Ecclesiastical court judgments – 2019

Index to ecclesiastical court judgments reviewed during 2019, and links to reviews in previous years

As in previous years, the judgments reviewed in L&RUK during 2019 have been grouped under the following headings.

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


Reordering, extensions & other building works

[top]

Substantial reordering

Re Christ Church Fulwood [2018] ECC She 3* Faculty granted for extensive reordering except for proposals for Chancel which would harm building’s special character; petitioners should consider alternatively ways of finding meeting, office and storage space required. [Re Christ Church Fulwood [2018] ECC She 3] [Link to post] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Wilfrid Barrow on Trent [2019] ECC Der 1 Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that petitioners had made good case for improving the church and its usability for both church and community use, in order to prevent further decline in the use of the church. [Re St. Wilfrid Barrow on Trent [2019] ECC Der 1] [Back] [Top].

Re St. John the Baptist Heeley [2019] ECC She 1 Deputy Chancellor granted faculty for reordering. Victorian Society objected to the removal of the pews and their replacement with upholstered chairs. However, petitioners had made a good case for the proposals and that the resulting public benefit would greatly outweigh any harm caused to the significance of the church as a whole. [Re St. John the Baptist Heeley [2019] ECC She 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Stoke Upon Tern [2019] ECC Lic 3 The petitioners sought permission involving “a significant remodelling” of the porch of the Grade II church. The Chancellor determined that the benefits from the lighter and more comfortable and more welcoming internal arrangements which would result from the proposed glazing, outweighed the harm to the church’s special significance, and granted a faculty. [Re St. Peter Stoke Upon Tern [2019] ECC Lic 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. John Waterloo [2019] ECC Swk 3 A major reordering scheme was proposed for the church. The Chancellor took the view that the proposed scheme would have a significant effect on the interior of the church, but he was satisfied that the benefits would outweigh any harm. He accordingly granted a faculty. [Re St. John Waterloo [2019] ECC Swk 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Anne Aigburth [2019] ECC Liv 1 Chancellor approved in principle all the items, but was not prepared to approve the SB2M chair without further consultation taking place and a further opportunity for the petitioners to consider an alternative chair or make a stronger case for preferred chair.[Re St. Anne Aigburth [2019] ECC Liv 1] [Back] [Top]

Reordering and alternative uses

Re Kingston upon Hull St. Nicholas [2019] ECC Yor 2 A Faculty granted inter alia for replacement twenty pews with one hundred and twenty Alpha SB2M chairs and four stacking trollies, for unlisted church built in 1969-1970 [Re Kingston upon Hull St. Nicholas [2019] ECC Yor 2] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Grundisburgh [2019] ECC SEI 3 Faculty granted for small extension to the church to accommodate toilets and a plant room. DAC opposed the proposals, but Historic England supportive. [Re St. Peter & St. Paul Grundisburgh [2019] ECC SEI 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael the Archangel Beccles [2019] ECC SEI 4 Petitioners proved to the necessary degree that the moderate harm that will be caused to the significance of this church as a building of special architectural or historic interest is justified by the need demonstrated. [Re St. Michael the Archangel Beccles [2019] ECC SEI 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Thomas the Martyr Up Holland [2019] ECC Liv 4 The petitioners sought to remove of screens on either side of chancel steps and relocate them on the east wall; also some alterations to choir stalls. Chancellor satisfied that benefits of the proposals would outweigh what he considered to be a low degree of harm to the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest. Faculty granted. [Re St. Thomas the Martyr Up Holland [2019] ECC Liv 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Gregory Castlemorton [2019] ECC Wor 2 Proposal was to create space in the nave, to allow for a wide range of worship, social and cultural activities in the Grade I church. Chancellor was not satisfied that a good case had been made for the moving of the font from near south door, nor for removing pews from Lady Chapel, but granted a faculty for other items. [Re St. Gregory Castlemorton [2019] ECC Wor 2] [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Worcester [2019] ECC Wor 1 Having been through a period of decline, the Grade II* listed church had been revitalised in recent years, with 300 people attending weekly to worship in an evangelical style. The Petitioners wished to carry out a major reordering in stages, to create a multi-functional space for the church and the wider community. Chancellor satisfied a case made out for the servery and the replacement of the pews with chosen chairs, and granted a faculty, but he did not consider that an adequate case had been made for the moving of the font. [Re All Saints Worcester [2019] ECC Wor 1] [Back] [Top]

Other building works, including re-roofing

Re St. Saviour Westgate-on-Sea [2018] ECC Can 2 Commissary General granted faculty to a revised petition seeking the replacement the existing cupboard, worktop, sink, tap and water heater in the Vestry. Initial petition included connection of services to sewer at a cost in excess of £61,000. [Re St. Saviour Westgate-on-Sea [2018] ECC Can 2] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Chailey [2019] ECC Chi 2 Deputy Chancellor granted faculty for reordering, but determined that party opponent had behaved unreasonably, and was directed to pay part of the costs attributable to him. [Re St. Peter Chailey [2019] ECC Chi 2] [Back] [Top]

Re Christ Church Spitalfields [2019] EACC 1 In December 2017 the acting Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of London issued a confirmatory faculty in respect of the Nursery, and refused to make a restoration order requiring the demolition of the Nursery. She also held that Spitalfields Open Space Limited did not have a sufficient interest to take part in the legal proceedings. On an appeal to the Court of Arches, the Court determined that: (1) Spitalfields Open Space Limited had a sufficient interest; (2) the Consistory Court had not had the power to grant a confirmatory faculty; (3) an application by a Mr. Ouvry to intervene in the appeal should be refused; (4) it was appropriate to make a restoration order, requiring the demolition of the Nursery; (5) to allow time for the occupants of the Nursery to relocate, the restoration of the site need not be completed until 1 February 2029. [Re Chris Church Spitalfields [2019] EACC 1] [Link to post] [Back] [Top]

Re Christ Church Spitalfields [2019] EACC 2 Order for costs. [Re Christ Church Spitalfields 2019] EACC 2 Order and Costs] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Matthew Chapel Allerton [2018] ECC Lee 2 Deputy Chancellor determined that the petitioners had made a clear and convincing justification for new meeting room at the west end of the church, despite objections of VIcatorian Society. Faculty granted. [Re St. Matthew Chapel Allerton [2018] ECC Lee 2] [Back] [Top].

Re St. James Swarkestone [2019] ECC Der 2 Faculty granted for building works which also required a water supply and sewerage system. [Re St. James Swarkestone [2019] ECC Der 2] [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Bishop Burton [2019] ECC Yor 6 Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners have made out a case for their proposals and he accordingly granted a faculty for various building works. [Re All Saints Bishop Burton [2019] ECC Yor 6] [Back] [Top]

Re Christ Church Laxey [2019] EC Sodor 1 The Chancellor granted two faculty petitions which would allow the church to be used as a visitor centre as part of a heritage trail linking various historic sites in the village. [Re Christ Church Laxey [2018] ECC Sodor 1] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Mary Melton Mowbray [2019] ECC Lei 3 Chancellor, “with some hesitation”, granted a confirmatory faculty for unauthorized restoration work to the 17th century painting of the Royal Coat of Arms. [Re St. Mary Melton Mowbray [2019] ECC Lei 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael & All Angels Berwick [2019] ECC Chi 3 Chancellor granted faculty for restoration of and improvements to the Grade I listed church, including the retention of the front pipework of the old organ. [Re St. Michael & All Angels Berwick [2019] ECC Chi 3] [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Hooton Pagnell [2017] ECC She 1 Chancellor granted faculty for church to be restored to its former condition after unauthorized work undertaken; DCC to pay Registry costs and the costs of the DAC employing counsel to advise in the matter. [Re All Saints Hooton Pagnell [2017] ECC She 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter Church Lawford [2019] ECC Cov 4 Deputy Chancellor determined that Petitioners had shown good reason for the replacement of lead with terne-coated stainless steel; faculty granted. [Re St. Peter Church Lawford [2019] ECC Cov 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Margaret of Scotland Southsea [2019] ECC Por 1 By 2015 the condition and use of the early 20th century church required building to be temporarily closed for health and safety reasons and the congregation dispersed to other churches. New congregation formed in 2017, but more space required. Chancellor agreed to the removal of the majority of items in the petition (including the high altar and the font), but excluded the removal of the lectern, the Communion rails and the pulpit (with the associated memorial plaque). [Re St. Margaret of Scotland Southsea [2019] ECC Por 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael Llanyblodwel [2019] ECC Lic 6 Chancellor declined to approve a frameless glass door, but approved a wood-framed or metal-framed glass door of a design acceptable to the Diocesan Advisory Committee. [Re St. Michael Llanyblodwel [2019] ECC Lic 6] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael and All Angels Brimington [2019] ECC Der 5 The petitioners sought: (1) upgrading of the heating system, including demolishing a disused chimney stack; and (2) replacement of the pews with chairs. The Chancellor determined that the pews were not of major historic significance and that the needs of the worshipping congregation would be better served by modern, flexible seating, that would also allow wider use of the building by other groups and organisations. Faculty granted. [Re St. Michael and All Angels Brimington [2019] ECC Der 5] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Bartholomew Aldbrough [2019] ECC Yor 7 Petitioners sought to: reposition font and removal its plinth; and (2) remove eight pews. Chancellor regarded the pine pews as having no intrinsic significance in themselves. Faculty granted for all the works. [Re St. Bartholomew Aldbrough {2019] ECC Yor 7] [Back] [Top]

Re St. John the Baptist Bilborough [2019] ECC S&N 2 Petitioners sought to removethe black and white composite tiles, and lay of carpet; also replace pews with chairs; and removal of two prayer desks. Faculty granted for all the works (except for the removal of one of the prayer desks), providing for the chairs already in the church to be replaced with 110 Vesta stacking chairs, with chrome frames and upholstery in a pewter colour. [Re St. John the Baptist Bilborough [2019] ECC S&N 2] [Back] [Top]

The Holy Saviour Bitterne [2019] ECC Win 3 Extensive reordering was proposed, including an extension to the church; a mezzanine floor and glazed screen within the church; and the replacement of pews with wooden chairs. Four parties opponent and written objection, Victorian Society. Chancellor granted faculty subject to conditions: stone floor not be covered with wooden flooring, and the poppy-headed stalls to be retained. [Re The Holy Saviour Bitterne [2019] ECC Win 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Liss [2019] ECC Por 2 The petition granted for reordering of chancel, extending the chancel floor level into the nave and new altar rails. The Victorian Society objections. [Re St. Mary Liss [2019] ECC Por 2] [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Preston [2019] ECC Yor 10 The petitioners wished to construct a timber-framed, self-contained chapel, in the north aisle of the church, which could be heated economically, the replacement of the failed Victorian heating system being too costly. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the benefits would outweigh the harm to the special architectural and historic interest of the Grade I listed church. Also, the structure would not alter the fabric into which it was inserted and could be easily removed in the future. [Re All Saints Preston [2019] ECC Yor 10] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Saviour Upper Sunbury [2019] ECC Lon 1 The Chancellor granted a faculty for the demolition of unsightly temporary structures at the east end of the unlisted church and their replacement with permanent brick built structures to accommodate a commercial kitchen, a crèche, lavatories and a food bank. [Re St. Saviour Upper Sunbury [2019] ECC Lon 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary the Virgin Headley [2019] ECC Gui 3 Chancellor granted faculty for extension to church to provide a Church Room, Historic England and the Victorian Society having indicated that they had no objections to the proposal. [Re St. Mary the Virgin Headley [2019] ECC Gui 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Margaret Hornby [2019] ECC Bla 5 Petitioners wished to replace stolen roof lead and the remaining lead covering with a GRP (fibreglass) product. Chancellor took the view that the petitioners had failed to produce a clear, logical and convincing cased for the proposed works and he refused to grant a faculty. [Re St. Margaret Hornby [2019] ECC Bla 5] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Muchelney [2019] ECC B&W 2 Chancellor was satisfied that the provision of a disabled toilet was appropriate and that the location to the east of the north porch would be the least problematic within the site. He therefore granted a faculty. [Re St. Peter & St. Paul Muchelney [2019] ECC B&W 2] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Barbara Ashton-under-Hill [2019] ECC Wor 3 There was a proposal to install a toilet and kitchen facilities at the western end of the church, with associated water supply and drainage. Historic England did not support the kitchen proposals. Chancellor granted a faculty for the new toilet and associated water and drainage (to be treated as Phase 1), and considered that the parish should reconsider the remaining items (Phase 2). [Re St. Barbara Ashton-under-Hill [2019] ECC Wor 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Paul Quarndon [2019] ECC Der 8 The petitioners wished to replace the existing cast-iron sectional rainwater guttering of the church with continuous extruded black anodised aluminium, in order to prevent further water ingress to the church. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Building did not approve the use of aluminium. However, the Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re St. Paul Quarndon [2019] ECC Der 8] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Bridlington [2019] ECC Yor 9 The rector and churchwardens wished to remove to the diocesan furnishing store or to dispose of by sale the ebonised wooden altar cross (date of installation unknown) on the dossal shelf of the reredos. Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made out a case for their proposal, and he accordingly granted a faculty. [Re St. Mary Bridlington [2019] ECC Yor 9] [Back] [Top]

Removal and replacement of pews &c

Re Holy Trinity Sittingbourne [2018] ECC Can 1 Deputy Chancellor dismissed a petition for the removal from the Victorian church all the original pine pews and two clergy stalls, and their replacement with upholstered chairs. The bulk of the hoped-for benefits of the scheme could be met by something less than the complete removal of the pews. [Re Holy Trinity Sittingbourne [2018] ECC Can 1] [Back] [Top]

Re Holy Trinity Hastings [2019] ECC Chi 1 Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty for all the items aspects of reordering, including introduction of Alpha SB2M chairs, subject to two agreed amendments. [Re Holy Trinity Hastings [2019] ECC Chi 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Cuthbert Over Kellett [2019] ECC Bla 1 Chancellor granted faculty for removal and relocation of items of redundant furniture from Grade II* church, including a number of chairs, a litany desk and the pine pulpit. [Re St. Cuthbert Over Kellett [2019] ECC Bla 1] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Chad Longsdon [2019] ECC Lic 5* Chancellor refused faculty for introduction of sixteen upholstered Alpha A1LE chairs together with four dining tables into the north aisle of the church, but invited petitioners to consider alternative chairs in consultation with the Diocesan Advisory Committee. [Re St Chad, Longsdon [2019] Ecc Lic 5] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Battersea [2019] ECC Swk 4 Petitioners asked to consider alternative arrangements of lighting, and the favoured one involved four groups of five spotlights recessed into ‘rafts’ or slim panels suspended on wires close to the ceiling. The Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re St. Mary Battersea [2019] ECC Swk 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St. John the Baptist Royston [2019] ECC StA 1 Petitioners granted faculty for removal of the fire and water damaged pew platforms, disposal of the pews and a new floor. New seating to be subject of a separate petition. [Re St. John the Baptist Royston [2019] ECC StA 1] [Back] [Top]

Re All Hallows Bardsey [2019] ECC Lee 3 Faculty granted for removal of small number of pews and pew frontals from the Grade I church, installation of handrails and improvement of the lighting. Faculty conditional on arrangements for storage of frontals inside the church or elsewhere. [Re All Hallows Bardsey [2019] ECC Lee 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Nicholas North Stoneham [2019] ECC Win 2 PCC sought faculty for extensive repairs and reordering of the church, the only controversial items being replacement of the Bodley pews with upholstered, metal-framed chairs and the laying of carpet in the church nave. Whilst case made for replacement of pews with chairs, he had reservations about proposed metal chairs. Carpet approved as was a temporary measure. [Re St. Nicholas North Stoneham [2019] ECC Win 2] [Back] [Top]

St. Laurence Lighthorne [2019] ECC Cov 2 In 2017 an Archdeacon’s licence for temporary reordering was granted to allow the removal to storage of four pews and one pew frontal from the west end of the north side of the nave. Chancellor was satisfied that good reason had been shown to justify the proposal that the arrangement should be made permanent. Faculty granted. [Re St. Laurence Lighthorne [2019] ECC Cov 2][Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Aston Rowant [2019] ECC Oxf 3 As part of a scheme of reordering in 2011-2012, 30 red-upholstered chairs with black metal frames were introduced into the Lady Chapel of the Grade II* church without faculty consent. Chancellor granted a faculty for the chairs, but subject to a condition that within 5 years the petitioners should apply for a further faculty for “suitable and appropriate replacement chairs which respect the interior and significance of this Grade II* listed church”. [Re St. Peter & St. Paul Aston Rowant [2019] ECC Oxf 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Margaret of Antioch Toxteth [2019] ECC Liv 2 Chancellor concluded that the removal of pews would not result in any particular harm to the significance of the building and its special architectural or historic interest, and that there would be substantial benefits to the church. Faculty granted [Re St. Margaret of Antioch Toxteth [2019] ECC Liv 2] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Helens Parish Church [2019] ECC Liv 3 Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the removal of such a relatively small proportion of the pew seating would not cause great harm to the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest. [Re St. Helens Parish Church [2019] ECC Liv 3] [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Wellington [2019] ECC Lic 7 Chancellor was satisfied that a case had been made out for the removal of the front four rows of pews, but refused to approve replacement chairs with upholstered backs, which, in the red colour proposed, would create an adverse visual impact in front of the remaining pews. [Re All Saints Wellington [2019] ECC Lic 7] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Michael and All Angels Brimington [2019] ECC Der 5, v supra

Re All Saints Mickleover [2019] ECC Der 6 The petitioners sought to replace the pews with upholstered chairs; new floor coverings; a servery; and a disabled access toilet and baby-changing area. HE objections. Faculty granted providing that stackable chairs were Howe 40/4 un-upholstered chairs; two back nave pews to be put into storage. [Re All Saints Mickleover [2019] ECC Der 6] [Back] [Top]

See Re St. John the Baptist Bilborough supra.

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Church Treasures/Sale of Paintings &c/Loans

Church Treasures/Sale of Paintings &c/Loans – [1]

Re All Saints Kirk Hallam [2019] ECC Der 7 PiC and churchwardens wished to transfer permanently to the Erewash Museum the remains of a corroded wrought iron ‘Anglo-Saxon sword/weaving-batten’. Chancellor determined that the item, once removed from the ground, became a ‘moveable’ of the church and, as such, legally vested in the churchwardens; however, it was not a ‘church treasure’, as defined by the Court of Arches. Faculty granted. [Re All Saints Kirk Hallam [2019] ECC Der 7] [Back] [Top]

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Audio Visual Equipment

Audio Visual Equipment – [1]

Re St. Andrew Farnham [2019] ECC Gui 1 Historic England unhappy about proposals to install new audio-visual equipment: screens in the aisles, fixed to the pillars, and replacement loudspeakers. Chancellor was satisfied with need for the equipment; agreed to proposals, subject to conditions. [Re St. Andrew Farnham [2019] ECC Gui 1] [Back] [Top].

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments]


Telecommunications

Telecommunications – [2]

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Burton Pidsea [2019] ECC Yor 4 The Chancellor granted a faculty to permit NET Coverage Solutions Ltd (“NCS”) assign its 20-year licence with the PCC to a company called Shared Access (“SA”), subject to conditions. [Re St. Peter & St. Paul Burton Pidsea [2019] ECC Yor 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Shorne [2019] ECC Roc 4 Chancellor determined that the petitioners had, to a certain extent, acted unreasonably in the matter. He directed that the party opponent’s costs be reduced by 10% and that half the reduced amount of costs should be paid by the petitioners. [Re St. Peter & St. Paul Shorne [2019] ECC Roc 4] [Back] [Top].

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Exhumation

Problems of access

Re All Saints Sutton Courtenay [2019] ECC Oxf 2 Faculty granted for disinterment of remains of petitioner’s great-great-grandparents, because an extension of the church would result in paths on three sides with potential for people taking a short cut over the grave to the entrance to the extension. [Re All Saints Sutton Courtenay [2019] ECC Oxf 2] [Back] [Top]

Family graves

Re the Cremated Remains of AA [2018] ECC Lic 7 A faculty was granted for the exhumation of AA’s cremated remains and their re-interment in another churchyard. Judgment turned on the distress caused to the parties concerned and not directly on the alleged paedophilia per se. [Re the Cremated Remains of AA [2018] ECC Lic 7] [Link to post] [Back][Top].

Re St. Andrew Ham [2019] ECC Swk 1 Chancellor granted faculty for on the occasion of the first of them to die, to have their ashes interred in the reserved grave in the Kingston General Cemetery, and to have their daughter’s ashes exhumed from the churchyard at Ham and interred in the same grave. [Re St. Andrew Ham [2019] ECC Swk 1] [Back] [Top].

Re Landican Cemetery [2019] ECC Chr 2* Chancellor refused permission for exhumation of remains of petitiner’s still-born son, have the remains cremated and the ashes placed in a designated rose garden area at Landican Cemetery. [Re Landican Cemetery [2019] ECC Chr 2] [Back] [Top]

Re St. James Shaftesbury [2019] ECC Sal 1* Chancellor refused petition for exhumation to cremated remains of petitioner’s mother from grave of her parents in one part of the churchyard and reinterred with the remains of the petitioners’ father in another part of the same churchyard. Re St. James Shaftesbury [2019] ECC Sal 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. John the Baptist Felixstowe [2019] ECC SEI 2 Petitioner wished to exhume her husband’s ashes, and after her death to have his ashes and her own ashes scattered on the seashore in Felixstowe. Ii the very special circumstances of the case, the Chancellor detemined to treat this as an exceptional situation where he felt justified in granting a faculty. [Re St. John the Baptist Felixstowe [2019] ECC SEI 2] [Back] [Top].

Errors in burial

Re Middlewich Cemetery [2019] ECC Chr 1* Although burial authority admitted an oversight in allowing the burial of the remains of the aunt and uncle without A’s consent, Chancellor determined not to grant a faculty for exhumation. [Re Middlewich Cemetery [2019] ECC Chr 1] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Paul Rusthall [2019] ECC Roc 1 Faculty granted to permit petitioner to exhume cremated remains of his father and reinter them in the same churchyard in the grave of his mother, who died after his father. There had been an innocent mistake on the part of the retired priest, and further that there was a misunderstanding by all the family, amounting to a mistake, as to what they could or could not do. [Re St. Paul Rusthall [2019] ECC Roc 1] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Nicholas Charlwood [2019] ECC Swk 2 Deputy Chancellor considered guiding principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299 and concluded that this was an exceptional case where exhumation should be allowed. She was persuaded “there was a fundamental mistake of intention in this case … For a family of conscientious atheists, Christian burial was not the right choice”.

Re Tunbridge Wells Cemetery [2019] ECC Roc 5 Chancellor decided that there were exceptional circumstances arising from the errors in burial which justified the grant of a faculty for the two exhumations and re-interments. [Re Tunbridge Wells Cemetery [2019] ECC Roc 5] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Nicholas Charlwood [2019] ECC Swk 2 Deputy Chancellor considered guiding principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299 and concluded that this was an exceptional case where exhumation should be allowed. She was persuaded “there was a fundamental mistake of intention in this case … For a family of conscientious atheists, Christian burial was not the right choice”. [Re St. Nicholas Charlwood [2019] ECC Swk 2] [Back] [Top].

Re Great Ness Cemetery [2019] ECC Lic 8 The Chancellor determined that errors by the burial companywere exceptional circumstances to justify him granting a faculty as requested. [Re Great Ness Cemetery [2019] ECC Lic 8] [Back] [Top].

Re Cheshunt Cemetery (No. 3) [2019] ECC StA 2 Chancellor determined that there had been a fundamental mistake of fact on the part of the atheist petitioners as to the nature of the plot in which they agreed to have the ashes of their baby interred, and he granted a faculty for exhumation and re-interment. [Re Cheshunt Cemetery (No. 3) [2019] ECC StA 2] [Back] [Top]

Re All Hallows Ordsall [2019] ECC S&N 1 Confirmatory faculty granted re cremated remains which had already been exhumed (with a view to their subsequently being scattered) following irregular issue of a MoJ licence. [Re All Hallows Ordsall [2019] ECC S&N 1] [Back] [Top]

Re Patricia Bessie Sharp deceased [2019] ECC Por 3 Chancellor was satisfied that a genuine mistake had been made in allocation of wrong grave number, which could be regarded as an exception to the presumption of permanence of burial. Faculty granted for exhumation and re-interment. [Re Patricia Bessie Sharp deceased [2019] ECC Por 3] [Back] [Top]

Other

Re All Saints West Bromwich [2019] ECC Lic 1 Faculty granted for exhumation of cremated remains buried very close to a sewer running through the churchyard, in advance of repair work. [Re All Saints West Bromwich [2019] ECC Lic 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. John’s Cemetery Elswick [2018] ECC New 4 The Chancellor permitted temporary disinterment of the remains and sampling of bone fragments for DNA analysis, to establish whether there was a possibility of a miscarriage of justice. [Re St. John’s Cemetery Elswick [2018] ECC New 4] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Michael & All Angels Adbaston [2019] ECC Lic 4 The Chancellor decided that the circumstance in which the petitioner’s father’s remains had been interred, combined with her mother’s expressed hope that her husband’s remains could in due course be moved so that she and he could be in the same plot, amounted to exceptional circumstances allowing him to grant a faculty for exhumation. [Re St. Michael and All Angels Adbaston [2019] ECC Lic 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St. James Bulkington [2019] ECC Cov 3* Chancellor, applying the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, could not find sufficient exceptional grounds in this case to justify the grant of a faculty. [Re St. James Bulkington [2019] ECC Cov 3] [Back] [Top]

Re Clayton Cemetery Bradford [2019] ECC Lee 2 The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of her brother, Colin Berry, exhumed from Clayton Cemetery and reinterred in Queensbury Cemetery, where the Berry family had exclusive burial rights in two adjacent plots. Mr. Berry had died of a gunshot wound during a police raid in 2013. Following his death there had been a lack of communication between Mr. Berry’s widow and the Mr. Berry’s own relatives. Shortly after the death, Mr. Berry’s widow moved away without paying the funeral bill from her husband’s estate, and attempts to trace her had failed. The Chancellor found that there were exceptional circumstances in which to authorise exhumation, but the faculty was to be subject to a condition that the area for reinterment in Queensbury Cemetery should first be consecrated (to which the Bishop and Bradford City Council had agreed), before the remains were reinterred there, in order that the Court could maintain jurisdiction in the unlikely event of Mr. Berry’s widow subsequently seeking to set aside the Chancellor’s decision. [Re Clayton Cemetery Bradford [2019] ECC Lee 2] [Back] [Top]

Re Lambeth Cemetery [2019] ECC Swk 5 Faculty granted for exhumation from the consecrated part of Lambeth Cemetery the remains of petitioners Taoist father, interred in 1987. Exceptional circumstances shown for justifying the grant of faculty. [Re Lambeth Cemetery [2019] ECC Swk 5] [Back] [Top]

Re George Henry Humphreys deceased [2019] ECC Man 1* Chancellor could find no exceptional circumstances to justify embarking from the general principle that burial should be regarded as permanent. He observed that the Petitioner’s mother had chosen to have her husband’s remains interred at Dean and had regularly visited the grave there until her death; also did not wish to allow this application would be to approve a practice of regarding cremated remains as ‘portable’ and that to do so would encourage such applications, which I am not willing to do”. [Re George Henry Humphreys deceased [2019] ECC Man 1] [Back] [Top]

In the Matter of SMF deceased [2019] ECC Lee 4* Chancellor refused permission for exhumation of ashes with a view to using small quantity for processing into stone to be placed in a ring setting. [In the Matter of SMF deceased [2019] ECC Lee 4] [Post] [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Freshwater [2019] ECC Por 4 Five applications to exhume human remains as graves undermined by collapse of badger sett following heavy rains. Faculty granted. [Re All Saints Freshwater [2019] ECC Por 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Nicholas East Dereham [2019] ECC Nor 2*Chancellor could find no justification for allowing the exhumation and reinterment of the child’s remains as proposed, but granted a faculty authorising exhumation, provided that permission could be obtained for the remains of the child and both parents to be interred in the churchyard of the church where mother’s funeral had been conducted or in some other consecrated ground. [Re St. Nicholas East Dereham [2019] ECC Nor 2] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Oswald Filey [2019] ECC Yor 8 During the parish priest’s absence, whilst attending a course, a burial took place in the closed churchyard. Prior to his absence, the priest had told the funeral director and the family that a burial could not take place, unless in accordance with one of the exceptions in the Order in Council closing the churchyard for burials, namely: (1) where a grave had been reserved by faculty; (2) where a person could be buried in the same grave as a relative. (Also, cremated remains can be buried in a closed churchyard.) The funeral director arranged for the deceased to be buried next to the deceased’s brother in a tight space between two graves. The Chancellor determined that the interment was unlawful, and could not be made lawful retrospectively by the Ministry of Justice or the court, but he decided that no action should be taken to disturb the burial or to refer the matter for police investigation. [Back] [Top]

Re Sutton Cemetery [2019] ECC Swk 6 The petitioner wished to exhume the cremated remains of his late wife from Sutton Cemetery and reinter them at the North East Surrey Crematorium in Morden. He had agreed to his wife’s ashes being interred at Sutton in the grave of his wife’s mother and grandmother. The Petitioner expected that he too could have his ashes buried with those of his wife in due course. However, owing to a rift between the petitioner and his wife’s sisters, the sisters would not agree to the petitioner’s ashes being buried with those of his wife. The Chancellor decided that this was an exceptional case where he could grant a faculty for exhumation and reinterment, so that the petitioner’s ashes could be buried in the same grave as the ashes of his wife in due time. [Re Sutton Cemetery [2019] ECC Swk 6] [Back] [Top]

Re Gravesend Cemetery [2019] ECC Roc 6* A husband and wife sought permission to exhume the cremated remains of the wife’s father (“the deceased”), who died in 1982, from the consecrated part of Gravesend Cemetery with a view to the remains being scattered in the Thames View Crematorium along with the cremated remains of the deceased’s late wife, who had recently died. The Chancellor could find no special circumstance which would justify him in granting a faculty. [Re Gravesend Cemetery [2019] ECC Roc 6] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Bartholomew Naunton Beauchamp [2019] ECC Wor 5 The petitioner wished to have the ashes of her mother exhumed and scattered over the hills north of Newtown in Powys. The ashes had been buried in the churchyard at Naunton Beauchamp, at the insistence of the petitioner’s former sister-in-law. All the deceased’s other children recalled their mother expressing a wish to have her ashes scattered in Wales, and they supported the petitioner’s wish. Whilst accepting that this was a borderline case for allowing an exhumation as an exception to the general rule against disturbing human remains, the Chancellor decided to grant a faculty to the petitioner: ‘ … whilst it is “generally” right that mourners should learn to let go, it appears that she will be unable to do so until her mother’s ashes have been scattered as proposed; only then, it seems to me, will she be able to recover her psychological and spiritual health. [Re St. Bartholomew Naunton Beauchamp [2019] ECC Wor 5] [Back] [Top]

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Churchyards and burials

Development of churchyard

Re Plumpton with East Chiltington cum Novington [2018] ECC Chi 3* Rector and Churchwardens sought confirmatory faculty to allow the retention of several grave markers and other items which have been introduced without lawful authority. In a robust judgment, the Chancellor granted a faculty with conditions requiring that several items should be removed from graves in the two churchyards. [Re Plumpton with East Chiltington] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary the Virgin Goosnargh [2019] ECC Bla 2 Faculty granted for extension to existing churchyard path to facilitate access to an existing wooden bench in wet weather when the ground becomes very wet. [Re St. Mary the Virgin Goosnargh [2019] ECC Bla 2] [Back] [Top].

Re St. Philip & St. Jacob Bristol [2019] ECC Bri 1 Faculty approved for grant a licence to a company to use part of the churchyard for temporary site offices and car parking, and to allow the fitting of electronically-controlled access gates. Also disposal of some items of church furniture, which had been in storage for 10 years.. [Re St. Philip & St. Jacob Bristol [2019] ECC Bri 1] [Back] [Top]

St. Mary & St. Ethelburga Lyminge [2019] ECC Can 1 Chancellor satisfied that the improvement of the paths would enhance the churchyard, and also examining, recording and securing for the future archaeological remains of national and possible international significance justified the granting of a faculty. [Re St. Mary & St. Ethelburga Lyminge [2019] ECC Can 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Bartholomew Failand [2019] ECC B&W 1 The Rector and churchwardens wished to replace the gravel in churchyard. Chancellor was concerned that “Indian sandstone blends less comfortably with the weathered stone of the church”. He therefore granted a faculty subject to a condition that Forest of Dean or Welsh Pennant stone should be used. [Re St. Bartholomew Failand [2019] ECC B&W 1][Back] [Top]

Designation of closed churchyard

St Edward The Confessor Churchyard, Burgess Hill Included in the meeting of the Privy Council at Buckingham Palace on 8 October was an Order detailing the closure of the St Edward The Confessor Churchyard, Burgess Hill. The item is self-explanatory and is reproduced here.

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Churchyard Regulations

Re St. Philip & St. James Hallow [2018] ECC Wor 4* Chancellor refused to grant a faculty as requested, but said that he would approve the upright memorial element of the proposal. [Re SS. Philip & James Hallow [2018] ECC Wor 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St James, Bulkington [2019] ECC Cov 1* Deputy Chancellor did not approve the memorial design as proposed as many aspects were outwith diocesan churchyard regulations; however, within context of other proximate memorials, he indicated that a faculty would be granted, subject to the approval of incumbent and PCC, and ratification by the court allowing certain elements of the proposal. [Re St. James Bulkington [2019] ECC Cov 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Laurence Scalby [2019] ECC Yor 3 Chancellor authorised the setting aside of an area for cremated remains in the churchyard extension and to authorise a variation of the standard churchyards regulations. [Re St. Laurence Scalby [2019] ECC Yor 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Matthew Worthington [2019] ECC Lei 2* The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for a memorial which was outside the diocesan churchyards regulations in a number of aspects, including: the design in the shape of a double heart; the stone wider than the maximum permitted under the regulations; polished blue granite; a green and white floral motif. [Re St. Matthew Worthington [2019] ECC Lei 2] [Back] [Top]

Re St. James Bulkington [2018] ECC Cov 8 The petitioner wished to introduce into the churchyard a memorial, several features of the which were outside the churchyards regulations. Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty allowing some of these features. [Re St. James Bulkington [2018] ECC Cov 8] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Alban Wickersley [2019] ECC She 3 Chancellor ordered removal of memorial, as agreed between the stonemason and the party opponent, and replaced by a new memorial at the expense of the stonemason. The stonemason was ordered to pay part of the Diocesan Registry costs and part of the party opponent’s solicitors’ costs. [Re St. Alban Wickersley [2019] ECC She 3] [Back] [Top]

Re All Saints Rettendon [2019] ECC Chd 1 The petitioners wished to erect in the churchyard a memorial to their late mother including inter alia a bird bath and inscribed with the words: “The goat’s milk is sour.” The Deputy Chancellor decided in the particular circumstances that it was appropriate to grant a faculty. [Re All Saints Rettendon [2019] ECC Chd 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. James Ravenfield [2019] ECC She 2 Chancellor considered it arguable, given the location of the cube memorial, that the addition of the kerb sets would both improve the appearance of the grave and ease its maintenance. She therefore granted a faculty. [Re St. James Ravenfield [2019] ECC She 2] [Back] [Top]

St. Andrew Chinnor [2019] ECC Oxf 4 Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty a ‘desk type’ ledger stone since: there was nothing offensive about such ledger stones which populate the particular area of the churchyard; there were already several examples of the type of stone in that area; and he was concerned that the church should be seen to be acting consistently towards applicants. [Re St. Andrew Chinnor [2019] ECC Oxf 4] [Post] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Laurence Ansley [2019] ECC Cov 5 The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposal for creamted remains, but the Chancellor was satisfied that there was a problem which needed to be addressed, and he therefore granted a faculty. [Re St. Laurence Ansley [2019] ECC Cov 5] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Denys Stanford in the Vale [2019] ECC Oxf 1* Chancellor refused permission for re-location of headstone by a small distance sideways. Vicar was entitled to require such uniformity of alignment of monuments as he thought fit, within the parameters of the churchyard regulations. [Re St. Denys Stanford in the Vale [2019] ECC Oxf 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Paul Quarndon [2019] ECC Der 4 Chancellor granted a faculty on the basis that it would be unreasonable and discriminatory towards the family concerned if a faculty were refused when there were already so many black granite memorials in the churchyard. [Re St. Paul Quarndon [2019] ECC Der 4] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Syderstone [2019] ECC Nor 1 The incumbent refused to approve the use of the words “Dad” and “Grandad” in the inscription for a memorial, the reason given being that the parochial church councils of the benefice had agreed, in a written policy, that (inter alia) only the words “Father” and “Grandfather” should be used on memorials. The Chancellor could find no real justification for this policy and granted a faculty to authorise the use of the words “Dad” and “Grandad”, which she did not find objectionable. (Although not a reason for the decision, it is noted in the judgment that 15 inscriptions on memorials in the churchyard used the words “Dad” or “Grandad” and there were 12 examples which showed use of female equivalents, such as “Mum” or “Nan”.) [Re St. Mary Syderstone [2019] ECC Nor 1] [Back] [Top]

Re Holy Rood Bagworth [2019] ECC Lei 6 The Commonwealth Graves Commission applied for permission to erect in the churchyard a War Grave memorial to a soldier who died in 1918 of a disease acquired in France, whilst on active service. The exact position of his grave in the churchyard was unknown. But the Chancellor agreed to grant a faculty for the erection of the memorial. [Re Holy Rood Bagworth [2019] ECC Lei 6] [Back] [Top]

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Reservation of grave space

Re St. Benedict Biscop Wombourne [2019] ECC Lic 2* Petitioner sought to reserve remaining two shelves of family vault for the burial of himself and his fiancée. Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, but directed that (a) marrying into the family grants eligibility of buried in the vault; (b) interment includes placing of cremated remains in the vault; and (c) cremated remains of more than one person may be placed on each shelf in the vault.” [Re St. Benedict Biscop Wombourne [2019] ECC Lic 2] [Back] [Top]

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Trees

Re St. Edmund Fraisthorpe [2019] ECC Yor 1 Faculty granted for felling two sycamore trees in the closed churchyard. [Re St. Edmund Fraisthorpe [2019] ECC Yor 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Mary Mapledurwell [2019] ECC Win 1 Chancellor granted a confirmatory faculty re: five yew trees, a conifer and a holly had been felled without the authority of a faculty, conditional on new native trees to be planted; Chancellor Ormondroyd critical of “simply … unacceptable” actions of churchwarden. Judgment to be circulated to parishes. [Re St. Mary Mapledurwell [2019] ECC Win 1] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Peter West Blatchington [2019] ECC Chi 4 The churchwardens sought a faculty to authorise the felling of a Scots Pine tree. Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a condition that a replacement tree of a species approved by the archdeacon should be planted during the current or next growing season at a location approved by the archdeacon. [Re St. Peter West Blatchington [2019] ECC Chi 4] [Post] [Back] [Top]

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Organs

Organs – [3]

Re St. Bartholomew Orford [2018] ECC SEI 3 DAC concerned about possible impact of the organ in the church, due to its large size and modern casing. English Heritage had reservations about the proposed organ, but the Church Buildings Council supported project. Deputy Chancellor decided there was a clear and convincing justification for the installation of the organ and granted a faculty. [Re St. Bartholomew Orford [2018] ECC SEI 3] [Back] [Top]

Re St. Giles Skelton [2019] ECC Yor 5 Chancellor was satisfied that a good case had been made for the replacement of the pipe organ with electronic organ and he granted a faculty. [Re St. Giles Skelton [2019] ECC Yor 5] [Back] [Top]

Re St. James Heckmondwike [2019] ECC Lee Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty for removal of pipe organ (1878), leaving the front of the casing and its decorative pipes, and to install an electronic organ within the old casing. Issue with objectors use of Facebook. [Re St. James Heckmondwike [2019] ECC Lee] [Back] [Top]

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Fonts

See Re St. Bartholomew Aldbrough [2019] ECC Yor 7, supra.

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [Top]


Bells

Bells – [1]

Re All Saints Preston [2019] ECC Bla 4 Blackburn Diocesan Board of Finance wished to transfer to Lancashire Museum Services a bell from the church, which had been closed four years previously. Chancellor made an order that the bell should be transferred to the Museum on loan for an interim period expiring on 31 December 2021. Three months before the expiry of the period, CKRT should submit written proposals for the bell for a further decision by the Chancellor. In the absence of any proposals, the bell should remain permanently with the Museum. [Re St. James Church Kirk [2019] ECC Bla 4] [Back] [Top]

[2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments]


Links to other posts

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

Telecommunications

Exhumation

Churchyards

General/Miscellaneous


CDM


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.

Navigation

  • 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 neutral citation in the title will link to the L&RUK summary of the case.
  • “Link to ELA judgment” provides a link to the relevant category of judgment on the website of the Ecclesiastical Law Association;
  • “Link to post” is used where there is a stand-alone post on the general issues raised in the judgment.

Citation of judgments

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.

Note: We have been informed that the neutral citation for Re Christ Church Laxey [2018] ECC IOM 1 has been changed; the correct citation is now Re Christ Church Laxey [2018] ECC Sodor 1; all references to the case on L&RUK have been changed accordingly.

Note

The photographs used in this post do not necessarily relate to the cases discussed.

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