Burial and destruction of unwanted fonts – further clarification

Points arising from recent judgment on disposal of fonts

With allusions to Sydney Pollack’s 1969 award-winning film, our post They bury fonts, don’t they? considered the issues associated with the disposal of unwanted fonts raised in Re St. Peter Shipton Bellinger [2015] Winchester Const Ct, Christopher Clark Ch. In this case, three disposal options had been suggested: that it should be offered for sale; given to another church or chapel; or failing these options, buried in a convenient place in the churchyard. Although successfully appealed by the Victorian Society in the Arches Court, In Re St. Peter Shipton Bellinger [2015] Court of Arches, this latter judgment centred on the handling and determination of the case [“at every level almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong” [4]] rather than the burial or other disposal of the font. Nevertheless, the post gave rise to a valuable comment stream which we followed up in Last rites for fonts – continued.

The issue of the burial of fonts has been raised again recently in Re St Philip Scholes [2016] ECC Lee 5, and this post summarizes the review of the legal issues considered, the judgment of the court and the production of guidance by the Church Buildings Council.

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