Judgment Search


Click on one of the following to view and/or download the relevant document:

Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022



The Rector and Churchwardens wished to create an educational area in the east end of the south aisle of the church dedicated to the life and work of the Reverend John Newton (1725-1807) and to introduce into the church an informative display. (John Newton was a reformed slave ship captain, who was the curate-in-charge of the church from 1764 to 1780 and the author of the hymn 'Amazing Grace'.) The work would involve the removal of four pews, and the seat from a fifth pew.  Notwithstanding the current sensitivity relating to the display in public places of things relating to the slave trade, the Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the display would "recognise the vital contributions made to the abolition of the vile trade in human flesh by African and other global majority heritage writers and abolitionists, women and working class reformers, rather than simply focusing upon the work of prominent, white, upper and middle class male abolitionists ..."

A faculty had been granted in 2014 to authorise the redecoration of the interior of the church with four coats of limewash. When the old emulsion was removed, the walls looked in poor condition and it was thought that four coats of limewash would not be sufficient to cover the walls, which were “patchy” and “deep green” in various areas. The architect favoured a product called Zinsser Grade 1 paint. He obtained the PCC's permission to use it and instructed the contractors to use the paint instead of limewash, which the contractors reluctantly did. Within a month of application, the paint was pealing off the walls. The Chancellor asked the Archdeacon to apply for a restoration order, which the Archdeacon did. The Chancellor granted an order, stating that the architect should not have directed the use of an alternative covering without obtaining first a variation of the faculty. And the Chancellor directed that the architect should meet the cost of the remedial work.

In 2014, the inspecting architect had recommended Zinsser Grade 1 paint for the redecoration of the interior of the church as authorised by faculty. The paint proved to be totally unsuitable. It was impermeable, and the migration of salts from the walls to the paint layer caused it to expand and flake. In 2017, the Chancellor ruled that the Zinsser paint should be removed and the walls repainted with limewash or an alternative paint approved as an amendment to the original faculty. Options put forward by a new architect were (a) to maintain scaffolding in the nave for 5 years to monitor the condition of the walls before further repainting, or (b) replastering and repainting, which would destroy fragments of old wall paintings. The Church Buildings Council, Historic England and the Society for the protection of Ancient Buildings rejected both (a) and (b), preferring overpainting, which the Parochial Church Council did not consider would solve the problem of the Zinsser paint flaking in future. The Chancellor granted a faculty to remove the Zinsser paint from the walls, and also the plaster beneath it and then to apply new render to the walls, followed by a suitable number of coats of limewash to the fresh wall surface. 

The Vicar and churchwarden of a 12th century Grade II listed church sought permission to replace the pews and pew platforms with chairs, to provide underfloor heating and to carry out other ancillary work. In considering the guidelines laid down in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013], the Chancellor determined that: "The petitioners have satisfied me on the information placed before the court that the public benefit would outweigh any harm." Faculty granted.

This judgment is supplemental to a judgment given by the Chancellor in June 2015, when he approved a scheme of re-ordering, but postponed a decision on the type of chair to replace the pews, in order to give the PCC more time to consider various options. In the present judgment, the Chancellor declined to authorise two types of chair (some for 'core' seating and some for 'supplementary' seating). For the sake of uniformity, he authorised only one type of chair: "Introducing a variety of chairs from two different manufacturers, some with arms, some without, some upholstered, some not, would compromise the genius of the reordering which is to create a unified and holistic worship space."

The petitioners sought a faculty for an extension to the Grade I listed church, to provide facilities including lavatories, a Sunday school space, kitchen facilities, a meeting room and a storage area. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings had written an initial letter expressing concerns about the proposals, but did not respond to the Chancellor's directions to give further particulars of their objections, nor to an invitation to become a party to the proceedings. The Diocesan Advisory Committee, local planning authority, English Heritage and the Council for the Care of Churches approved the proposals. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

Petition for scheme including removal of pews and pew platforms at the back of the nave and in the north aisle and the construction of a new floor at the same level as existing aisles; installation of a kitchen at the back of the north aisle; introduction of new cupboards in the north transept; introduction of new chairs; improvements to the heating system". Faculty granted. The judgment contains a discussion as to what constitutes "demolition" or "partial demolition".

There was an application for a faculty to remove five notice boards  from the church porch and replace them with free-standing notice boards at the back of the church; also the disposal of some pews, the shortening of two pews, and the permanent relocation of other pews allowed under an Archdeacon's Licence for temporary reordering. The Chancellor, applying the guidance in Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013], determined that the degree of harm to the church would not be significant, and that the public benefit of the works would outweigh any harm. He accordingly granted a faculty.

The parish sought permission for the removal of most of the remaining pews, in order to create more flexible and informal spaces for family, musical and other activities. The Victorian Society questioned the need to remove the pews. A private individual objected on grounds of insufficient consultation; a reduction in seating capacity; cost; and whether there was a need for the pews to be removed. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case and he granted a faculty. Any replacement seating would have to be approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee.

The petitioners sought a confirmatory faculty for works carried out some years before, including two areas of temporary reordering at the east end of the nave and the east end of the south aisle, the introduction of a grand piano, the removal of pews at the west end of the north aisle to allow for the introduction of a timber carving of the nativity by Graham Clarke and the making permanent of an audio visual installation. The Commissary General granted a faculty, subject to a condition, inter alia, that the petitioners should discuss with the Diocesan Advisory Committee ways of mitigating the visually intrusive reflective aspect of the audio-visual screens.