Neutral Citations

On 23 December 2015, the Dean of Arches issued a Practice Note requesting Diocesan Registrars to allocate a neutral citation to each Consistory Court judgment. A revised version of the original Practice Note was issued on 27 April 2016. Both Practice Notes can be downloading by clicking on these links:
Practice Note No. 1 of 2015
Practice Note No. 1 of 2016
Neutral citations are only being applied to judgments from 1 January 2016. Prior to that date, the ELA's own method of citation was used.

Those submitting judgments should not that a neutral citation number should appear in the top left corner of a judgment, in the format set out in Practice Note 1 above.

Judgments are as supplied by the relevant Diocesan Registries, but we cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent minor amendments which have not been communicated to us. Anyone wishing to quote from a judgment should check with the relevant Diocesan or Provincial Registrar that the version on this web site is the final version.

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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

Judgments Recently Received

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Re St. Michael the Archangel Emley [2020] ECC Lee 2

The incumbent and churchwardens sought a faculty to authorise the repair of a section of collapsed wall between the churchyard and two adjoining properties. One of the adjoining owners objected on the ground that work should not be done without work on the roots of some adjacent trees. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the wall needed repairing. If there was a tree preservation order in place, which required a further consent from the local authority for removal of the trees (should that be required), then a further faculty may be needed. The Chancellor expressed the hope that the parties could resolve their differences regarding the trees.

Re St. Andrew Ferring [2020] ECC Chi 5

The faculty petition proposed the installation of a new font bowl and also a new stained glass window, which would replace a clear glass window near the font. There were two letters of objection in respect of the window. Applying the principles laid down in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2012] (Court of Arches), the Chancellor was satisfied that any harm to the building would be minimal and that the design was appropriate, and he therefore granted a faculty.

Re St. Nicolas Guildford [2020] ECC Gui 3

The Chancellor granted a confirmatory faculty for the replacement of a modern octagonal entrance vestibule to the church by extending the front entrance and providing information panels about the Loseley Chapel; incorporating the former outside gravel area and south wall of the Chapel into an internal, informal meeting space; expanding the current kitchen area and the installation of underfloor heating throughout the new entrance and reception areas, together with reglazing and the renewal of the heating and ventilation system.

Re St. Giles Exhall [2020] EACC 1

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.

Re St. James Daisy Hill Westhoughton [2020] ECC Man 2

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 ..."

Re St. Michael & All Angels Sutton [2020] ECC Nor 3

The Chancellor granted a faculty for a single storey extension to the 14th century Grade II* church to house a lavatory, a vestry for the clergy and choir and storage for robes; the provision of a kitchenette at the base of the west tower; the repositioning of a screen; and the re-siting of a memorial stone.

Re St. Peter Ad Vincula Hampton Lucy [2020] ECC Cov 2

The petitioners wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard next to the grave of their son. Two parishioners objected: one, on the grounds that the churchyards regulations did not allow a grave reservation; and the other, on the grounds that the reservation would create a gap in a row of graves. The Chancellor granted a faculty. The first objector had misunderstood the purpose of the churchyard regulations, which did not prohibit a grave reservation, and, as regards the second objection, there would be only a modest effect on the appearance of the churchyard. The petitioners (who were in their 60s) were parishioners and entitled to be buried in the churchyard; there was sufficient room for burials for approximately thirty years; and there was a good reason for the petitioners wishing to be buried next to their son.

Re Lambeth Cemetery [2020] ECC Swk 4

The facts of the case were that the petitioner wished to have the body of his son, who was stillborn in 1998, exhumed from an area of the cemetery set aside for the remains of children and reinterred in a burial chamber in the same cemetery with the body of the petitioner's wife, who had died in 2020, the burial chamber being large enough for the petitioner's remains to be interred in it in due course, thus creating a family grave. In his judgment the Chancellor gives his reasons for having already granted a faculty for exhumation. The judgment contains a discussion of the approach of the courts in the leading cases relating to exhumation.

Re St. Lawrence Appleby [2020] ECC Car 1

The proposals were to complete a small kitchen/servery within a cupboard at the west end of the north aisle of the church; to remove some pews from the north aisle, to create a multi-purpose area, and to use wood from the removed pews for the servery cupboard; and to carry out some internal redecoration. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to conditions that (a) some form of ventilation, to be approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee, should be provided to protect the memorials next to the kitchen/servery and (b) any chairs chosen to replace the pew seating removed should be the subject of a separate faculty petition and consultation with the amenity societies.

Re St. Michael Cropthorne [2020] ECC Wor 4

The proposals were to create an accessible lean-to WC to the north of the nave with access from inside the church via the north door, and a tea-point at the west end of the south aisle. The installation of the tea point would require the shortening of four pews and one pew frontal. Historic England was opposed to the shortening of the ancient pews, but did not become a party opponent. The Chancellor decided to grant a faculty, being satisfied that only modest harm would be caused to the character of the building and that such harm as would be caused by the works would be more than outweighed by the resulting improvements to the way in which the church could be used for worship and mission.

Re St. Margaret Rottingdean [2020] ECC Chi 4

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 will 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.

Re St. John the Baptist Suckley [2020] ECC Wor 3

In 2015 the parish had embarked on an extensive set of reordering proposals, which had been the subject of faculty petitions in 2015 and 2017.The present application requested an amendment to the 2017 faculty. The petitioners now wished to replace some of the pews with the Alpha SB2M chair, a metal-framed chair upholstered in a beige, wipeable, stain-resistant fabric, instead of the Theo (all wood) chair which had originally been proposed. The Victorian Society argued that a metal-framed upholstered chair would not fit in with the remaining pews. The Chancellor took the view that "no modern chair, however designed, will match a Victorian pew", and he could see "no particular basis for a general rule against upholstered chairs in listed churches." He granted permission for either chair to be installed.

Re St. Leonard Badlesmere [2020] ECC Can 3

The priest-in-charge and churchwardens sought a confirmatory faculty for replacement of the nave and chancel ceilings and partial redecoration of the interior of the church, including the reredos panels. The plaster used included synthetic fibres, rather than traditional horse hair, and a modern paint had been used instead of limewash. The Commissary General considered that there was some minor harm to the significance of the Grade II* building, but accepted the expert evidence that it would do more harm than good, in physical terms, to strip out the work and start again. She accordingly granted a confirmatory faculty, subject to a condition that the work done should be monitored and reported on annually by the church architect for a period of ten years.

Re Holy Cross Epperstone [2020] ECC S&N 1

The petitioner's father's cremated remains were interred in Epperstone churchyard in Nottinghamshire in 2004. After he died, the petitioner moved to Bradford-on-Avon. In 2013 the petitioner's mother moved to a nursing home in Bradford-on-Avon and she died in 2018. The petitioner wished to have her father's ashes exhumed from Epperstone churchyard and interred with her mother's ashes in Bradford-on-Avon, because it would be inconvenient for the petitioner to travel regularly between Bradford-on-Avon and Nottinghamshire to visit her father's grave. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, as inconvenience did not amount to an exceptional reason for departing from the general principle that Christian burial is to be seen as permanent.

Re St. Bartholomew Brighton [2020] ECC Chi 2

The churchwardens had made arrangements with the church architect and a contractor to install kitchenette facilities in a passage bounded on one side by the main wall of the church and on the other side by the remaining wall of a neighbouring cottage, long since demolished. When the work was almost completed, it was drawn to the attention of the Chancellor, who directed that an application should be made for a confirmatory faculty. In granting a faculty, subject to conditions, the Chancellor made it clear that these new works did not come within the list of works which could be carried out without faculty and that what had already been done had been carried out unlawfully. He directed that the costs of the application should be shared between the churchwardens, the architect and the contractor.

Re All Saints Hove [2020] ECC Chi 3

The works described in the petition were: 'Provision of a new café in the west end of the church including new freestanding café servery and food prep kitchen; integrated chair store; new services for the above (water, power, drainage); new glazed door to south porch; new loose café furniture and welcome desk.' The Victorian Society had reservations about the proposed chair storage, and suggested that the open servery could be replaced by one capable of being closed. The Chancellor, however, was satisfied with the two proposals. The Victorian Society also suggested that the choice of chair for the café area could be linked with a more holistic reordering of the seating in the church. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to conditions, including a condition that within five years the parish should put forward proposals for replacing the existing folding chairs in the body of the church.

Re St. Andrew Hingham [2020] ECC Nor 2

The proposals were to install lavatories and re-locate the kitchen servery, removing 10 (of a total of 60) pews from the end of the nave and 6 pews from the east end of the nave. The objective was to improve health and safety, create a better area for families during baptism, and to provide a more usable area for a wide range of activities alongside the provision of worship. The Victorian Society objected to the number of pews to be removed, but it did not become a party opponent. The Chancellor determined that a moderate degree of harm would be caused to the building, but that this could be justified by the church's needs.

Re Holy Trinity Rivington [2020] ECC Man 1

The proposal was to remove one pew and rearrange three pews at the western end of the church on the south side so as to form an enclosed space with pews on three sides, in order to provide more circulation space for people gathering for coffee after a service; a safe place for children during services; a space for notices and worship aids; and an area for small meetings. There were several letters of objection from people who were resident in the parish or on the electoral roll, but there were no formal parties opponent. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the removal of the pews would not result in harm to the significance of the Grade II listed church as a building of special architectural or historic interest, and that the Petitioners had shown a sufficiently good reason for the change.

Re St. George's Minster Doncaster [2020] ECC She 2

The proposed works included the installation of four toilets and a foldaway servery at the east end of the north aisle of the Grade I listed church. The works required the removal of 18 pews with associated pew platforms, together with the removal of central heating and pipework from the pews. The floor would be excavated and a new floor laid with underfloor heating installed. Two memorial features would need to be relocated. The Victorian Society, whilst accepting that some pews needed to be removed, regarded 18 as too many. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for the proposals, which would provide some much-needed basic facilities, and granted a faculty.

Re St. George Newcastle [2020] ECC New 2

The proposal was to add a single-storey extension at the north-west corner of the Grade I listed church, to provide a lobby, kitchen, servery, a Garden Room, a storeroom and toilets. Fourteen members of the congregation submitted letters of objection in response to the public notices. The main ground for objection was the potential impact of the extension on the Memorial Garden which it would overlook, that it would be a cause of upset to the family members of those whose ashes are interred there and prevent its use for quiet reflection and remembrance. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for the proposed works and granted a faculty.

Re St. Giles Exhall [2020] ECC Cov 1

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.

Re Lambeth Cemetery [2020] ECC Swk 3

The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of her partner James's brother and sister exhumed from the consecrated area of Lambeth Cemetery and reinterred in the same double grave plot which James had reserved in 1991, intending the plot for his mother and himself. The reason for the request was that James's mother had died and her body had been buried in the plot, and James's brother and sister had then died, and their cremated remains had been interred in the plot. This presented a problem when James subsequently died, because for him to be buried in the grave (he did not wish to be cremated), the cremated remains of his brother and sister would have to be lifted in order to allow his burial, with their cremated remains then being returned to the grave. The Chancellor was satisfied that the circumstance were such as to justify the grant of a faculty.

Re St. Helen Worcester [2020] ECC Wor 2

A major reordering was proposed for the city centre church, which was in poor repair and little used, with a view to improving it for worship and attracting more community use. The works proposed a new entrance into the High Street (making it more accessible - the existing access being from Fish Street), replacing the kitchen, floor levelling, underfloor heating, new lighting and a new extension to house new toilets. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Victorian Society questioned the need to remove the east window for the insertion of the new doorway. The Chancellor considered, however, that a new large entrance would require the existing window opening and the stone panel beneath. He granted a faculty for all the works. He was satisfied that the works would "meet a clearly identified need, and that this outweighs any incidental loss of historic fabric or significance that may occur."

Re St. John the Evangelist Killingworth [2020] ECC New 1

The assistant curate and churchwardens applied for a faculty to have the church bell restored and rehung. The bell had been removed to the premises of a bell maintenance company in 2016, with the Archdeacon's permission, as it had become unsafe. A legacy had become available to meet most of the cost of the repair and rehanging. There was one objector, who did not become a party opponent. The Chancellor saw no substance in the grounds of objection and granted a faculty.

Re St. Nicholas Great Coates [2020] ECC Lin 2

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 ..."

Re St. Mary Andover [2020] ECC Win 4

Extensive reordering was proposed, mainly with a view to providing more flexible worship and community use of the church. The main items of concern were: the removal of the chancel stalls to provide additional space for contemporary musical accompaniment for services and for visiting choirs and musicians; the replacement of the nave pews with chairs and the carpeting of the nave. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a case for the works, with the exception of the carpeting, and he granted a faculty accordingly.<?p>

Re St. Mary and the Holy Rood Donington [2020] ECC Lin 1

There was an application for a faculty to create a grave in the east end of the north aisle of the Grade I church for the reburial of the remains of Capt. Matthew Flinders, the famous navigator and cartographer, and the installation of a new ledger stone above the grave. Capt. Flinders' coffin, bearing his name, had been discovered in 2019 during HS2 works to expand Euston Station, and the proposal was to return his remains to the town where he was born. The churchyard had been closed for burials from 1 August 1865, but an Order in Council in 2020 added an exception to the original Order in Council, to allow the interment of Capt. Flinders' remains in the north aisle of the church. The Chancellor determined that, notwithstanding the 2020 Order in Council, a faculty was still needed to authorise the interment in the church, and there needed to be exceptional circumstances to allow an interment inside the church. He decided that the circumstances were exceptional, and that allowing the burial in church would not set a precedent, as the Orders in Council prevented any further burials. He therefore granted a faculty.

Re Christchurch Dore [2020] ECC She 1

In September 2018, the Archdeacon had given a temporary licence for reordering, to allow the removal of two pews (to be retained in safe storage) and the reversal of a third pew, to provide a children's corner on the north side of the church. Three parishioners gave written objections, but did not become parties opponent. Against the background of a forthcoming petition for a general reordering, including removal of the pews, the Chancellor granted a faculty for the temporary arrangement authorised by the Archdeacon to continue until the forthcoming petition was determined. At that point the Chancellor could decide whether the present arrangement should continue or be reversed.

Re St. Michael & All Angels Alvaston [2020] ECC Der 3

There was an application for a faculty in respect of various items of reordering. In 2015, the parish had obtained an archdeacon's licence for temporary reordering, to allow the pews to be moved, to facilitate changes to the heating. The pews were removed and replaced with chairs from another church. The chairs had dark green frames and green upholstery on the seats, and on both sides of the seat backs, and had continued to remain in place. In 2016 a faculty had been granted for new heating, subject to a condition that proposals for any further reordering be put forward. Following the licence, the parish obtained the archdeacon's permission under List B in repect of items of floor boarding and carpeting. Nothing was done within the time limit of the archdeacon's licence or in accordance with the condition in the 2016 faculty until 2019. Notwithinstanding the delay and the changes that had been made, and his concern that he could not regard the removal of the pews as a 'minor' matter which could be the subject of a licence, the Chancellor granted a faculty. He determined that the chairs were acceptable and could remain. He also found the carpet acceptable.

Re All Saints Hesketh with Becconsall [2020] ECC Bla 1

The proposal was to install a new stained glass window in an existing three-light window in the south wall of the unlisted 20th century church in memory of a former parishioner. The Church Buildings Council did not favour the design for several reasons. The Deputy Chancellor himself did not favour the design, but nevertheless granted a faculty. The church was unlisted, the design had been unanimously approved by the Parochial Church Council, and there had been no objections. On the question as to the circumstances in which a memorial should be allowed in church, the Deputy Chancellor quoted Re St. Mary Longstock [2006] 1 W.L.R. 259 and Re St John, Out Rawcliffe [2017] ECC Bla 11 as "authority for the proposition that the ... test of exceptionality, which applies to the introduction of a memorial into a church, does not apply where what is sought to be introduced into a church is an object, such as a stained glass window, which should adorn and beautify the church, and comprise part of its fabric, even though it may also commemorate a particular individual."

Re All Saints Biddenden [2020] ECC Can 1

The priest in charge and a churchwarden sought permission to reuse for burials two areas of the churchyard, which had not been used for burials since 1850. The Commissary General determined that it was appropriate to use the areas for reburials and she granted a faculty. For the benefit of other parishes in the diocese, she indicated that reburial would normally be allowed where there had been no burials in an area to be reused for at least 75 years.

Re All Saints Biddenden [2020] ECC Can 2

The petitioner wished to apply fine shingle or fine gravel to the area within the kerbs of two graves, for the purpose of weed suppression. The Parochial Church Council ("PCC") opposed the proposal, as the Churchyard Regulations provided that “kerbs, railings or chippings, whether raised or at ground level, are not permitted", and the PCC had been endeavouring to enforce the regulations. They would have preferred the kerbs to be removed. The Commissary General considered the factors in favour and against allowing the proposal and decided, on balance, to grant a faculty: there was no petition for the removal of the kerbs; the introduction of fine shingle would not make mowing or strimming more difficult; the appearance of fine shingle was more natural than chippings; and the fine shingle would slow down the growth of weeds.

Re St. Mary Wootton [2020] ECC Oxf 5

The petitioner's father had been buried in the churchyard in 1982. In 1983, the petitioner's mother obtained a faculty reserving the grave next to her husband, as the stony nature of the ground had not permitted the digging of a double depth grave for the two of them. When the petitioner's mother died in 2015, it was found that another burial had encroached on the reserved grave, so that it was not possible for the petitioner's mother to be buried in the grave she had reserved. Her body was buried in a nearby grave. The petitioner, after some delay, applied for a faculty to authorise the exhumation of his father's body and for it to be reinterred in a grave next to that of the petitioner's mother. The Chancellor was satisfied that a mistake had been made and, notwithstanding the delay by the petitioner in presenting a petition, the Chancellor granted a faculty for the exhumation and reinterment.

Re St. Mary the Virgin North Aston [2020] ECC Oxf 3

The proposal was to replace a clear glass window in the south chapel of the church with a new, stained glass window of contemporary design (but incorporating two small original late medieval glass eagles). There was one party opponent, though several parishioners, including members of the Parochial Church Council, expressed their objections to the proposed design. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. He was not satisfied that a convincing case had been made for the particular design in the particular location, such as to overcome the normal presumption against change. He was also concerned that the design of the window, if introduced, would be resented by a significant minority of the worshipping community.

Re St. Mary Bampton Proper [2020] ECC Oxf 6

Part way through a restoration program for the church organ (which was authorised by faculty in 2015), the organ builder had died and the dismantled organ had been moved to another organ builder for storage. The petitioners now wished to continue the restoration work and to return the organ in its previous position against the east wall of the south transept, with the addition of some digital stops, to improve the projection of musical sound into the nave. The British Institute of Organ Studies and the Church Buildings Council objected to the addition of digital stops to the early 19th century organ. However, the Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for the proposed restoration and improvement works and he granted a faculty.

Re St. Andrew Cubley [2020] ECC Der 2

The body of a woman was buried in the grave of her brother. The brother's widow and son were not consulted by the woman's sons or the funeral director or the parish priest. Upon discovering what had happened, the son applied for a faculty for exhumation, as he felt that he and his mother should have been consulted and he would have objected to the interment in his father's grave, had he known about it. The Chancellor took the view that the woman's sons had kept quiet about the existence of the son and widow, in order to have their mother buried in an existing grave in Cubley, where she did not have a legal right to be buried. However, the Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for exhumation. Although it was regrettable that the petitioner and his mother had not been consulted, the petitioner had "not established any basis sufficient in law based on any property right analogous to a reservation, or otherwise, to support his petition for exhumation".

Re St. Michael Tilehurst [2020] ECC Oxf 2

The Chancellor granted a faculty for the exhumation of the mortal remains of the baby son of one of the petitioners and reinterment in Ireland. The baby had lived less than three months. The family had lived in Ireland for 20 years and had a double grave plot reserved in their local churchyard, which could accommodate six burials. The father was suffering from terminal cancer and wished to be buried with his child in the family plot. For this and other reasons, the Chancellor found that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty.

Re Holy Trinity Bledlow [2020] ECC Oxf 4

The 7th Baron Lord Carrington wished to introduce into the church, at the west end of the nave, two heraldic banners which had belonged to his late father, the 6th Baron Carrington. One banner was the late Lord Carrington’s banner as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG), and the other was his banner as a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG). As the late Lord Carrington had had a distinguished political career and made an outstanding contribution to the life of the nation, had lived in the village and was a patron of the church, the Chancellor decided that there were sufficiently good reasons to overcome the ordinary presumption against change to a church building and he therefore granted a faculty.

Re St. Paul Addlestone [2020] ECC Gui 1

The Parochial Church Council wished to install solar panels on the roof of the unlisted Victorian church in order to reduce its energy bills. The Deputy Chancellor was satisfied that "the visual impact of the solar panels will be relatively modest and can be accommodated without serious impact on the heritage value of the building", and he granted a faculty.

Re St. John the Baptist Capel [2020] ECC Gui 2

A parishioner objected to a proposal to introduce a new lighting scheme into the 13th century Grade II* church, but he chose not to become a party opponent. The Chancellor considered the parishioner's eight grounds of objection and considered that none of them provided a reason for refusing the grant of a faculty.

Re All Saints Northallerton [2020] ECC Yor 1

There were two petitioners covering: removal of the pulpit (to improve sight-lines to an altar under the tower, between the nave and the chancel); replacing the gas boiler; underfloor heating in the nave; and electric heating in the chancel. There were two letters of objection to the removal of the pulpit. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for all the works and granted a faculty.

Re St. Chad Pattingham [2020] ECC Lic 4

The proposals were to introduce a votive candle stand and to replace nine pews with Alpha A1LSE chairs with upholstered seats and backs. The Diocesan Advisory Committee ("DAC") did not recommend the proposed chairs. Reservations were also expressed by Historic England, the Victorian Society, and the Ancient Monuments Society. The Chancellor's view was that "the introduction of the proposed chairs would strike a discordant note by way of the presence of large and readily visible areas of coloured fabric." He directed that a faculty should issue for the votive stand, and that a faculty should also issue for the replacement of the pews with such chairs having upholstered seats but unupholstered backs as would be deemed appropriate by the DAC.

Re St. Thomas a Becket Lovington [2020] ECC B&W 1

The subject-matter of the petition was a piece of unconsecrated churchyard between the original churchyard and an adjacent lane. The proposal was to grant a 999 year lease of a strip of the unconsecrated land to the neighbour whose house lay at the end of the lane, which was of tapering width, in order to give the lane uniform width, to allow better access for cars and larger vehicles. There were objections from members of the family who owned the land on the opposite side of the lane. The Chancellor determined that the terms of the proposed lease would benefit both the neighbour and the church, and he granted a faculty. The judgment contains a discussion of the court's jurisdiction to permit the disposal of unconsecrated churchyard land.

Re Saffron Hill Cemetery [2020] ECC Lei 1

The petitioner was acting on behalf of an elderly and infirm gentleman in Ireland, a Mr. Cunningham, who wished to have the remains of his mother exhumed and reinterred in the Roman Catholic churchyard in Ireland next to the place where he was proposing to be interred. Mr. Cunningham's mother was unmarried when she gave birth to Mr. Cunningham, her only child. The stigma of an unmarried young woman having a child had caused the family to send Mr. Cunningham's mother away to England and to arrange for Mr. Cunningham to be adopted. After his adoptive parents had died, Mr. Cunningham attempted to trace his birth mother and in about 2016 found that she was buried in Leicestershire. The Chancellor considered that there were special circumstances justifying him in granting a faculty, subject to there being no objection from Mr. Cunningham's mother's brother, if still alive.

Re The Ascension Blackheath [2020] ECC Swk 3

Extensive reordering works were proposed. The controversial aspects of the proposals were the removal of the pews, their replacement with chairs, and the installation of a new timber floor. The Chancellor was satisfied that the public benefit to be derived from the works would outweigh any harm to the interior of the church and he therefore granted a faculty.

Re St. Dionysius Market Harborough [2020] ECC Lei 3

The faculty petition proposed an extensive reordering to provide: more space in the nave, aisles and chancel with moveable seating; a team administration office; an enclosed meeting space; a new kitchen, refreshment point and toilets; a welcoming entrance, and improved audiovisual systems, Wi-Fi, heating and lighting. All the consultees agreed a specification which all parties could live with. The Chancellor granted a faculty

Re St. Michael & All Angels Fenny Drayton [2020] ECC Lei 2

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 meantim

Re St. Mary Haddiscoe [2020] ECC Nor 1

The petitioners wished to fell a holly tree in the churchyard, because the roots were damaging a table-top tomb dated 1791. They also wished to fell a failing ash tree and to reduce the crowns of two further holly trees encroaching on graves. A report by experts said that either the tomb or the holly tree next to it should be removed. There were living descendants of those commemorated by the tomb who did not want the tomb disturbed. The Chancellor decided that the preservation of the tomb in situ was more important than the preservation of the holly tree. He also agreed to the removal of the ash tree. As regards the remaining two holly trees, the Chancellor required to petitioners to take expert advice about more modest proposals for pruning the two trees.

Re St. Mary Oxted [2020] ECC Swk 2

The petitioners wished to install glass doors in a wooden frame to the outer archway of the church porch. The Diocesan Advisory Committee supported the proposal. Of the amenity societies notified of the proposal, only the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings objected. The Chancellor was satisfied that a convincing case had been made for the proposal and that public benefit would outweigh any harm. He therefore granted a facult

Re St. Michael & All Angels Blaisdon [2020] ECC Glo 3

The petitioner, a parishioner, whose parents and grandparents were buried in the churchyard, wished to reserve a grave space for herself and her partner. The Parochial Church Council, a few days before the date of the petition, had, without giving notice to parishioners, decided to adopt a policy of no grave reservations, even though there was said to be enough room in the churchyard for burials for the next 50 years. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioner had made a good case for the reservation of a grave and granted a faculty.

Re St. Thomas of Canterbury Tangley [2020] ECC Win 3

The petitioners wished to carry out some reordering works inside and outside the church, so that the church could be used for retreats and quiet days. The main item at issue was a proposed platform to be erected in a piece of woodland at the end of the churchyard. (The woodland had formerly been glebe, but had been added to the churchyard some years previously.) The petitioners proposed to use the platform as a base for a temporary structure, such as a tent or a gazebo, whilst conducting retreats. The Chancellor refused to allow the platform, but granted a faculty for all the other items in the petitio

Re St. Laurence Alvechurch [2020] ECC Wor 1

The petitioner wished to place a memorial on her mother's grave. The parish priest declined to authorise the proposed memorial, as it did not fall within the scope of the Diocesan Guidelines. The design resembled a scroll, between two hand-carved angels, above a plinth resting on a base. The central “scroll” and the plinth and base were in Rustenburg dark grey granite, and the two angels in a paler stone. The Chancellor considered that carvings of angels in full relief would not be appropriate to the setting, but he would not object to carvings of angels in low relief on the memorial stone. On that basis he granted a faculty for a memorial, subject to the final design being approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee or, in default of such approval, by the court.

Re St. John the Evangelist Cononley with Bradley [2020] ECC Lee 1

A faculty had been granted in 2016 to authorise extensive reordering works in the church. The faculty had authorised (inter alia) solid wood Rosehill chairs. The petitioners now wished, after the extended period for completion of the works had elapsed, to introduce Alpha chairs with wooden backs and upholstered seats. The Chancellor refused to grant such variation to the faculty granted in 2016, so as now to allow part-upholstered chairs, but indicated that he would be prepared to consider a further application for variation in respect of one of the alternative solid wood chairs suggested by the church's inspecting architect prior to the 2016 faculty.

Re St. James Brownhills [2020] ECC Lic 3

The petitioner wished to reserve a triple-depth grave for himself, his brother and his sister. The Parochial Church Council("the PCC") was opposed to the reservation of the grave, as it had maintained a policy of not supporting the reservation of gravespaces for at least forty years. The Chancellor found that there were exceptional reasons to allow the grant of a faculty: (1) the grave would be for three family members; (2) the graveyard already contained the graves of a number of members of the petitioner’s family; (3) there were concerns (undisclosed in the judgment) which were personal to the petitioner. The Chancellor also noted that, notwithstanding the policy of the PCC, members of the PCC were sympathetic to the petitioner's request.

Re St. Philip & St. James Up Hatherley [2020] ECC Glo 2

The petitioner sought a faculty to authorise the exhumation of the cremated remains of his wife from the churchyard at Up Hatherley, in order that the remains might be reinterred in Australia, where the couple had lived since emigrating there in 1980 and had brought up their family. Following his wife's death, the petitioner, against the wishes of his family, including his wife (an atheist), who had made it known to the rest of her family that she had no wish to be buried in a Christian churchyard in England, arranged to have his wife's ashes interred in the churchyard at Up Hatherley. After recovering from an illness after the interment in England, the petitioner realised that he had made a mistake in having his wife's ashes interred in an English churchyard against her wishes and wished to have her ashes moved to Australia. The Deputy Chancellor decided that the mistake constituted an exceptional ground for allowing exhumation.

Re St. Mary Chithurst [2020] ECC Chi 1

The Parish Council, which was responsible for the maintenance of the closed churchyard at Chithurst, wished to fell an ash tree, which was suffering from ash die-back, on the grounds that the disease might cause the tree to become dangerous within the next few years and cause damage to the church or passers-by. The proposal was opposed by two neighbours. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for the felling of the tree and granted a faculty.

Re All Saints Marcham [2020] ECC Oxf 1

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the removal of a large yew tree growing close to the south wall of the nave of the church.

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Coleshill [2020] ECC Bir 1

The reordering works approved by a faculty granted in 2015 had not been completed within the time allowed. A new petition was presented, requesting authority to carry out the remaining items of work. Historic England and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings had concerns about certain aspects of the proposals (including the pews, the heating system, raising the floors, carpeting, the screens and the glazing). However, the Chancellor was satisfied that a case had been made for the proposals and granted a faculty.

Re St. Mary Canwell [2020] ECC Lic 2

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."

Re St. John the Baptist Ruardean [2020] ECC Glo 1

The petition proposed various landscaping works in the churchyard, relating to the addition of a churchyard extension. There was a single objection to the removal of a line of fir trees. The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty for all the proposed works.

Re Holy Trinity Mapperley [2020] ECC Der 1

The petitioners wished to remove permanently from the 1960s church the original pulpit, which had not been used for 20 years. Three individuals objected to the proposal, but the Chancellor determined that the pulpit 'does little, if anything, for the look of the interior, and it is not an item of intrinsic worth or merit.' He accordingly granted a faculty.

Re St. Michael & All Angels Blackheath Park [2020] ECC Swk 1

The Chancellor granted a faculty to permit the installation of external floodlighting. The judgment contains a discussion of the effect of floodlighting on the carbon footprint of the church.

Re Holy Trinity Christchurch [2020] ECC Win 2

The proposal was to remove the last three remaining rows of 20th century pews from the nave of the Grade I church, to 'facilitate flexible use of the nave for worship and missional events'. The Chancellor was satisfied that the benefits of removal far outweighed any disadvantages and he accordingly granted a faculty.

Re St. Francis of Assisi Bournemouth [2020] ECC Win 1

The proposal was to install an audio-visual system in the church, to include a number of retractable screens and a camera. There were three letters of objection, stating that the screens would be detrimental to the character of the Grade II 20th century church; there was no need for permanent screens; the financial cost was not justified; and there were concerns about privacy and data protection. The Chancellor was satisfied that there was a genuine need for the screens and that what was proposed was the best option. He therefore granted a faculty.

Re St. John the Baptist Ashley [2020] ECC Lic 1

The petitioner, a non-parishioner, wished to reserve a grave space in the churchyard for herself and her partner, next to the plot in which her father was buried. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. There were only 50 available spaces, and burials averaged 7 a year. The petitioner, aged 31, was unlikely to die before the remaining spaces were required within about 7 years' time by those legally entitled to be buried in the churchyard, and so a reservation would prevent parishioners being buried in the remaining spaces.