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Two Faculty Petitions, each seeking exhumation of cremated remains from an area where access was difficult for an elderly relative, and reinterment in a more accessible location about six feet away. Faculty refused in each case, the Chancellor being unable to find sufficient justification to grant a Faculty within the guidelines set out in the Court of Arches decision in Re Blagdon, but suggesting that the memorials might be moved to the alternative locations, so as to provide easier access and so that the elderly relatives could choose for their own cremated remains to be interred in due course either in the graves of their loved ones or beneath the newly moved memorials.

The petitioner, who was aged 81 and used a wheelchair, found access to her mother’s grave in Gunton churchyard very difficult, as the grave was a good way back from the churchyard path. She therefore applied for a faculty to authorise the exhumation of her mother’s remains and re-interment in a nearby cemetery. The Chancellor, after considering the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, determined that no special reasons existed which would justify an exception to the norm of permanence of Christian burial.

The Chancellor, taking into account the guidance in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002], determined that there were special reasons for permitting exhumation and reinterment. The cremated remains of the father of the three petitioning children had been buried in a parish churchyard. At the time it was intended that his wife's cremated remains should be placed with his. When his wife died, the children found that her will said that she wished to be buried in a family grave in a cemetery. They mistakenly felt obliged to comply with the terms of the will, but this defeated the original intention of the mother and the father to be buried together. After the second burial the children regretted not having buried their parents together and made a fairly prompt application to rectify the situation. Accordingly, the Chancellor allowed the cremated remains of the father to be exhumed and reinterred in the family grave in the cemetery.

The Chancellor found that there were special circumstances (as set out in the judgment) which justified him in granting a faculty for exhumation and reinterment in the same churchyard. The petitioner wished to move the cremated remains of his father to the grave of his mother, who had died recently and who had expressed a wish before her death to have her body buried and for her husband's cremated remains to be moved into the same grave, not realising that there could be difficulties in carrying out her wishes.

The petitioners' proposals included: the creation of a draught lobby in the church porch with new screening, glass doors and stepless access; a second toilet, accessible to the disabled; removal of some pews; alteration of the children's pews; and some electrical and heating works. Historic England and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings were concerned about the impact of the proposed porch screen on the building's significance and special interest. However, the Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made out a good case for the proposals and he granted a faculty.

Application for a Faculty for the replacement of existing structures in the churchyard of a redundant church appropriated by a pastoral scheme for the use of an Oxford college. The work to include a new gardener’s office, greenhouse and cold frames and three storerooms and the removal of existing sheds and other structures, new bicycle stands to replace old ones, new fencing and the relocation of six monuments. Faculty granted for relocation of memorials and for only such other items as could not be regarded as "buildings" within the meaning of the Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884, which prohibits the erection of buildings within a disused burial ground.

The proposal was to construct a ramp at the front of a 1960s church, facing an access from the road, in order to allow step-free access to the front of the church for the disabled. Objections were based on the design of the ramp, the possibility of its use by skateboarders and consequent safety issues, the fact that there was step-free access to the church from the car park at the rear, and difficulties of loading and unloading at the front of the church. Faculty granted.

The petition proposed the replacement of the link between the church and the Millennium Room (a church extension on the north side), providing a lobby, meeting rooms, storage and improved toilet and kitchen facilities. There were eight objections on behalf of eleven people, on the grounds of costs, but none became a party opponent. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The proposals were the introduction of a nave altar; the removal of the rood screen; and removal/adaptation of the choir stalls. The Chancellor declined to grant a faculty for the proposed works without consideration being given to whether the chancel arch would need to be removed and also what replacement seating would be appropriate for the choir. He therefore adjourned the petition in order for these matters to be addressed.


Following a reordering of the church in 1991-1994, it was proposed to place carvings of the heads of the current Bishop of Peterborough (the Rt. Rev. William Westwood) and the current Vicar of Oundle (the Rev. Dr. Lloyd Caddick) as label stops in the nave. (Label stops are put where arches meet in a 'V' at the top of pillars.) The new carvings would be put at the top of the only two pillars in the nave which did not have label stops above them. There were four parties opponent, whose main objections were on the ground of appropriateness, including a suggestion that it was not appropriate to place the likenesses of living persons in the church. The Chancellor found against the objectors and granted a faculty. He was able to accept that the proposals for carved heads were acceptable legally, architecturally and aesthetically, and they were appropriate items to be introduced into the church.