Ecclesiastical court judgments – 2017

As in previous years, the judgments reviewed in L&RUK during 2017 have been grouped under the following headings. 

[Further summaries for December 2017 judgments will be added after the December/January round-up has been posted.] 

This summary also includes links to other posts relating to ecclesiastical law.

Reordering, extensions & other building works



Re Upton St. Mary (or Overchurch) [2015 to 2017] In 2015, Chancellor concluded that it was within his jurisdiction to determine whether church centre was within church’s curtilage. Following 2016 grant of faculty for proposed centre, application made by objectors to Chancery Court of York for leave to appeal. Auditor of Chancery Court gave leave to appeal on only one of objectors’ grounds; appeal to the Chancery Court of York withdrawn as a result of a Consent Order.

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Substantial reordering

Re Holy Trinity Hull [2017] ECC Yor 1 Major reordering, for which Victorian Society was a party opponent, objecting principally to the proposed removal from the nave of “one of the most magnificent and extensive suites of Victorian church seating in the country”. Faculty granted. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Bratton Fleming [2010] Faculty sought for extensive re-ordering and refurbishment of Grade II church. Seventy objectors, three  parties opponent. The Chancellor approved the proposals relating to some elements of reordering, but sufficient case not made to justify the remaining items. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Bratton Fleming [2011] The 2010 Faculty for reordering amended to allow for certain consequential works, including approval for remodelling of pulpit steps. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Bratton Fleming [2012]  Faculty granted for moving font, removal of three pews and installation of redundant choir frontal to form baptistery. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Bratton Fleming [2016] ECC Exe 2* Pulpit was removed from the church in 2012 without authority. Chancellor determined that the arguments for removing the pulpit had not changed since 2010,  and accordingly he now refused again to grant a faculty for its removal. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Botolph Longthorpe [2017] ECC Pet 1 Faculty to authorise major scheme of reordering, notwithstanding objections of ChurchCare, Historic England, and the Victorian and Twentieth Century Societies. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Botolph Longthorpe [2017] EACC 4 Dean of Arches granted leave for the Victorian Society to appeal on limited grounds against a decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese to allow reordering works in Longthorpe Church. [ Back] [Top]

Re St Botolph, Longthorpe [2017] EACC xx. On 22 November 2017, there was a joint application by the parties for an order by consent in the terms of an attached order. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Luke Maidenhead [2017] ECC Oxf 1 Notwithstanding concerns on consultation, Chancellor granted a faculty for significant reordering.  [Back] [Top]

Re St. Andrew Donhead St. Andrew [2017] ECC Sal 1 Faculty granted for major reordering of the Grade II* church, costing £500,000. Seven parties opponent, but harm to building modest, justification for works strong, and public benefit would outweigh any harm. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael Cambridge [2017] ECC Ely 1 Faculty granted for removal of  remaining pews from the chancel, raising floor level and replacement of pews with seats. Victorian Society objected re: removal of Victorian fittings. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Watford [2017] ECC StA 1 Deputy Chancellor granted faculty, as this was exceptional case where extensive reordering was necessary to meet the needs of the church and the local community. Victorian Society party opponent.  [Back] [Top]

Re St. Nicholas Great Kimble [2017] ECC Oxf 3 Faculty granted for substantial reordering. Benefit to local community outweighed any minor harm to the character of the building, subject to non-upholstered pew benches. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Bartholomew Otford [2017] ECC Roc 4 Several written objections to extensive reordering works were proposed for the Grade I church, but no objections from the amenity societies consulted. The Chancellor, satisfied that the petitioners had made out a good case for the works, granted a faculty. [Back] [Top]

Reordering and alternative uses

Re Botcherby St. Andrew [2016] ECC Car 3 Victorian Society objected to: removal of all but two pews; carpeting of nave and erection of a partition to create meeting room, WC and kitchen. Chancellor granted faculty subject replacement chairs being of solid wood and not upholstered. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Katharine Holt [2016] ECC Sal 2  Victorian Society and CBC expressed concern about: removal of Victorian pews; introduction of plastic upholstered chairs; and introduction of carpeting to the north aisle. Chancellor approved reordering apart from chairs. Proceedings adjourned 6 months for selection of alternative type of chair.  [Back] [Top]

Re St. John Waterloo [2017] ECC Swk 1* Faculty refused for reordering proposals of early 19th century Grade II* church. No sufficiently clear and convincing justification for carrying out the proposals which would outweigh the potential harm to the 1951 interior scheme. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Matthew Leyburn [2017] ECC Lee 1 Petition contained two proposals: “a relatively modest re-ordering of the north aisle and related works”; and formation of car park. Faculty granted. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Lawrence Barton [2017] ECC Bla 3 Petition granted for re-ordering chancel area of Grade II Victorian church.  Victorian Society objected to covering of Minton tiles with carpet. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Margaret of Antioch Rainham [2017] ECC Roc 2 Petition granted for reordering works, despite “gratuitous harm” anticipated by Victorian Society to Grade I listed church. [Back] [Top]

Re St. John Waterloo [2017] EACC 3 The Dean of Arches gave leave to appeal on two of five grounds set out in the application relating to reordering of church, Re St. John Waterloo [2017] ECC Swk 1, supra; he also gave directions as to costs. In the event, the  parish decided not to pursue its appeal. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Andrew Kettleburgh [2017] ECC SEI 4 Faculty granted for reordering, including works to the south porch and the west end of the nave,  of and repositioning of three rows of pews/adjustment of floor levels. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Andrew Earlsfield [2017] ECC Swk 5 Faculty granted for reordering of Grade II church included replacement of nave pews with oak chairs; “a clear case where significant public benefit outweighs modest harm”. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Magdalene Richmond [2017] ECC Swk 7 Petition sought reordering: replacement of pews; new stone floor with under-floor heating. Victorian Society objected to removal of quarry tiles; also reservations on position of ledger memorial stones.  Faculty granted for all works, including removal of the Victorian quarry tiles, subject to ledger stones remaining in existing positions. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Magdalene Clitheroe [2017] ECC Bla 8 Two petitions submitted re: reordering. Faculty granted since harm to significance of building caused by removal of furniture and fittings outweighed by  liturgical freedom created, and potential public benefit from flexible area for worship and other diverse activities.  [Back] [Top]

Re Christ Church Upper Armley [2017] ECC Lee 5 Faculty granted for permanent removal of pulpit, previously moved under archdeacon’s licence. Archdeacons warned re: management of licences for temporary reordering under FJR. [Back] [Top].

Re Plaxtol Parish Church [2017] ECC Roc 3 Petitioners sought to introduce carpets in the nave but DAC considered it inappropriate for a Grade II* church – “being too domestic in appearance”. Historic England also objected but Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made out a good case. Faculty granted. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Thomas Werneth [2017] ECC Man 1 Chancellor granted faculty for reordering; major public benefit outweighed any resultant harm. [Back] [Top]

Other building works, including re-roofing

Re St. Bartholomew Welby [2017] ECC Lei 1 Petition hearing for Heritage Lottery Fund plaque adjourned to allow amendment to smaller alternative plaque.  [Link to post] [Back] [Top]

Re St. John the Evangelist Read-in-Whalley [2017] ECC Bla 1 Faculty granted for replacement of existing plain glass window with a stained glass design, a gift to the church from a living donor, the Rt. Hon. Lord Waddington GCVO, with an inscription stating that it was a gift to the church from him. [Back] [Top]

Re Christ Church Charnock Richard [2016] ECC Bla 2 Petition granted for complete re-wiring and installation of new and emergency lighting within the Grade II listed church. [Back] [Top]

Re St Michael & All Angels Croston [2017] ECC Bla 5 Faculty granted for work on rotten/infested roof timbers and floorings, necessary for future structural integrity, and prevent complete loss of buildings. HLF funds available, and include requirement for disabled access. Some pew removal. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Petersham [2017] ECC Swk 3 Faculty granted for the construction of a parish room/extension to church. Two neighbours and another parishioner objected.  [Back] [Top]

Re St. Helen Denton [2017] ECC Lee 2 Faculty granted for extension to north side of the church and construction of a new car park. The proposed extension would house a small kitchen and lavatory facilities. Chancellor satisfied that “public benefit would outweigh measurable, though not serious, harm that would result.”  [Back] [Top]

Re St. Barnabas Eltham [2017] ECC Swk 4 Faculty granted for removal of: chancel and sanctuary furniture, but not Holy Table; row of pews at east end of nave; new carpeted, raised floor; underfloor heating; additional lighting in chancel; and replacement/repositioning of electronic organ. Twentieth Century Society objected to the removal of the choir stalls and the Communion rail. Communion rail to be retained, but moved further east. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Stephen Burnley [2017] ECC Bla 7 Faculty granted for extension of 2005-approved scheme – blue upholstered chars and carpet tiles – to create “a more flexible space” and “give a more unified appearance”.  [Link to post] [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Bramham [2017] ECC Yor 3 The Chancellor granted a faculty for some minor reordering of the chancel of the church, to include moving the stone altar forward by 1 metre, to allow the celebrant to face westwards. The work also included the removal and disposal of the children’s choir stalls. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Bromley (Plaistow) [2017] ECC Roc 5 Faculty granted for reordering of unlisted Victorian church. Re St. Alkmund Duffield [2013] guidelines did not engage but petitioners had made out a good case for the proposed works. [Back] [Top]

Re St. John Out Rawcliffe [2017] ECC Bla 11 Faculty granted for installation of stained glass window in the Grade II church in memory of the late husband of church organist. Chancellor did not consider that he had to treat an application for memorial window in the same way as application for a memorial in church.  [Back] [Top].

Re St John the Baptist, Saints Lawrence and Anne, Knowle [2017] ECC Bir 1. Interim faculty granted allowing the GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) rainwater goods to remain for a further 5 years, after which they should be replaced with metal, if the general advice of the heritage bodies has not changed by the end of that period. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Philip and St. James Whittington [2017] Ecc Wor 1 Petition sought for extension to north of west end of church, to provide a meeting room &c to replace facilities provided by temporary Portacabin in the churchyard. The decision turned on the impact of the proposed extension on a yew tree thought to be 700-750 years old. Faculty refused. [Back] [Top]

Re Holy Trinity Poynings [2017] ECC Chi 3 The Chancellor dismissed the petition for the installation inter alai of underfloor heating beneath a new stone floor. Applying Re Duffield, he concluded that the harm would be considerable, and justification for the proposals relating to the heating was neither clear nor convincing, and were unlikely to achieve what the parish requirements of heating the whole church. [Back] [Top]

Re London St. Augustine Watling Street [2017] ECC Lon 2 The Chancellor granted a faculty the construction of a new boarding house for St. Paul’s Cathedral School on the footprint of the former church), whilst retaining the Wren tower, notwithstanding an objection from Twentieth Century Society. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Pettistree [2017] ECC SEI 6 Chancellor granted restoration order to rectify unauthorized work directed by the architect; Chancellor directed cost of remedial work to be met by architect. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Simon Zelotes Upper Chelsea [2018] ECC Lon 1 Faculty granted for reordering west end of church, introducing speakers into the chancel and making good tiles in floor at front of church. Victorian Society was party opponent. Chancellor satisfied that “any prejudice to the architectural integrity is outweighed by the pastoral and liturgical benefits and applying the balance of probabilities the Petitioners have made out their case.”  [Back] [Top]

Removal and replacement of pews &c

Re St. Mary the Virgin Redcliffe [2017] ECC Bri 1* Faculty refused for: conversion of altar table in Lady Chapel to serve also as a chest of drawers suitable for storage of vestments as would be in breach of Canon F2.  [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary the Virgin Buckland [2017] ECC Swk 6 Faculty granted for removal of three pews from east end of nave, two on south side and one on north side, to provide more space for wheelchairs &c.  Modest harm would be outweighed by the clear and significant public benefit. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Nicholas Fundenhall [2017] ECC Nor 5 Contrary to judgment in October 2014, inappropriate new nave chairs/pews ordered. Historic England and Victorian Society objected. Faculty granted for 10 years, but PCC to put forward proposals for alternative chairs before then. [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints West Burnley [2017] ECC Bla 6 Faculty granted for replacement of pews and chair chairs with new wooden chairs having upholstered seats and backs. The judgment contains a discussion on the nature of the CBC Guidance on Seating and its application. [Link to post] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Magdalene Cresswell [2017] ECC Der 6 Chancellor granted a faculty for removal of side aisle pews; existing plastic chairs not to be left in side aisles when not needed and petitioners to provide detailed proposals for replacement chairs end of 2019.   [Back] [Top]

Re St. John the Evangelist Killingworth [2017] ECC New 2 Chancellor determined that petitioners made a good case for removal of pews from the nave and for replacement chairs with upholstered seats, but not for removal of the pews from the chancel; this would maintain discrete formal area, which would not affect objective greater flexibility of worship and other events in the nave. [Back] [Top]

See also contemporary judgment of Re St. Stephen Burnley [2017] ECC Bla 7, supra.

Re All Saints Higher Walton [2017] ECC Bla 9 Faculty granted for changes to  heating system, removal of the side aisle pews and introduction of upholstered chairs to match the chairs in the centre of the nave; Victorian Society objected to more upholstered seating. Chancellor concluded “It would not be reasonable to deny the petitioners more of the same sort of chair”.  [Link to review] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Michael & All Angels Ashton-on-Ribble [2017] ECC Bla 10* Chancellor refused application by churchwarden to dispose of a wooden lectern. [Back] [Top]

Re St Peter’s Drayton [2017] ECC Oxf 4 Faculty granted for removal of four rows of pews from the west end of the nave in order to allow greater community use of the church. [Back] [Top]

Re Bath Abbey [2017] ECC B&W 1 The Chancellor granted a faculty to allow the pews in the nave to be replaced with chairs, subject to the chairs being stained to match the other furniture in the Abbey. [Link to post] [Back] [Top]

In the following which are reviewed above, there was consideration to the removal of pews:

Re Botcherby St. Andrew [2016] ECC Car 3

Re St. Katharine Holt [2016] ECC Sal 2

Re Holy Trinity Hull [2017] ECC Yor 1

Re St Michael & All Angels Croston [2017] ECC Bla 5

Re St. Andrew Earlsfield [2017] ECC Swk 5

Re St. Mary Magdalene Richmond [2017] ECC Swk 7

Re St. Stephen Burnley [2017] ECC Bla 7

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[2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]

Church Treasures/Sale of Paintings &c/Loans

Re St. Ann Oldland [2017] ECC Bri 2 Confirmatory faculty granted for the loan of Ecce Homo by Murillo to Bristol Art Gallery in 2012, which had taken place without authorization. The Church Buildings Council supported the loan; good quality copy to be placed in church.  [Back] [Top]

[2016 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]

Audio Visual Equipment

Re St. Mary and St. Cuthbert Chester-le-Street [2017] ECC Dur 1 The proposal was to install four 50 inch LCD monitors on pillars in the nave of the church, plus a 24 inch monitor in the choir vestry and a 32 inch monitor on a wheeled trolley, plus associated electronics and wiring. There were several objections from parishioners. Historic England and the Council for the Care of Churches objected that the monitors would be intrusive and harm the character of this historically significant Grade I church, which has associations with St. Cuthbert. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty so far as the four largest screens were concerned. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Bromley [2017] ECC Roc 6 The incumbent, the associate vicar and the churchwarden applied for a faculty for the introduction of an audio-visual system into the Grade II* church. There was one letter of objection, from the assistant organist, who did not wish to be a party opponent. His concern was that the evangelical style of worship of the present vicar and associate priest would result in excessive use of the audio-visual equipment, which “does not fit with the very middle of the road Anglican choral tradition that we have here.” The Chancellor found no merit in the assistant organist’s arguments, and did not feel that they were representative of the views of the members of the church as a whole, and he accordingly granted a faculty. [Back] [Top]

Re St. John the Evangelist Ladywood [2017] ECC Bir 3 Faculty granted for installation of new audio-visual system in church. Chancellor saw no reason to make the petitioners delay the installation of a new system pending new technology, as suggested by Historic England. [Back] [Top]

[2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments]


Re St. Mary the Virgin Walsham Willows [2017] ECC SEI 1 Faculty granted for installation of telecommunications antennae in the Grade I church. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Heydon [2017] ECC Nor 2 Faculty granted for  installation of wireless broadband equipment in the tower of the church. Equal value of each PCC vote; relative merits of tower vs satellite broadband. Benefit to community.  [Back] [Top]

Re St. James Kidbrooke [2017] EACC 1Arches Court refused leave to appeal by sole party opponent against Re St. James Kidbrooke [2016] ECC 16. [Back] [Top]

Re St. James Kidbrooke [2017] EACC 2 Decision on costs given by the Dean of Arches in respect of his refusal to grant leave to appeal, Re St. James Kidbrooke [2017] EACC 1). [Back] [Top]

[2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Problems of access

Re Castle Bytham Cemetery [2017] ECC Lin 1 Applying Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, Chancellor could not grant faculty on first ground, (petitioner and wife, due to their age and frailty, were unable to visit the grave) but he granted a faculty on the second ground, (establishment of family grave). [Back] [Top]

Re Kenilworth Cemetery [2017] ECC Cov 3* Faculty refused for exhumation and re-interment of petitioner’s father’s ashes; no special circumstances, within guidelines in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam. 299. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael & All Angels Brownsover [2017] ECC Cov 4* No exceptional reason to justify grant of faculty; the fact that churchyard at Brownsover was currently largely overgrown not a sufficient reason to justify the grant of a faculty. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael & All Angels Pelsall [2017] ECC Lic 5 Chancellor decided that the combination of three circumstances – family’s unhappiness about interment in 1991, change in policy of PCC, and creation of a family grave by  – justified grant of faculty.[Back] [Top]

Family graves

Re Gravesend Cemetery [2017] ECC Roc 1 Faculty granted for exhumation of petitioner’s father, d. 1992, for cremation and ashes taken to Italy to be interred with cremated remains of petitioner’s mother, d. 2015, in family grave. [Back] [Top]

St. Mary Polstead [2017] ECC SEI 2 Another “family rift” case. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Edgmond [2017] ECC Lic 4 Faculty granted for exhumation of cremated remains of petitioner’s father to another part of the same churchyard. “There is a proper and understandable proposal to reunite the remains of husband and wife in one plot in the same churchyard as currently contains those remains in separate plots”. [Back] [Top]

Re Welton Road Cemetery Daventry [2017] ECC Pet 2 In 1987 petitioner reserved for herself a cremation plot but in 2015 burial authority mistakenly granted exclusive right of burial in same plot to someone else. Chancellor granted faculty for exhumation of cremated remains from reserved plot. [Back] [Top]

Errors in burial

Re St. John the Baptist Boldre [2017] ECC Win 1 Errors made by professionals involved re: advice to petitioners concerning tree root. Exceptional circumstances to for exhumation and re-interment; permission requires from Local Planning Authority re: severing root. [Back] [Top]

Re Fairmile Cemetery Lower Assendon [2017] ECC Oxf 2* Errors (x2) by Town Council, strongly admonished for other illegal practices. Nevertheless, petition refused as did not meet Blagdon criteria.  [Back] [Top]

Re Magdalen Cemetery Gorleston [2017] ECC Nor 3 Faculty granted for exhumation of remains of petitioners father’s late wife’s cremated from cremated remains plot for re-interment in a full grave plot in the same cemetery.  [Back] [Top]

Re Crigglestone Cemetery [2017] ECC Lee 3* Faculty refused for exhumation of ashes of petitioner’s son so that they might be placed in a niche or columbarium in the garden of the petitioner’s home. [Back] [Top]

Re South London Crematorium [2017] ECC Swk 8 Mistake made for “temporary” burial of ashes in consecrated ground. Chancellor authorised exhumation and re-interment as requested, but did not insist that the ashes should be reinterred in consecrated ground. [Back] [Top]

Re Greatness Park Cemetery Sevenoaks [2017] ECC Roc 8 The petitioners applied for a faculty to authorise the exhumation of their father’s ashes and re-interment in the plot containing the ashes of their mother. The father had died in 2006. His ashes had been buried in the cemetery and a memorial placed over the plot. Space was left for the name of the mother on the memorial. When the mother died in 2017, it was discovered that the father’s ashes had been buried only two feet deep, so it was not possible to inter a further casket of ashes in the same plot. The petitioners therefore had their mother’s ashes buried at double depth in a nearby plot and applied for a faculty to move their father’s ashes to the same plot. The Chancellor decided that this was a case where he could exercise his discretion in allowing exhumation and re-interment, on the basis that the burial authority had made a mistake by failing to make it clear that a further burial in the first plot would not be possible. [Back] [Top]

Re Newcastle Under Lyme Cemetery [2017] ECC Lic 6 The Chancellor determined that, owing to the mistake by the burial authority, he was justified in allowing the two exhumations and reinterments. [Back] [Top]

[2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]

Churchyards and burials

Development of churchyard

Re Christ Church, Spitalfields [2017] Court of Arches Chancellor granted confirmatory faculty to authorise the retention of an existing building currently standing in and on the disused graveyard of Christ Church. Objectors, who wished to restore the churchyard as an open space, sought a restoration order to demolish the new building [See: Re Christ Church Spitalfields [2015] Court of Arches. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary West Worlington [2016] ECC Exe 1 Faculty granted for installation of: four timber bollards along approach to churchyard; and iron gate and fence within the church boundary to prevent entry of livestock. [Back] [Top]

Re Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries [2017] ECC Swk 2 Faculty granted for Southwark Borough to provide additional burial space. Many objections. The Chancellor was satisfied with the proposals and granted a faculty. [Link to post] [Back] [Top]

Re St. John the Baptist Hillmorton [2017] ECC Cov 1 Faculty granted for single collective memorial for up to 120 names re: cremated remains of churchyard. Chancellor permitted use of honed granite stone, different from sandstone of church/other memorials, on grounds of durability and low impact.  [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Terwick [2017] ECC Chi 2 Petition granted for part of churchyard to be reused for burials, but court stayed issue of faculty until parish had considered bespoke churchyard regulations re: permitted stone. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Paul the Apostle Choppington [2017] ECC New 1 Faculty granted retrospectively for laying flat 51 unstable memorials which had been found to be unstable in 2015 and those deemed to be unstable by a future inspection. Faculty granted subject to future laying flat required express approval of Archdeacon.[Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Bredhurst (2) [2017] ECC Roc 10 Chancellor granted confirmatory faculty for “retrospective approval for a prayer walk in the wooded area of the churchyard, including the introduction of a path, carved mushrooms inscribed with prayers and artwork designed following a study day.” [Back] [Top]

Churchyard Regulations

Re St. John the Baptist Armitage [2017] ECC Lic 1 Chancellor resolves squabble between feuding family factions re: headstone and additional memorial.  [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael Lichfield [2017] ECC Lic 3 St Michael’s church and churchyard important to those of a Traveller Heritage. Faculty refused for large memorial in memory of petitioner’s late husband, and ultimately herself. Smaller memorial in would be permitted. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary the Virgin Eccleston [2017] ECC Bla 4 Chancellor Bullimore granted a petition despite the opposition of the incumbent, made without the benefit of PCC consideration, and of the DAC, having changed its mind following a meeting with the incumbent. Basis of Churchyard Regulations forcefully questioned. [

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Re All Saints Honington [2017] ECC SEI 3 Faculty granted to Commonwealth War Graves Commission to replace a memorial bearing an inscribed cross to airman of Jewish descent  with one bearing the a Star of David. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Helen Welton [2017] ECC Yor 2 Faculty granted for removal of “desktop” style memorial. Family initially accepted it should comply with Churchyard Regulation, but when introduced through mistake of stonemason, were unwilling to permit its removal. [Back] [Top]

Re New Lonan Churchyard [2017] EC Sodor 1 Vicar General refused to confirmatory faculty for wooden memorial shape of a treble clef sign; he ordered its removal within 56 days, but could be replaced with memorial of natural stone with suitably sized engraving of treble clef. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Roughton [2017] ECC Nor 1* Confirmatory faculty for retention of gravel placed over grave of petitioner’s late wife refused. To be replaced with turf by petitioner within 3 months, failing which by the churchwardens. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Andrew Buxton [2017] ECC Nor 4 Confirmatory faculty sought for works of refurbishment to the area for cremated remains. Chancellor expressed concern re: aesthetics and maintenance. Faculty granted for 10 years, after which review required. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Magdalene Lyminster [2017] ECC Chi 1* Faculty refused for proposed memorial outside the churchyards regulations and it inappropriate for the churchyard, [black polished granite with matching kerbs filled with grey granite chippings]. Unlawful introduction of unsuitable memorials of a similar type irrelevant. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Werburgh Hoo [2017] ECC Roc 7 The incumbent and churchwardens applied for a faculty to approve a local variation of the Churchyard Regulations. The Chancellor was satisfied that it was appropriate to approve a local set of regulations on aesthetic and practical grounds and to enable better management of the churchyard. It would be a condition of the faculty that families would be required to sign a notice confirming that they would comply with the regulations. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Leonard Ryton on Dunsmore [2017] ECC Cov 2. Deputy Chancellor granted faculty for polished dark grey granite memorial in the shape of a traditional Gypsy caravan, but not the representation of a waggon on the reverse side. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary the Virgin Tutbury [2017] ECC Lic 2 This 11-page judgment concerns the aesthetics of two metal wreath holders near to the war memorial in the churchyard.[Back] [Top]

In the Matter of George Goodall Deceased [2017] ECC Bir 2* Petitioners unhappy that memorial to their relative was at the foot of the grave, and applied for permission to move the memorial to the head of the grave. Refused. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Bartholomew Old Whittington [2017] ECC Der 4 The petitioner sought to install a memorial of York Stone and within the diocesan churchyards regulations, but Rector, PCC and others objected. Chancellor pointed out that a PCC can only have a variation to the diocesan regulations if such variation is approved by the Chancellor of the Diocese. Faculty granted.  [Back] [Top]

Re Holy Trinity Coventry [2017] ECC Cov 5 In 2007 PCC passed a resolution implementing a policy for restricting interment of ashes in closed churchyard Chancellor stated PCC’s policy could not override his discretion and granted a faculty for interment and memorial.[Back] [Top]

Re Christ Church South Ossett [2017] ECC Lee 6 The Chancellor granted a restitution order for the removal of a memorial which had been placed in the churchyard without permission. [Back] [Top]

Re St. George Chorley [2017] ECC Bla 12 Faculty granted, subject to conditions, for interment in granite casket in the baptistery, of priest who died in service. Case law on burial of ashes in church buildings reviewed. [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Bransgore with Thorney Hill [2017] ECC Win 3* Faculties refused for two proposed memorials; designs would be harmful both to character of the churchyard, and to the contribution it makes to the setting of the Grade I listed church. [Note revised neutral citation, ECC WIN 3, not ECC WIN 2] [Back] [Top]

Re St. James Uldale [2017] ECC Car 1 The Chancellor was asked to determine whether an inscription including the word “Pop” should be allowed on a memorial in the churchyard. The Chancellor decided that, on the facts of this particular case, he would allow the use of the word “Pop” to be used on the proposed memorial. [Back] [Top]

Re Foxley Churchyard [2017] ECC Bri 3 The Chancellor refused to permit on a headstone a design of two intersecting triangles and a ’12 spoked Dharmachakra‘, an Indian religious symbol. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Bredhurst (1) [2017] ECC Roc 9 Chancellor granted faculty for removal of “figurine gnomes, garden gnomes, figurine angels, cupids, balloons, and solar lamps, etc.” together with rose bushes and other shrubs planted on graves”. “As a matter of logic and common sense, since there are regulations in force, it would be manifestly absurd to have them broken as each person deems fit … In my judgment it is not proper for a person to take the law into his own hands, and then cry ‘foul’ when action is taken against him.”  [Back] [Top]

Reservation of grave space

Re St. Wilfrid Standish [2017] ECC Bla 2 Husband and wife on electoral roll granted permission to reserve a double depth grave in the churchyard. No relevant PCC policy. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Wilfrid Davenham [2017] ECC Chr 2 Chancellor granted faculty for reservation of a grave in the special circumstances of the case, not on account of the petitioner’s position as a reader but on “reasonable expectations” of  petitioner and his wife, held since 2010. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael Hulme Walfield [2017] ECC Chr 1* Chancellor declined to grant a faculty since the reservation of a grave by faculty would override minister’s power to give or withhold consent to the eventual burial of non-parishioners. [Back] [Top]

Re St. John the Baptist Barlaston [2017] ECC Lic 7* Chancellor refused to grant a faculty; PCC’s policy was reasonable in the circumstances, and that the personal circumstances of petitioner and her connexions with the churchyard did not amount to exceptional circumstances. [Back] [Top]


Re St. John the Baptist Knaresborough [2017] ECC Lee 4 Faculty granted for replacement of bench surrounding tree in churchyard, subject to recommendations of tree expert re: removal of lower branches. [Back] [Top]

Re St. Leonard Monyash [2017] ECC Der 3 The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the removal from the churchyard of a tree which was in danger of causing damage to an adjoining property. [Back] [Top]

See also Re St. John the Baptist Boldre [2017] ECC Win 1 and  Re St. Philip and St. James Whittington [2017] Ecc Wor 1.  

[2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Re St. Paul St. Albans [2017] ECC StA 2 The Chancellor granted a faculty to allow the disposal of the existing pipe organ and its replacement with an electronic organ. [Back] [Top]

Re Christ Church Fulwood [2017] ECC She 6 Chancellor granted a faculty for the creation of a courtyard in the churchyard, between the church and the road; and replacement of pipe organ , subject to conditions, with an electronic instrument in order to provide more seating space. [Back] [Top]

[2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Re York Minster [2016] ECC Yor 3 Chancellor dismissed application by for an injunction to stop the Dean & Chapter of York Minster preventing the ringing of the Minster bells. [Link to post] [Top]

[2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments]

Environmental Permit

Rector and PCC St Mary’s Church: environmental permit application, GL20 6EZ Application for permit for Trench Arch system at St Mary’s Church.

Ss Peter and Paul Parochial Cherry Willinham PCC: environmental permit application, LN3 4AB, 20 October 2017. Bespoke application for an environmental permit under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 from Ss Peter and Paul Parochial Cherry Willinham PCC. The application related to discharges to groundwater of 0.2 cubic metres per day of untreated waste water from a Trench Arch System.

CDM Tribunals

Re Gomes – penalty

On 27 October 2016, the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Sodor and Man handed down the judgment concerning the conduct of the Revd Dr Canon Jules Francis Paulinus Gomes, reviewed here. On 11 January 2017, the Church of England published the Tribunal’s decision regarding the penalty. [Link to post] [Top]

Re Day – Penalty

In August 2016 Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Europe handed down its decision in the matter of a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003: Complainant, The Ven. Jonathan Wilford Lloyd; Respondent, The Rev. Professor James Meredith Day, reviewed here. [Top]

The penalty handed down on 24 November has now been published. The Tribunal determined that Prohibition for Life is appropriate as it found “no realistic prospect of rehabilitating Professor Day back into ministry because his conduct was so grave. [It] also find that the lack of remorse or repentance contributes towards [its] decision that only Prohibition for Life is appropriate” [8]. [Top]

Re Waswa

Counsel for Responded formally admitted the Complaint on his behalf: conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders within section 8(1)(d) CDM 2003′; while married Respondent had improper relationship with woman via dating website to whom he falsely pretended to be unmarried fundraiser for Christian Aid. The Tribunal decided upon the penalty, one year prohibition, delivered the same day  in open Court on 1 February 2017. [Top]

Re Huntley (2)

The recent decision concerning the Revd Huntley is unusual in that it is the only instance that has been reported to date in which action against a Clerk in Holy Orders has been undertaken more than once. As noted above, the Tribunals considered two significantly different matters, although the decision on the penalty in Re Huntley (2) took into account the conduct of the priest following its decision following the appeal hearing in 2016.  Decision and Penalty, October 2017. [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













Peterborough: On 8 January, the Church of England issued a statement on behalf of the Church Commissioners in relating to the Visitation Charge issued by the Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough to Peterborough Cathedral. This is summarised in our post issued by the Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough. [Link to post #1] [Link to post #2]

Exeter: Further to the Visitation Charge issued in September by the Rt Rev Robert Atwell, on 12 March 2017 the Very Reverend Dr Jonathan Draper, announced his retirement. The previous week, Canon Victoria Thurtell resigned from her post of Precentor with immediate effect, and three administrative members of staff are reported to be at risk of redundancy


Links to the Ecclesiastical Law Association web site

A major fault on the servers of the web hosting company’ used by the Ecclesiastical Law Association (ELA) at the beginning of September 2018 caused the loss of both its web site and the associated backup. Until this time, our case reviews included a link to the judgment on the ELA site. As at 21 December, 577 judgments with summaries from the original site have been uploaded, and there are 86 judgments still to be uploaded.

The ELA web site has been rebuilt using a more up-to-date framework, but it is no longer practicable for us to include direct links to it. The implications for the L&RUK web site are twofold:

  • from September 2018 the L&RUK site will hold copies of all new judgments reviewed;
  • for reviews prior to this date, the URLs to the copy of the judgment on the ELA site are no longer effective. However, they may 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 2015 and Practice Note No 1 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.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Ecclesiastical court judgments – 2017" in Law & Religion UK, 6 January 2018,

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