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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 wished to introduce into the churchyard a polished dark grey granite memorial in the shape of a traditional Gypsy caravan. On the front would be a representation of the double doors of such a caravan with blank windows and the doors flanked on either side by the engraved representation of a lit hurricane lamp. An inscription would be placed on the left-hand door, with the right hand door capable of bearing a further inscription following a later interment in the grave. It was also proposed that on the reverse of the stone there would be a representation of the rear window of a Gypsy caravan, with curtains at the window and a suspended cage containing two songbirds visible through the window. It was also requested that below the window there should be etched a representation of a horse-drawn two-wheeled waggon. It was proposed that the etched designs and inscription should be silvered. The deceased had lived all his life in a traditional Gypsy caravan. The Deputy Chancellor approved the  memorial, with the exception of the representation of a waggon on the reverse side.

The Rector and Churchwardens petitioned to install a heraldic hatchment with the coat of arms of the Collins family of Adlestrop Park in the nave or in the north transept of the church. There were already in the church three hatchments of the Leigh family, who had owned Adlestrop Park from 1553 until it was sold to the Collins family during the last century. A parishioner objected that "Church hatchments were to mark the death of a ‘Lord of the Manor’ ... only a family which has strong ties over several generations should have such a display.”  The Chancellor was satisfied that hatchments, if displaying legally authorised Coats of Arms, can still with sufficient reason be introduced by Faculty. [Note: Jane Austen is believed to have regularly visited Adlestrop.]

The Dean of Arches allowed an appeal against the decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese, who refused to grant a confirmatory faculty for a memorial placed inside the church. The Dean pointed out that a faculty for a memorial inside a church should only be granted in exceptional circumstances. He found that in the present case there were exceptional circumstances, as the persons commemorated had been substantial benefactors of the church and the village over many years.

Faculty granted for the removal wooden and plastic kerbs from a number of graves.

In 2012, memorial kerbs had been removed from the churchyard without the authority of a faculty, causing distress to several family members of those buried in the churchyard. The Chancellor directed that the Team Vicar and Churchwardens should apply for a confirmatory faculty, in order that objections could be properly dealt with. Faculty granted, subject to conditions, including a requirement that kerbs should be reinstated, but laid flush with the ground.

An urgent faculty was sought for the temporary removal of two headstones from the churchyard to a place of safety. They had been erected in 1962 on the graves of music hall performers whose stage names incorporated a term which is a derogatory and offensive reference to black people. That word was included in the inscriptions. The chancellor granted the faculties, as a temporary expedient to protect the headstones from damage, noting the current Black Lives Matter movement. He gave directions for the future disposal of the matter, particularly the tracing of the respective heirs-at-law, who are the legal owner of the headstones. The Chancellor would determine at a future date whether the headstones be re-introduced, either unaltered or with the offensive wording erased or obscured; whether alternative headstones be substituted; or whether there should be some other resolution.

The Chancellor refused to permit a memorial bearing the masonic symbol of a square and compasses, because he considered that "wording or symbols which give rise to a real risk of offence or upset to a significant body of those visiting the churchyard will not be permitted."

The petitioner sought permission to erect a memorial to her late father. The design comprised a tapered four-sided stone surmounted by a Celtic cross. (Her father was a Catholic of Irish descent.) The overall height of the memorial would be 43 inches. The PCC felt that the proposed stone was too tall (though the maximum height specified in the churchyards regulations was 48 inches), and that the design would be out of keeping with the rest of the memorials in the churchyard. The Chancellor considered that the design was within the regulations, and that uniformity was not to be sought in itself. Applying the test of 'suitability', he granted a faculty.

The Chancellor considered three petitions relating to memorials. The first petition sought retrospective approval of a memorial (already erected) in the shape of an open book. The second petition, by the Archdeacon, sought the removal of the memorial. The third petition was for a further memorial in the shape of an open book. The Chancellor decided to authorise the first memorial and the erection of the second and to refuse the Archdeacon's petition.

The petitioner wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial of black polished granite with matching kerbs filled with grey granite chippings. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty as the proposed memorial was outside the churchyards regulations and he also considered it inappropriate for the particular churchyard. He also made it clear that the unlawful introduction of unsuitable memorials of a similar type in the past did not justify the current proposal.