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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 a faculty to erect in Maughold churchyard, forthwith and before his death, a memorial in the shape of a Buddhist stupa. The memorial was to include the inscription: 'He wanted green dandelions', a statement described as a Buddhist 'koan', an illogical statement designed to aid meditation. The Vicar General refused to grant a faculty to permit the petitioner to place the stupa in the churchyard in advance of his death, and stated that the inscription would have to be considered when and if an application for a faculty was made after the Petitioner's death.

The petitioner applied for a a confirmatory faculty permitting the continued presence in the churchyard of a memorial made of white marble 55 centimetres high in the shape of a cross, with some heart motifs and a brass plaque on it. The memorial did not comply with the churchyard regulations.  Neither the Diocesan Advisory Committee nor the Parochial Church Council approved of the memorial. The Chancellor dismissed the petition and directed that the stone should be removed by the petitioner within 2 months, in default of which the stone should be removed by the incumbent and churchwardens. However, the Chancellor gave the petitioner 14 days in which to apply in writing with reasons why the order should not be enforced and that the dismissal of the petition should remain on hold in the meantime.

The petitioner's late father had been buried in the churchyard in 2000. Her mother died in 2017, and the petitioner wished to carry out her mother's wishes to have kerbs placed around her father's grave and her mother's ashes scattered on the gravel. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to authorise kerbs and gravel to be placed on the grave. Although there were some other graves with kerbs in the churchyard, the grave in question was next to the footpath and the first in a long line of graves with no kerbs, and kerbs would make maintenance of the churchyard more difficult. The Chancellor also refused to allow the scattering of ashes, as being contrary to the churchyards regulations and Canon B 38 (4)(a).  Also, the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 1992 refers to the “burial” of cremated remains.

The Chancellor declined to allow the addition of an inscription on a floor tile in the sanctuary of the church in memory of a former parish clerk, but instead allowed a memorial to be placed on the wall at the west end of the nave, opposite a plaque in memory of another former parish clerk.

The petitioner applied for approval of a memorial in memory of her late husband. The proposed memorial was to be 6 feet wide and 4 feet 6 inches high on a 7 feet wide base, so that it would cover not only the head of the grave of the deceased, but also the head of the adjacent grave reserved for the petitioner. The headstone would take the form of two large interlocking heart shapes, each of which would be flanked by two smaller heart shapes. The stone would bear gold lettering and images of a horse's head and a riverbank scene, to reflect the life of the deceased, a leading member of the local traveller community. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the memorial as proposed, because its size was considerably larger than the churchyards regulations would normally allow, and it would dominate the area of the churchyard where it would be erected. He permitted a smaller memorial in the style requested, provided that it did not exceed 4 feet 4 inches in height and 4 feet in width.

Mr. Gordon Mills died in 1983 and was buried in the churchyard at Welcombe. A memorial had been erected over his grave, leaving room for a further inscription. Some years before, his marriage had broken down, and following separation from his wife had lived with Mrs. Margaret Walker. Following Mrs. Walker's death in 2000, one of Mr. Mills's daughters and a granddaughter applied for permission to add the following inscription to the memorial: "Also his beloved Margaret (Walker) much loved Mum and Nan 31-12-1915 - 24-2-2000". Four of Mr. Mills's children objected to the inscription. The Chancellor decided that "Mum and Nan" might be misleading, as Mrs. Walker was not the natural mother and grandmother to all Mr. Mills's children and grandchildren. He also thought "loved" and "beloved" was repetitious. He therefore granted a faculty authorising: "Also his beloved companion Margaret Walker 31st December 1915 - 24th February 2000".

The petitioner wished to introduce into the churchyard a memorial to her late husband. The proposed memorial included kerbs laid flush with the ground. The Diocesan Advisory Committee felt unable to recommend the proposal, as the churchyard regulations had for three decades not allowed the introduction of kerbs, and the Church Council did not support the proposal. Although the petitioner argued that kerbs laid flush with the ground would not impede mowing, the Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. Mowing was not his only concern: "I am concerned that kerbs, even flush with the ground, would have the effect of creating a series of individual memorial plots, boundaried and set apart, grave by grave, from the rest of the churchyard. This would conflict with the sense that each grave and its memorial was contributing to the overall peace and tranquillity of the whole churchyard ..."

The Chancellor refused to allow a design of the Masonic square and compasses to be added to a memorial to the Petitioner's late husband, who had been a Freemason for forty years, latterly holding high office in Freemasonry.

The petitioner wished to replace a memorial stone commemorating one parent with a new black granite stone commemorating both parents, the second parent having died recently. The parish priest and Parochial Church Council objected, as the specification was outside the diocesan churchyards regulations, notwithstanding that there were several black granite memorials already in the churchyard. The Chancellor granted a faculty on the basis that it would be unreasonable and discriminatory towards the family concerned if a faculty were refused when there were already so many black granite memorials in the churchyard.

The petitioner wished to erect in the churchyard a polished black headstone with gold lettering, in memory of his father. The PCC opposed the proposal, as they were trying to ensure that all new memorials fell within the CHurchyards Regulations. The DAC and Archdeacon were not in favour of the proposal. The Chancellor dismissed the petition and directed that the petitioner should pay the costs.