Ecclesiastical court judgments 2016

Index to ecclesiastical court judgments reviewed during 2016, and links to reviews in 2014 and 2015

The judgments reviewed in L&RUK during 2016 have been grouped under the following headings.

Reordering, extensions and other building works


Post-flood remediation

Re St. Mary Charminster [2016] ECC Sal 1 Court decides between conflicting expert advice post-flood remediation; approved proposals of PCC although not favoured by the architects on DAC. [Link to post]



Re St. Philip the Evangelist Dorridge [2016] ECC Bir 1 Faculty granted for demolition of an unlisted Victorian church building and its replacement with a multi-purpose church centre and hall.  [Plans on church’s website]


Substantial reordering

Re St. John the Baptist Cononley with Bradley [2016] ECC Lee 1 Faculty granted, subject to amendments, for major re-ordering of unlisted Victorian church.

Re St Mary Magdalene Davington [2015] Steven Gasztowicz Dep. Comm. Gen. (Canterbury) Re-ordering of Grade I Church: provision of meeting room, servery, toilet facilities, and gallery; also upgrading of heating and lighting. One formal objection. Faculty granted.

Re St Dunstan Mayfield [2016] ECC Chi 1 Re-ordering of chancel and north aisle, to include work to floor, the removal of choir pews and relocation of some solid oak screens. On balance, the public benefit would outweigh likely harm that would ensue from proposals. Faculty granted.

Re St Botolph Stow Bedon [2016] ECC Nor 1Re-ordering project for Grade II* church. Inadequate public notices necessitated re-issue. All three amenity societies were against proposals, and public meeting strongly in favour of status quo. Faculty refused but proceedings stayed six months to permit re-submission.

Re Christ Church West Wimbledon [2016] ECC Swk 3 Two petitions: physical works for reordering; and authorization to enter into a contract with the diocese re: transfer of land. Faculty granted.

Re St Andrew Framingham Earl [2016] ECC Nor 2 Faculty granted to permit  replacement of heating system in Grade I church, and removal of Victorian nave pews and replacement with chairs; Petitioners to agree design of replacement chairs with DAC, and submit to court for approval.

Re St. James the Apostle Islington [2016] ECC Lon 2 Supplemental to Re St. James the Apostle Islington [2015] Islington Const Ct. in which Faculty was granted against local opposition in relation to works to the chancel inter alia. Procedural matters raised by Party Opponents apparently disclosed serious irregularities that warranted further investigation. Faculty granted, subject to conditions.

Re St. Andrew Castle Coombe [2016] ECC Bri 2 Faculty granted for reordering of Grade I church .Unusually, Chancellor determined an answer of “No” to first Duffield question.

Re St. John the Baptist Wimbledon [2016] ECC Swk 5 Faculty granted for replacement of church hall, within the churchyard with new-single storey hall.

Re Holy Trinity Southport [2016] ECC Liv 5 Faculty granted for number of non-contentious repairs and a major re-ordering.

Re St. Elphin Warrington [2016] ECC Liv 1 Faculty granted for “moderate” reordering PCC of a grade II* church. “Applicants motivated by real desire to make church more accessible; proposals completely reversible.

Re St. Philip Litherland [2016] EEC Liv 3 Faculty granted, subject to conditions, for a major reordering of the grade II listed church, despite the significant and irreversible changes to character of the building.

Re St. Peter Brighton [2016] ECC Chi 2* Further faculty sought for continued reordering. Contentious new wall-to-wall carpet and ‘bland’, black chairs. five-year Limited licence granted, petitioners to produce more appropriate long-term proposals.[Link to post]

Re All Saints Lindfield [2016] ECC Chi 4*  Faculty granted for major reordering of a Grade II* church but not for the red upholstered chairs; stay of proceedings for 28 days for alternative proposal.

Re Holy Trinity and St. Oswald Finningley [2016] ECC She 2 Faculty granted for major reordering of Grade I church; most of the eight components of scheme initially considered against the Duffield guidelines. Roof addressed first as grant dependent on approval and commencement of works within fixed time frame.

Re St. Michael and All Angels Highworth [2016] ECC Bri 8 Proposals approved for extensive re-ordering of the church, apart from outer glazed doors to porch, meeting room, and steel-framed chairs with wooden seats & backs; all-wood stacking chairs would be approved.

Re St. Michael Cumnor [2016] ECC Oxf Faculty granted for various items of re-ordering. Objections from Victorian Society re: extension and alteration of the porch; parishioner objected to altar at the southern end of the St. Thomas’s Chapel. Neither became a party opponent. Faculty granted.

Re St. Mary Mappleton [2016] ECC Der 2 PCC sought to replace the stolen lead flashings from the church roof with Ubiflex as history of lead thefts. As a temporary expedient to preserve the fabric, Chancellor agreed but PCC within 4 years to submit to the Registry a report on fund-raising to provide for a much longer-lasting solution.

Re Holy Trinity Cambridge [2016] ECC Ely 1 Faculty granted for major reordering of Grade II* listed church, including replacement of the vestry with a four storey extension, to provide meeting rooms and offices; replacement of pews with chairs; the carpeting whole floor; and the creation of a kitchen. The amenity societies involved objected to several of the proposals. However, he declined to approve carpeting of the nave.

Re Christ Church Summerfield [2016] ECC Bir 2 Faculty granted for extensive reordering of the Grade II late Victorian church, with the exception of the proposal to cover all the Victorian tiles in the nave with a wooden floor; to be dealt with the by way of an addendum to the judgment, after discussions with the Victorian Society.

Re St. Michael Grimsargh [2016] ECC Bla 1 Faculty granted for  new single lancet stained glass window, replacing an existing plain glass window, in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of Grade II church and in memory of petitioners’ son.

Re St. Peter Pilning [2016] ECC Bri 6 Faculty granted for extensive reordering of Grade II-listed Victorian church, substantially unaltered since its construction. Part of a long-established Local Ecumenical Partnership, reordering to be funded from sale of former Methodist chapel.

Re St. Mary Hullavington [2016] ECC Bri 1 Faculty for an extension and major reordering of a Grade I-listed church. Only contentious issue concerned existing two fonts and possible introduction of a third. Font burial possible option.

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Shoreham [2016] ECC Roc 4 The petitioners sought a faculty for an extension to the Grade I listed church, expected cost  £450k of which £420k had been raised. SPAB had written letter expressing concerns about the proposals, but did not respond to the Chancellor’s directions &c. Faculty granted.

[Back] [top]

Reordering and alternative uses

Re St Peter Whitstable [2016] ECC Can 1 Direction that Licence be prepared and submitted to the Court for approval prior to issue of Faculty for temporary installation of Post Office® facility pending new permanent facility site in the town. [Link to post]

Re St. Lawrence Darlaston [2016] ECC Lic 2 Faculty granted for new AV system,  retractable screen above chancel arch and projector mounted on a fixed stand in the balcony. Some of congregation objected but overwhelming PCC support. Benefits of work sufficient to overcome presumption against change. Faculty granted.

Re St. Christopher Walworth [2016] ECC Swk 14 Faculty granted for erection a pre-fabricated timber frame building at side of church. Issues relating to compliance with the Equality Act 2010 considered. [Link to post]

Re St. Helen Stapleford [2016] ECC S&N 3 Good case made for proposed extension and public benefits of proposals were sufficient justification, despite the harm to the significance of the Grade II* listed building.

Re St. Peter East Bridgford [2016] ECC S&N 4  Faculty granted to authorise the movement of altar westwards by 0.6m to increase space behind for celebrating the Eucharist.

Re St. John sub Castro, Lewes [2016] ECC Chi 8 Chancellor  granted faculty for  items of reordering, but reserved judgment on sale of painting pending further representations.

Re St. Mary and St. Nicholas Spalding [2016] ECC Lin 5 Faculty granted for “L-shaped” servery unit. Historic England objected as “would give the appearance of a domestic ‘fitted’ kitchen rather than a free standing piece of ecclesiastical furniture”. Chancellor considered practicalities.  [top]

[Back] [Top]

Other building works, including re-roofing

Re St. Leonard Watlington [2016] ECC Oxf 3* Faculty refused for replacement of five cast iron downpipes &c with high density polyethylene (HDPE) on Grade II* listed church. Historic England, CBC and DAC each rejected the petitioners’ case on the benefits and durability of HDPE.

Re St. Michael & All Angels Stockton [2016] ECC Cov 5 Petitioners sought amendment to earlier faculty to allow for only new tiles to be used for re-roofing of chancel of  Grade II* church. DAC did not agree to the removal of the condition; some test drilling of tiles undertaken. Chancellor refused to remove the condition.

Re St. Paul Woodhouse Eaves [2016] ECC Lei 1 Chancellor determined that in the absence of a bishop during a vacancy in see, he could authorise the installation of an aumbry in the church; a bishop’s licence was now otiose.

Re St. Mary the Virgin Fishponds [2016] ECC Bri 10  Faculty granted for blue plaque on the outside of the church to commemorate Gordon Welchman, who had played a significant role in codebreaking at Bletchley Park during WWII.

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Removal and replacement of pews &c

Re St Michael Crambe [2015] Peter Collier Ch. (York) Faculty granted for installation of heated pew runners to all pews. No substance in any of the objections. Chancellor’s obiter remarks on time and cost implications to parish in relation to opposed petitions.

Re All Saints Ockbrook [2016] ECC Der 1* Chancellor refused faculty for removal of a number of short side aisle pews as, applying the guidelines in Re St. Alkmund Duffield, petitioners failed to provide clear and convincing justification. Nevertheless time-limited permission granted for experimental reordering of pews &c.

Re Christ Church Hengrove [2016] ECC Bri 4 Faculty granted for removal of a number of pews from front of the nave of unlisted church building to allow greater flexibility of use of church; subject to the condition that pews should be stored in the church hall skittle alley. Identified pastoral issues f.a.o. the archdeacon.

Re All Saints Waldron [2016] ECC Chi 3* Although Chancellor satisfied that petitioners had made a case, albeit shambolic, for reordering of Grade I church, he declined to grant a faculty until the design, make and number of replacement chairs had been approved by the court, following consultation with the CBC, the DAC, the parish more widely, including further public notice.

Re St. Mary Cottingham [2016] ECC Yor 1 Faculty granted for: removal of six rows of pews; and new flooring – Phase 1 of proposals to create some consistency in floor levels and provide more circulation space at the west end of the church.

Re All Saints Shawell [2016] ECC Lei 3 Chancellor authorised the removal of a block of pews from the north-west corner on the Grade II* Victorian church in order to allow the installation of a disabled toilet and a servery.

Re St Matthew Salford Priors [2016] ECC Cov 4 Main proposal was to remove the pews from the south aisle of “heavily pewed” Grade I church and replace them with stackable, chrome-framed, upholstered chairs. Although satisfied on potential benefits, approved alternative design, subject to further direction.

Re Holy Trinity Kimberley [2016] ECC S&N 1 Two petitions re: unlisted church building: replacement of organ with modern instrument; and major reordering scheme to incorporate community facilities. PCC proposed to partially fund the work from the sale of the adjoining dilapidated church hall. [Link to post]

Re St. John the Baptist Old Hutton [2016] ECC Car 4 Faculty granted for reordering, subject to conditions. One letter of objection including a 50+ signature petition. No necessity for Registrar to correspond with each person, but was prepared to accept that there was a degree of opposition to removal of these two rows of pews.

Re All Saints Odiham [2016] ECC Win 1 Substantial reordering of Grade I church, including removal of nave and aisle pews; installation of replacement heating system. resolved at hearing. “not for objectors to put forward alternative proposals, but for Deputy Chancellor  to decide whether a convincing case had been made”. Faculty granted.

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Rustington [2016] ECC Chi 6 Supplemental to judgment in June 2015, when Chancellor approved scheme of re-ordering, but postponed decision on type of chair to replace pews. In instant judgment, Chancellor declined to authorise two types of chair; for the sake of uniformity, only one type of chair was authorized.

Re Holy Trinity Long Itchington [2016] ECC Cov 7 Replacement of Victorian pews from Grade II* listed church. VS and HE accepted pews were of no merit but objected to upholstered chairs. Faculty granted for un-upholstered chairs of design to be agreed.

Re St. Peter Welford-on-Avon [2016] ECC Glo 1 Faculty granted for replacement of Victorian pews with solid and folding chairs; 25 written objections. Insufficient evidence that: design was by Sir George Gilbert Scott; eight short pews to be retained. [Re St. Peter Welford-on-Avon [2016] ECC Glo 1 pews]

Re St. Mary Magdalene Ashton upon Mersey [2016] ECC Chr 1 The Petition related to a number of items of reordering for the Grade II Victorian church; two contested items – carpeting of church and choice of chair to replace pews. Chancellor determined that, on balance, the benefits of proposed furnishings would outweigh any harm to the church. Faculty granted. [Re St. Mary Magdalene Ashton upon Mersey [2016] ECC Chr 1 (2).]

Re Holy Trinity Stockton on the Forest [2016] ECC Yor 2 Various re-ordering proposals for unlisted church. Main objections were to removal of 10 pews and  replacement with folding chairs; also to safety aspects of the proposed kitchen facilities. Chancellor satisfied that petitioners had made out their case. Faculty granted.

Re St. Gregory and St. Martin Wye [2016] ECC Can 2 The proposals for the Grade I listed church included the removal of the fixed pews in the nave, north aisle and choir, and their replacement with new moveable pew benches; also, the installation of underfloor heating. The Commissary General granted a faculty, but expressed concern that a contract had been signed with the contractor before the petition had been referred to her.

Re St. George Donnington [2016] ECC Chi 7 Faculty granted for erection of extension to church to provide toilets and storage space. Access to new facilities  via the existing north door to church and thus there would be no impact on the existing interior of the Grade I listed church.

Re Holy Trinity Lamorbey [2016] ECC Roc 3 Faculty granted to remove four pews from the back of an unlisted Victorian church, in order to provide more room for the serving of refreshments and for accommodating buggies and wheelchairs.

Re St. Peter Boughton Monchelsea [2016] ECC Can 3  Confirmatory faculty sought for works carried out some years before. Faculty granted, but limited to three months to enable the petitioners should discuss with the DAC ways of mitigating the visually intrusive AV units.

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Re St. George Millom [2016] ECC Car 2  Faculty granted for replacement of central heating with gas-fired system. DAC had considered alternative proposals and recommended gas-fired wet system as the most appropriate. PCC member/party opponent raised objections, procedural and concerning proposed solution envisaged. Faculty granted.

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[2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]

Church Treasures/Sale of Paintings &c/Loans

Re Holy Trinity Kimberley [2016] ECC S&N 1 One of the three petitions considered in this judgment: loan of tubular bells to the Bell Foundry Museum in Loughborough, [11, 12]; a second judgment will be prepared in the light of the response from the CBC as required under rule 8.6(1)(c) of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2013 on account of the historic significance of these instruments.

Re St. James the Great Flockton [2016] ECC Lee 4 Faculty granted for retrospective approval to internal redecoration of church and, to permit disposal of miscellaneous artefacts from the church, none of which could be described as a ‘church treasure’.

Re Coombes Parish Church [2016] ECC Chi 5 Following interim faculty following its theft and recovery, further faculty granted to permit loan of Limoges corpus to the Chichester Cathedral Treasury.  [Link to post]

Re Halifax Minster [2016] ECC Lee 6 Chancellor’s commented: “[i]t is unfortunate that this uncontroversial petition to regularise a regrettable mistake [on illegal disposal of kneelers] has been so strenuously resisted on such fanciful grounds”. Faculty granted.

[2014 Judgments] [Top]

Audio Visual Equipment

Re St. Nicholas Kenilworth [2016] ECC Cov 10 Faculty for the installation of a retractable screen to be placed over the chancel arch; preferable to current arrangement of portable screen on boxes at front of nave. [2015 Judgments] [Top]


Re St. Guthlac Market Deeping [2016] ECC Lin 2* Faculty for replacement of existing tower clock dial with one made from Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) refused as “it contributes to the church’s significance and special interest”.   [Top]


Re St Luke Charlton [2016] ECC Swk 10 Petition granted for faculty for installation of telecommunications equipment in the tower of the Grade II* church, and to permit completion of a licence agreement; >80 objections. Previous incumbent’s alleged undertaking; health grounds, transmission of pornography.

Re St Thomas and St James Worsbrough Dale [2016] ECC She 1 Faculty granted authorizing a twenty year licence to for telephone antennae and dishes; installation costs to be met by company, Parish income £6,000 pa. PCC’s inevitable discussions on the long-settled issues of health effects and transmission of “unlawful and immoral material”.

Re St. James Kidbrooke [2016] ECC Swk 13 Interim judgment confined to a preliminary issue of security for costs. Chancellor had to balance an objector’s right to be heard against the petitioners’ petition for security for costs. [Link to post]

Re St. James Kidbrooke [2016] ECC Swk 16 Following  Re Bentley Emmanuel, Bentley [2006], in the absence of compelling evidence, it would be wrong for the consistory court to adopt more rigorous guidelines than those recommended by the government for application in a secular context”.

[2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments] [Top]


Problems of access

Re St Gabriel Walsall  [2016] ECC Lic 1* Deceased’s specific request to be buried in St Gabriel churchyard refused. Subsequent difficulty of spouse visiting husband’s grave not an exceptional circumstance. Proposed re-interment in churchyard of a church in communion with See of Rome not material consideration.  [Back] [Top]

Family graves

Re Tunbridge Wells Cemetery [2016] ECC Roc 1 Cremated remains of the petitioner’s parents both buried in separate plots in the cemetery. Owner of grave plot refused to allow those of the petitioner’s father to be buried in the same plot as his wife, despite the wish expressed in his will. Sufficient exceptional circumstances; faculty granted for exhumation and re-interment.

Re Holy Cross Cemetery Wallsend [2016] ECC New 2 Special reasons for permitting exhumation of remains of young person of Chinese descent and re-interment in another section of the cemetery where all other members of her family and members of the local Chinese community were buried or had reserved graves.

Re Coventry Road Cemetery Bedworth [2016] ECC Cov 1 Chancellor determined it was appropriate to grant faculty allowing remains of petitioner’s father to be exhumed and reinterred with remains of his wife in one of the three family graves.

Re St Peter Gunton [2016] ECC Nor 5 The Chancellor determined there were special reasons for permitting exhumation and re-interment. After mother’s burial, children regretted not having buried parents together and made fairly prompt application to rectify the situation.

In the Matter of the Petition of Mandy Ramshaw [2016] ECC Oxf 1 Faculty granted for exhumation of remains of petitioner’s mother from  churchyard at Mapledurham, Oxon and reinternment in a plot  reserved in the cemetery at Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham. Conditional on supplying court with evidence of exclusive right of burial at Chester-Le-Street.

In the matter of the Petition of Kathrine Tollis[2016] ECC Oxf 2* Insufficient justification found for exhumation of petitioner’s father from an Oxfordshire churchyard and their reinternment in Antibes.

Re Mortlake Cemetery [2016] ECC Swk 6 Faculty granted for exhumation of petitioner’s mother, interred in Mortlake Cemetery in 1978, and for re-interment in a cemetery in the USA, near to where the petitioner lived. Deputy Chancellor did not follow Chancellors initial findings. Hearing via telephone conference. Exceptional circumstances: all members of family could be buried together in same cemetery.

Re West Norwood Cemetery [2016] ECC Swk 7 Petition granted for exhumation of remains of petitioner’s father and re-interment in family grave in Murrisk Abbey, County Mayo, Ireland. Several factors taken into consideration by Chancellor; views on family graves differ from some other chancellors.

In the Matter of Cyril Jones (Deceased) [2016] ECC Liv 4 Faculty granted for exhumation from churchyard of St. Margaret Orford, buried in 1990, and re-interment with wife, who died in 2015, was buried in Fox Covert Cemetery. Grounds: wife’s acknowledged mistake in burying husband’s remains in “full” cemetery; her delay in seeking exhumation; and desire to create a family grave.

Re Preston Cemetery, North Shields [2016] ECC New 3* No special circumstances for granting faculty for exhumation of cremated remains of petitioner’s late mother from one plot in consecrated area of cemetery and reinter them with those of her late father in another consecrated plot in the same cemetery.

Re Astwood Cemetery [2016] ECC Wor 1 Faculty granted for exhumation of remains of a husband for subsequent re-interment with the remains of his wife in another grave in the same cemetery; circumstances (i.e. full family grave and creation of new one) constituted an exception to the normal rule. Uncertainty in application of “family grave” provision in Re Blagdon Cemetery again noted

Re St. Mary Hellesdon [2016] ECC Nor 6 Four petitioners (one wishing to be cremated) sought to reserve exclusive rights of burial for 30 years in a triple-depth grave next to parents’ grave. Churchyard space for burials for only 20 years, so reservation limited to this period, See: Re St Margaret, Drayton [2015] Norwich Const Ct, Arlow Ch considered here.

Re St. Nicholas Kenilworth [2016] ECC Cov 2 Exceptional circumstances for exhumation of cremated remains of a young man from churchyard in Kenilworth and re-interment in same grave as his late parents (or in the next grave) in a churchyard in Norfolk; similar circumstances tp Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299.

Re Quoc Tru Tran Deceased [2016] ECC Man 2 Faculty granted for exhumation of remains of Buddhist who had been buried in a consecrated part of Southern Cemetery Manchester, to permit cremation of remains and placing with those of his wife in the Buddhist Temple of Manchester. [Link to post]

Re Coventry Road Cemetery Bedworth [2016] ECC Cov 1 Petition granted for exhumation of cremated remains of  father from the cemetery at Bedworth and reinternment with remains of mother, already interred in a cemetery in Nuneaton, where three adjoining plots had already been reserved for family interments. [2002] Fam 299.

Re All Saints Ladbroke [2016] ECC Cov 6 Faculty granted for the exhumation and reburial of a wife and husband, interred in 1971 and 2003 respectively, and the associated movement of an upright memorial stone on the grounds of “public benefit”. Located next to church wall, memorial  used by thieves to access roof on two occasions. Also other issues with existing location.

Re St. Paul Fazeley [2016] ECC Lic 4   Faculty granted for exhumation of cremated remains of petitioner’s brother’s cremated remains from parents’ grave and re-interment in a nearby new grave, in accordance with father’s wish. Exceptional circumstances: the grave had “become a focus of disquiet and grievance amongst the family members with a real degree of distress to some.”

Re St. Saviour Smallthorne [2016] ECC Lic 3 Exhumation permitted to rectify earlier error of burial authority which maintained churchyard. Creating of grave for three family members.

Re London Road Cemetery Mitcham [2016] ECC Swk 12 Exhumation granted to permit DNA testing to determine paternity and eligibility to award under Irish legislation (Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002).

Re St. Peter Hednesford [2016] ECC Lic 5 Faculty granted for the exhumation of the cremated remains of the petitioner’s father and their re-interment in the grave of his mother who had died recently, according to her wishes.

Re Sam Tai Chan [2016] ECC Dur 2 Faculty was granted for exhumation of the cremated remains of Chinese national and re-interment in another cemetery, in area reserved for members of the Chinese community. Reviews of the court’s detailed discussion here and here.

Re St. Laurence Alvechurch [2016] ECC Wor 3 Faculty granted for exhumation of petitioners’ father’s ashes (interred in 2004) exhumed and reinterred in the grave of their mother, whose body was buried in 2015:  (i) the re-interment into a family grave and would free up a cremation plot; and (ii) the mother had reluctantly had her husband’s ashes interred in 2004.

Re Streatham Park Cemetery [2016] ECC Swk 15 Urgent faculty granted to authorize exhumation of cremated remains and their re-interment in same grave at a greater depth, to permit the interment above them additional cremated remains. Grave also contained other remains which would not be disturbed by proposed action.

Re Hickling Cemetery [2016] ECC S&N 2 Faculty granted for exhumation of remains of petitioners’ mother in order that they might be interred with the remains of the petitioners’ father in Whatton-in-the-Vale churchyard: combination of initial mistake as to whether the burial took place in consecrated ground, intention to re-inter together in family grave and the unanimous family wishes”.

In the matter of David Bell deceased [2016] ECC She 3 Interim judgment for exhumation and cremation of remains of petitioner’s father, and then interred with the cremated remains of her mother. Further information sought before decision.

In the matter of David Bell deceased  [2016] ECC She 4 Further to interim judgment, Chancellor decided that there were “good and proper reason(s) which would be likely to be regarded as acceptable by right thinking members of the Church at large to allow the petition and permit this exhumation.” [Back] [Top]

Unlawful burial

Re St. Aidan Thockrington [2016] ECC New 1 Parish priest granted restoration order following the interment in the churchyard without permission of a portion of the cremated remains of the novelist Tom Sharpe, together with various other items. Costs to Respondent [Link to post] [Back] [Top]

Errors in burial

Re Woolwich Cemetery [2016] ECC Swk 2 Cremated remains of two people had been buried in a grave already reserved for someone else. Faculty granted for exhumation and re-interment in another part of the cemetery, on basis of genuine mistake.

Re Holy Cross Sherston [2016] ECC Bri 9 Faculty granted for exhumation of petitioner’s ashes and reinternment in a different part of the churchyard; existing grave had been dug too close to the footpath for the proposed memorial.

Re Kenilworth Cemetery [2016] ECC Cov 9 Exceptional circumstances justified exhumation of cremated remains of petitioner’s father from Kenilworth Cemetery and re-interment with cremated remains of petitioner’s mother  in St. Nicholas Kenilworth churchyard, which already contained remains of petitioner’s aunt.  [Back] [Top]


Re St. Michael and St. Lawrence Fewston [2016] ECC Lee 7 Petitioners should have applied for MoJ licence in 2008 as remains not immediately reinterred in consecrated ground. New faculty granted for re-interment of the “Fewston Assemblage” and erection of three memorials. Addendum clarified artefacts to be re-interred.

Re St. Swithun Cheswardine [2015] Stephen Eyre Ch. (Lichfield)* Faculty  refused for exhumation of ashes of petitioner’s father in order that they could be scattered with the ashes of his mother at Skerray in northern Scotland.   [Back]

[2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments] [Top]

Churchyards and burials

Development of churchyard

Re St George Hanworth [2016] ECC Lon 1 The PCC applied for an injunction to prevent the London Borough of Hounslow from developing a piece of land near the church. Initial petition by vexatious litigant. Chancellor dismissed the application. [Link to post]

Re St. George Hanworth [2016] ECC Lon 3 The Deputy Chancellor considered issue of cost in Re St. George Hanworth [2016] ECC Lon 1, above;  determined that the bulk of the costs of the London Borough of Hounslow should be paid by the Parochial Church Council.

Re Holy Trinity Hull [2015] Peter Collier Ch. (York) Faculty granted  for major re-ordering of churchyard, including removal of section of 19th century churchyard wall included in Grade I listing of the church. Victorian Society objected strongly. Significant potential benefits of scheme to the church and community would outweigh moderate loss resulting from development. [Link to further information]

Re All Saints Bingley [2016] ECC Lee 3 Faculty granted for removal of over 160 old memorials used as paving from 1900s; memorials inclined to be slippery underfoot when wet, giving rise to health and safety concerns. Petitioners to report deployment/disposal plan for old memorials within 9 months.

Re Caister Parish Cemetery [2016] ECC Nor 3 Chancellor granted petition to Joint Burial Committee to remove and relocate all memorials from an old section of the parish cemetery, to allow for an ordered reuse of that area for further burials.

Re St. Mary Magdalene Gedney [2016] ECC Lin 4 The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the re-use of an area of the churchyard in which there were no memorials and where it was believed that there had been no burials for at least 150 years.

Re St. Mary Magdalene Fleet [2016] ECC Lin 6 The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the re-use of an area of the churchyard in which there were no memorials and where it was believed that there had been no burials for at least 75 years.

Re St George Telford [2016] ECC Lic 6 [Note on citation: the church of St. George is at the heart of the Telford district of St. George’s] Faculty granted for laying of a drain under a path between the church and public sewer; improvements to paths & driveway; and moving seven memorials to allow that area of open space for community use.

Re St. Peter Bramley [2016] ECC Lee 9 Unauthorized erection of fence by staff of the Leeds City Council. However, notwithstanding the failings of the Council, Chancellor decided a Confirmatory Faculty should be granted. [Back] [Top]

Churchyard Regulations

Re St Helen Welton [2015] Peter Collier Ch. (York) Stonemason erroneously prepared memorial of type not approved by Churchyards Regulations. Faculty granted to Archdeacon for desk-style memorial replaced with a flat one.

Re St Mary Prestwich [2016] ECC Man 1* Chancellor refused to grant faculty to allow kerbs to be placed around a grave. Kerbs not permitted under Diocesan Churchyards Regulations, and no strong reason to depart from that policy.

Re St. Bartholomew Wick [2016] ECC Bri 3*  Chancellor refused to grant faculty to allow coloured engraving of Thomas the Tank Engine on a memorial to a three year old child; on-line Regulations not amended according to his January 2014 direction; useful comment on matters of sentiment and aesthetic judgment.

Re The Churchyard of Quarrington Hill [2016] ECC Dur 1*  Petitioner applied for permission to erect a memorial which bore features not mentioned in application. The Chancellor directed that changes must be made, and in default of the amendments being made within three months, the memorial is to be removed from the churchyard. [Link to comment]

Re St Augustine Droitwich [2016] ECC Wor 2 This 17-page judgment concerns the question of who – if anyone – has the right or duty to erect a commemorative memorial above the grave of a deceased person. The related procedural issue is how, in the event of a disagreement between competing relatives or others, the matter should most appropriately be resolved. Memorials in churchyards and municipal cemeteries considered.

Re St. Mary the Virgin Burghfield [2011] Oxford Const Ct, Rupert Bursell Ch. Regularization of the situation in S-M-t-V churchyard where some 67 graves or cremation plots had unauthorized additions. [Link to article]

Re St. Peter Lawford [2016] ECC Cov 3 Permission granted for memorial although ostensibly outside the churchyard regulations and not approved by DAC. However, Chancellor decided this was an appropriate case in which he should grant a faculty.

Re St. Michael Cornhill [2016] ECC Lon 4* Chancellor declined to allow the addition of an inscription on a floor tile in the sanctuary of the church in memory of a former parish clerk; instead allowed memorial to be placed on the wall opposite plaque in memory of another former parish clerk.

Re St. Maughold Maughold [2016] EC Sodor 1* Vicar General refused permission for erecting memorial in the shape of a Buddhist stupa in churchyard before petitioner’s death; inscription to be considered when and if an application for a faculty was made after the Petitioner’s death.

Re St. John the Baptist Adel and St. Michael Markington [2016] ECC Lee 8 The Chancellor granted the two linked petitions for establishment of bespoke churchyard regulations for the two churches: explanation of standard churchyard regulations for Diocese of Leeds.  [Link to post]

Re St. Oswald Dean [2016] ECC Car 5* Chancellor refused Masonic symbol to be added to memorial to Petitioner’s late uncle, which already had three “unusual features” contrary to Churchyard Regulations.

Re St. John the Baptist Berkswell [2016] ECC Cov 8* Chancellor refused faculty for further grey granite memorial: Policy of Rector and “entirely appropriate”, given Grade I listing  and appearance of surrounding area.”

Re St. Andrew Witchford [2016] ECC Ely 2* Chancellor refused faculty to for memorial which was outside the Churchyards Regulations, (size, material and inscription).  Presence of other memorials which were outside the regulations and installed without faculty did not oblige him to authorise further similar memorials.

Re St. Paul Rusthall [2016] ECC Roc 2Faculty refused for memorial not in compliance with the Rochester Diocese Churchyard Regulations 1981. Did not satisfy any of four criteria for non-standard memorials in Re St Mary Kingswinford [2001] 1 WLR 927.[Back]

Reservation of grave space

Re All Saints Ashwicken [2016] ECC Nor 4 Faculty granted for 12 year reservation a grave space for non-resident petitioners, who were not residents in the parish.

Re St Oswald Methley [2016] ECC Lee 2Faculty refused for the reservation of double grave of two petitioners; no legal right to burial, although the churchyard contained the graves of  parents and siblings of one. No remaining space anticipated in two years or less.  [Link to post]

Re St. Mary Allithwaite [2016] ECC Car 1* A faculty was refused for the reservation of a grave for a parishioner and his wife, on account of a resolution of the PCC in 2009 that it would not support future applications for the reservation of graves.

Re St. Leonard Minety [2016] ECC Bri 5 Faculty granted for reservation a double depth grave space. PCC had adopted “a policy of not supporting future grave reservations” but petitioners had been told at least once that their application could proceed. Notable absence of documentary evidence from PCC. [Back]


Re St. Bartholomew Leigh [2016] ECC Swk 4 Faculty granted for felling 18m tall Wellingtonia (Giant Redwood) tree and other tree works in churchyard. Local authority and DAC approval, but one objector, though not party opponent. PCC considered but rejected other short-term options to reduce height.


[2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments] [Top]


Re Holy Trinity Kimberley [2016] ECC S&N 1 The replacement of a pipe organ with an electronic instrument was one component of the judgment, above.

[2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments] [Top]


Re St Philip Scholes [2016] ECC Lee 5 Unauthorized destruction of marble-clad, brick font and incorporation of bowl into moveable, wooden font. Enquiry into events and grant of confirmatory faculty.  Clarifications of law  relating to the disposal of fonts. [Link to post]

Re St. Michael & All Angels Blackheath Park [2016] ECC Swk 13 Petition for major-reordering included removal and burial of existing font. LA objected to burial, HE had reservations on new font. Review of recent decisions on disposal. Faculty granted, old font to be put into storage. [Top]


The links above relate to judgments in which the disposal or movement of a font was the primary focus. However, in a number of cases relating to a major reordering of the church, changes to the font(s) are also considered, such as Re St. Peter & St Paul Coleshill  [2015] Birmingham Const. Ct, Mark Powell Chalso the unfortunate case of Re St. Bartholomew Kirby Muxloe [2015] Leicester Const Ct, David Rees Dep. Ch; in the latter

“The Deputy Chancellor provided the petitioners with his written observations outlining these concerns, in which he queried, inter alia whether “this particular design would have been approved by the PCC if it had come from someone with no connection to the parish … I have to say that I am not being facetious when I suggest that it looks more like a toilet than a font.”  Readers may wish to form their own opinion on the aesthetics of the design, here.”

In Re St. Mary Hullavington [2016] ECC Bri 1 a faculty was granted for an extension and major reordering of a Grade I-listed church. Only contentious issue concerned existing two fonts and possible introduction of a third. Font burial possible option.

[2015 Judgments]  [Top]


Re Holy Trinity Kimberley [2016] ECC S&N 1 One of three petitions considered in this judgment related to the loan of tubular bells to the Bell Foundry Museum in Loughborough, [11, 12]; a second judgment will be prepared in the light of the response from the CBC as required under rule 8.61)(c) of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2013 on account of the historic significance of these instruments. Above.

[2015 Judgments] [Top]

Links to other posts

Recent summaries of specific issues that have been considered in the consistory courts include:

Reordering, extensions & other building works

Church Treasures/Sale of Paintings &c

Audio Visual Equipment









Re Gomes: On 27 October 2016, the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Sodor and Man handed down the judgment: In the matter of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 as it has effect in the Isle of Man by virtue of the Clergy Discipline Measure (Isle of Man) 2005; In the matter of a complaint by the Ven Andrew Brown, Archdeacon of Man, concerning the conduct of the Revd Dr Canon Jules Francis Paulinus Gomes. [See round-up, November 2016]


Sodor and Man From 30th May to 3rd June, the Rt Revd Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, held a Visitation of the Cathedral and  invited questions and gathered views on the strengths and weaknesses of the Cathedral.

Peterborough Cathedral On 22 July 2016, the Bishop of Peterborough announced his intention to institute a formal Bishop’s Visitation of the Cathedral “to solve current problems and prevent future ones”; “the Cathedral is going through a cash flow crisis”.

Exeter In September the Bishop of Exeter published his  Charge following the Cathedral Visitation which was undertaken at the request of the Chapter and initiated by letter dated 17th November 2015.

Chichester At Evensong on Friday 4th November 2016, the Bishop of Chichester, the Right Revd Dr Martin Warner, handed over his Charge to the Dean, Chapter and College of Canons. The Bishop undertook the Visitation to allow him to establish an overview of the Cathedral’s worship and mission: “carrying out an in-depth review of the life of the Cathedral would throw new light on the ways it can serve both its immediate community and the wider community of the church in Sussex”. The Charge includes the results and recommendations from the Visitation which took place in 2016. [Link to post]

Links to the Ecclesiastical Law Association web site

At the end of 2018, the ELA web site was rebuilt using a more up-to-date framework; however, one consequence was that it is no longer practicable for us to include direct links to the site; from September 2018, therefore, the L&RUK site has held copies of all new judgments reviewed; for cases prior to this date, these can be accessed directly from the ELA web site.


Clicking on “top” will return the view to the groups in the main menu, above; Clicking on “back” will return the view to the sub-headings within each of these groups. Clicking on the citation will link to the L&RUK summary of the case. “Link to Judgment” is self-explanatory, and “Link to post” is used where there is a stand-alone post on the general issues raised in the judgment.


As from 1 January 2016, judgments in the ecclesiastical courts have been allocated a neutral citation number under the scheme described in Practice Note No 1 of 2016 and Practice Note No 2 of 2016. In addition, it was necessary to assign a neutral citation for the Diocese of Sodor and Man, here. The Diocese was deliberately excluded from the list of neutral citations in the earlier Practice Directions on citation because it is not part of England.