second child, the petitioner sought approval of a new memorial design, with an image of Winnie-the-Pooh at the top and the inscription including phrases from other children's literature - “To infinity and beyond” and “We love you to the moon and back”.  The Chancellor granted a faculty. He considered that the petitioner had made out a compelling case and that there were exceptional pastoral reasons for approving the design, to give comfort and solace to the petitioner and her family.

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 petitioners, the rector and churchwardens, removed from the churchyard personal mementoes which had been placed on graves, and which the churchyards regulations did not allow. They then gave notice of removal, where possible advising the families concerned as to where they could collect the relevant items. The petitioners subsequently applied for a faculty for the disposal of the items not collected. There were two objectors, who became parties opponent, around 40 other written objections, and there was an online petition opposing the faculty. The Chancellor decided that the petitioners were entitled to remove the items, as required by the churchyards regulations, and that a faculty was needed for their disposal. The Chancellor therefore confirmed an earlier decision to grant a faculty, subject to there being no objections.

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.

In the late 1980s, an upright memorial had been introduced into the churchyard, and the grave had been surrounded with pre-cast concrete edging and covered with white chippings. The petitioner now wished to replace the concrete edging with stone kerbs. Although kerbs would not normally be approved, the Chancellor granted a faculty. It would be inappropriate to require the removal the concrete edging, which had been in place for over 20 years, and the new kerbs would not be any more obtrusive.

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.