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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

Re St. Michael & All Angels Berwick [2021] ECC Chi 7

The petitioners wished to remove from the church the existing pews and chairs and replace them with stackable benches made by Treske. The existing seating was in storage following directions for temporary removal relating to a previous petition. There were no parties opponent, but the Diocesan Advisory Committee felt unable to recommend the proposals. Also, Historic England and the Victorian Society opposed the proposals, and there were several other representations. The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for all the pews to be removed on the basis that the proposed removal of the seating in its entirety would cause harm to the church’s significance as a place of special architectural and historic interest.

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Shorne [2022] ECC Roc 1

The petitioner wished to add an inscription and an etching of the ship HMS Newcastle to the memorial of her mother (who died in 2016), following the interment of her father in the same grave in 2020, and also to place kerbs around the grave. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the inscription (with minor amendments) and the etching, but not for the kerbs, which were not permitted by the churchyard regulations. The fact that some kerbs had been place unlawfully in the churchyard did not justify allowing further kerbs.

Re A Churchyard [2018] ECC Lic 5

A widow sought a faculty to authorise the laying of kerbs and chippings and a stone vase on her late husband's grave, which had previously been used for the interment of the remains of his great-uncle. The Parochial Church Council objected, but did not become a party opponent. The Chancellor decided that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty, even though the proposals were outside the churchyards regulations. The grave had previously had kerbs, which had been moved 20 years earlier, and the incumbent at the time had assured the lady that there would be no problem in reinstating kerbs after the next burial in the grave; and there were already numerous examples close to the grave of kerbs, chipping and vases, so to refuse to allow another set of kerbs would be unreasonable in the circumstances.

Re A Redundant Church Bell [2021] ECC Oxf 11

The petitioners wished to display a redundant treble church bell, dating from the 1630s, at the base of the church tower, notwithstanding the risk that it may be stolen from the church, which was left open during the day. (The Chancellor decided to give an anonymous judgment, so as not to identify the church.) There were differences of opinion between the churchwarden, the Diocesan Senior Church Buildings Officer and the Diocesan Bells Adviser, as to the degree of risk and whether the bell should be displayed at ground level or on the first floor of the tower, in view of the risks of theft. The Chancellor, after considering judgments discussing the risks of church artifacts being stolen, determined that retaining a treasured artifact would always carry some degree of risk, wherever the artifact was retained. He therefore gave the petitioners to choice of retaining the redundant bell on display either on the ground floor or on the first floor of the tower.

Re All Hallows Allerton[2013] Sir Mark Hedley Ch. (Liverpool)

Determination of two petitions on written representations in respect of a Victorian Grade 1 church (14 of its 15 stained glass windows designed by Edmund Burne-Jones and made by William Morris and company). The first petition sought permission to remove and dispose of two pews from the front of each side section of pews and relocate the pew frontals; to remove and dispose of three pews from the rear of each section of pews; to remove pew platform, level floor and re-carpet; to remove redundant piping from centre aisle; to remove and dispose of redundant parts of the existing sound system; to relocate sound desk to rear of pews; to install new sound desk equipment and audio-visual equipment. The second petition sought a faculty to authorise the introduction of a circular votive candle stand. Faculty granted in respect of each petition.

Re All Hallows Bardsey [2019] ECC Lee 3

The petitioners wished to remove a small number of pews and pew frontals from the Grade I church, install some handrails and improve the lighting. The controversial item was the removal of two pew frontals from the front of the church. The reasons for the proposals were to make areas of the church more accessible for people in wheelchairs and to extend areas where special events could be held, such as children’s events, music groups, serving of food, group meetings. The Victorian Society and Historic England were concerned about the removal of the two pew frontals at the front of the nave. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a case for the changes, but made it a condition of the faculty that arrangements would be made to store the frontals inside the church or elsewhere.

Re All Hallows Ordsall [2019] ECC S&N 1

The Chancellor was asked to grant a confirmatory faculty in respect of cremated remains which had already been exhumed (with a view to their subsequently being scattered) following the issue of a Ministry of Justice licence, which should not have issued, because the remains were interred in consecrated ground. The Chancellor granted a faculty: "Refusing a Faculty
would certainly be justified in principle, but would serve no useful purpose, and would cause and maintain offence. Granting a Faculty would render lawful what has so far been unlawful; and would regularise the present situation, which there is in any event no practical possibility of changing." The Chancellor pointed out that at the time of writing his judgment the form of application for a licence and the notes for guidance on the Ministry of Justice web site were out of date following changes to the law in 2015.

Re All Saints Allesley [2018] ECC Cov 10

The Chancellor of the Diocese had previously given a judgment on the same facts as the present case (see Re All Saints Allesley [2018] ECC Cov 7), but the judgment was set aside when it became apparent that there had been some confusion over the provision of further representations in accordance with directions that had been made. The Deputy Chancellor considered the matter afresh. He refused to grant a faculty to authorise the exhumation of the cremated remains of the petitioner's father for reinterment next to the remains of the petitioner's mother in a parish in another diocese where the petitioner lived: '... in reality this is a change of mind based upon a change in family circumstances ... unfortunately those changes in their Family life do not amount to the exceptional circumstances that would be required to justify exhumation ...'

Re All Saints Allesley [2018] ECC Cov 7

The petitioner wished to have his father's cremated remains exhumed from Allesley churchyard and reinterred in the churchyard of Willoughton, where the petitioner now lived and where his mother's cremated remains had been interred. During her lifetime, the petitioner's mother had expressed a wish not to be buried next to her husband's grave at Allesley, but at Willoughton, hoping that it might be possible in due course to have her husband's remains moved to Willoughton. Applying the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Chancellor found that this was a case where there were insufficient exceptional grounds to warrant the grant of a faculty.

Re All Saints Alrewas [2012] Stephen Eyre Ch. (Lichfield)

The proposals included the building of an extension adjoining the north-west corner of the church; the reordering of the west end of the nave (including the erection of a meeting room; the moving of the font to the middle of the south aisle; and the removal of pews from the south aisle, in order to create a flexible space. The Chancellor granted a faculty.