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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 priest in charge, a churchwarden and the Chairman of the Tutbury War Memorials Preservation Committee petitioned for a faculty to place two metal wreath holders near to the war memorial in the churchyard. Historic England and the Parish Council objected, the former becoming a party opponent. Historic England felt that the proposed structures were not of sufficient aesthetic merit for the churchyard of the Grade I listed church. The Chancellor, however, was satisfied that what was proposed was of an appropriate quality, and accordingly he granted a faculty.

The petitioner sought a confirmatory faculty to permit the retention of some kerbs and slate chippings which were introduced at the grave of his late father without the prior authority of a faculty. The petitioner later gave notice that he wished to withdraw his petition. In his judgment, the Chancellor granted leave to withdraw the petition and stated that, as a consequence, a retrospective faculty could not be granted; the kerbs and chippings should be removed to a secure place and, if the kerbs and chippings were not removed by the petitioner within 6 weeks, the churchwardens could remove them and dispose of them as they wished.

The parish priest sought a direction from the Chancellor as to whether it was permissible, within the diocesan churchyards regulations, to allow a memorial inscription which included Chinese characters. The Chancellor determined that, notwithstanding the recent decision in Re St. Giles Exhall [2020] ECC Cov 1, that the Irish expression, 'In ár gcroíthe go deo', could only appear on a headstone if it was accompanied by its English translation, ‘in our hearts forever’, it was appropriate to include a phrase in a foreign language, without a translation, provided that the phrase did not offend Christian doctrine or teaching. The Chancellor therefore made a declaration giving appropriate guidance to the clergy of the diocese as an addendum to the churchyards regulations.

The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for a memorial which was outside the diocesan churchyards regulations in a number of aspects, including: the design in the shape of a double heart; the stone wider than the maximum permitted under the regulations; polished blue granite; a green and white floral motif.

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".