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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 20 January 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2021 judgments on this web site.



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.

Faculty granted for the removal of a single pew, to make room for an audio-visual control desk.

A scheme of reordering was proposed for the church, including covering the whole floor with carpet. The Chancellor approved the works, incuding the carpet, as the church had "no architectural or aesthetic merit whatever", and he referred to Professor Pevsner's description of the church as "bad". Therefore the carpet would not adversley affect the character of the church. Also, the Chancellor accepted the arguments that the carpet would deaden the sound coming from the busy main road immediately next to the church.
(Note: This judgment also deals with a separate petition which included a proposal for carpeting, and is therefore separately listed as Re St. Michael the Archangel South Malling [1985] Quentin Edwards Ch. (Chichester)).

The faculty petition related to extensive internal reordering works, to enable more varied use of the church both in worship and for community events and to provide greater accessibility. The Chancellor was satisfied that, notwithstanding the loss of the remaining fixed seating,  the works would have little impact on the overall architectural character and appearance of the building, and she therefore granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished the Chancellor to vary a faculty granted in 2018 in respect of the choice of chair to be used in the internal reordering of the church, by approving their suggested choice of the (upholstered) Alpha SB2M chair in substitution for the previously intended Trinity ‘Abbey’ (un-upholstered) chair. The Church Buildings Council, the Victorian Society and the Diocesan Advisory Committee were not in favour of upholstered seating. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposed alternative seat had a good 'track record' and that it was acceptable for this particular church. He accordingly granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to separate the altar from the reredos, modify it, so that it would be free-standing, and move it away from the east end, to enable the priest to celebrate facing west; to relocate the reredos to the link between the church and the church hall ; and to renovate an old table to become a credence table. The Victorian Society objected to the separation of the reredos and altar and proposed re-siting of the reredos. The Church Buildings Council objected to the reredos being placed to the link to the hall. The Chancellor considered that there was a good case for moving the altar to allow west-facing celebration, and also safety benefits for the restricted space in the east end of this small church; also  the scheme would allow the retention, rather than disposal, of the reredos. There would also be the benefit of exposing the original stained glass window hidden by the reredos. The Chancellor therefore granted a faculty.

The Team Rector and Churchwardens sought a faculty for substantial internal reordering, to create a major transformation of the church's interior, in order to further its mission and community use. Almost half of the judgment deals with the proposal to remove the existing pews and replace them with wooden chairs with padded seats and backs. Other major items considered in detail are the removal of the pulpit, the replacement of the pipe organ with an electronic organ, and the re-siting of the font. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made out a good case for all the proposals and granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to reorder the interior of the church to provide toilets, a kitchen, storage and improved heating. The church was built in 1869 by the architect W. H. Crossland and is Grade II listed. The Parochial Church Council's objective was to ensure that the church stayed open for church and community use and thereby avoided closure. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. Notwithstanding the general aspirations of the petitioners,  he considered that the works would result in harm to the significance of this church as a building of special architectural or historic interest, and the petitioners had not produced sufficient substantive evidence of the prospective benefits of the works which might outweigh any harm that might be caused to the historic integrity of the church. 

The Vicar and Churchwardens applied for a faculty to authorise the removal of all of the pews from the chancel and nave of the Grade II church and replace them with 120 wooden upholstered chairs. There were objections to removal of the pews and to replacement chairs being upholstered. The Victorian Society objected to the removal of all the pews and suggested that the existing carpet should be removed. The Chancellor determined that the petitioners had made a good case for the removal of the pews from the nave and for replacement chairs with upholstered seats, but not for the removal of the pews from the chancel. The retention of the pews in the chancel would maintain a discrete formal area, which would not affect the main objective of allowing for much greater flexibility of worship and other events in the nave.

The vicar and churchwardens sought a faculty for the installation of a new audio-visual system in the church. Historic England suggested that a more adaptable and less permanent solution should be adopted, given that "the ever improving nature of audio-visual technology will also mean that these proposed screens will likely need to be replaced in a relatively short period of time". The Chancellor saw no reason to make the petitioners delay the installation of a new system pending new technology and he granted a faculty.