Links to materials on “church treasures”

This post include links to:

relating to “church treasures”, on which a further post is in preparation.

Consistory court judgments

  • Re St Andrew, Thornhaugh [1975] Peterborough Const. Ct., T.R. Fitzwalter Butler Ch.. Sale of the “Russell Helmet”.
  • Re St James the Great, Gretton, [1990] Ely Const. Ct. Coningsby Ch. Disposal of a pair of silver gilt flagons*.
  • Re St. Mary the Virgin Burton Latimer [1995] Peterborough Const. Ct, Thomas Coningsby Ch. (Peterborough). Permission refused for sale of Georgian silver flagon and matching alms dish dated 1774, a silver chalice and paten dated 1570 and the surviving part of an illuminated medieval missal.
  • Re St. Mary the Virgin Burton Latimer [1995] Court of Arches (Peterborough). Appeal dismissed for the reasons given by the Chancellor in his judgment: the application to sell the silver was premature; there was no immediate financial crisis; planning permission had not yet been obtained; there had not yet been any appeal for funds.*
  • Re St. Peter Shaldon [2002] Exeter Const. Ct, Sir David Calcutt Ch. In spite of reservations by a few parishioners, the Chancellor approved the acceptance of a gift of a silver chalice and paten in memory of a former regular worshipper at the church.
  • Re St Peter’s, Draycott, [2009] Fam 93. Appeal granted against Petitioners’ use  of the proceeds of sale of the Burges font to defray these and other maintenance costs.
  • Re Welland St. James [2011] Worcester Const. Ct, Mynors Ch. Faculty granted authorizing the disposal by auction sale of two items of silverware.
  • In re St Ebbe with Holy Trinity and St Peter-le-Bailey, Oxford [2012] PTSR 235. Pair of wooden chests, one a rare 13th century elm coffer, “sold” at auction without the necessary authorisation and further “sold” on; without faculty authorization “no legal ownership … passed to any subsequent possessors.”
  • Re St Lawrence Wootton [2013] Winchester Const. Ct, Christopher Harvey Clark Ch.* PCC was short of funds and wished to sell the armet;  consent of heirs at law was obtained. The Chancellor decided that financial justification for sale was proved by the Petitioners, and granted a faculty. [Overturned by Arches Court]
  • Re St. Mary the Virgin Selling [2013] Canterbury Const Ct, Ellis Comm. Gen. Faculty granted for the sale to the National Maritime Museum of two flags taken from the Battle of Trafalgar, one a Union Flag from HMS Minotaur, the other an Austrian ensign believed to have been taken from the Spanish ship Neptuno.
  • Re St Mary, Bourne Street [2013] London Const. Ct, Gau Dep. Ch. An application for sale of High Mass sets of vestments – a red set, a green set and a gold set – based solely on matters of aesthetics: “to the untutored eye might be deemed sumptuous even to the most jaded of Spanish Cardinals”.
  • Re St. Lawrence Oakley with Wootton St. Lawrence [2014] Court of Arches, reviewed in our post Sale of “Church Treasures”, the “Wootton St Lawrence Armet”. Arches Court allowed appeal against sale. (14 April 2014)*.
  • Re St Mary Magdalene, South Bersted [2014] Chichester Const. Ct, Hill Ch. Petitioners sought permissions for removal and disposal of a number of redundant or dilapidated items. The issue of chattels vs treasure is discussed.
  • In re St John the Baptist, Penshurst [2015] Court of Arches. Arches Court permitted relocation and modification of chancel screen for use in another church, despite challenge by Victorian Society.
  • Re Holy Cross Scopwick [2015] Mark Bishop Ch. (Lincoln). Petition for removal and disposal of a bell by way of a sale through the Keltek Trust. Court granted permission for bell to be removed to the diocesan store.
  • Re St. James the Great Flockton [2016] ECC Lee 4. A decluttering exercise by the church; however, none of the items amounted to a “church treasure”.
  • Re Coombes Parish Church [2016] ECC Chi 5. Following its theft and return, an interim faculty was granted for the safe keeping of the Coombes corpus. The Court subsequently granted permission for a long-term loan to Chichester Cathedral – 10 years, renewable – subject to agreement between the parties involved.
  • Re St James Church Kirk [2019] ECC Bla 4 which involved an initially interim loan of a much older but unringable bell from a closed church to Lancashire Museum Services.
  • Re a redundant church bell,  [2021] ECC Oxf 11. Court considered petition for retention at ground floor level of a redundant bell. Judgment anonymized on security grounds.
  • Re Jesus College Cambridge¸ [2022] Ely 2. Rustat memorial judgment.
  • Re St James Church Kirk [2022] ECC Bla 3. Removal of a ring of eight bells at the closed church at Over Kellet to another church in the diocese.

L&RUK posts


Issues relating to “church treasures” are covered extensively in Charles Mynors’ book Changing Churches, Bloomsbury (2016) pp 344-352, and in Professor Mark Hill’s Ecclesiastical Law (4th Edition) pp 242-244.


In parallel with the considerations of the sale and disposal of “church treasures” in the consistory courts, the Church Buildings Council has issued:

As noted earlier, although CBC guidance notes are issued under statutory authority, individual notes are not documents with statutory authority as they themselves have not been approved by General Synod or Parliament. Nevertheless, Chancellors are required to give them “appropriate weight” in their deliberations.


* Large file, linked to Ecclesiastical Law Association web pages.

Post last updated, 18:47 on 27 August 2022.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Links to materials on “church treasures”" in Law & Religion UK, 25 August 2022,


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