Ecclesiastical Court judgments 2023

Summaries of ecclesiastical court judgments reviewed during 2023, and links to annual reviews for previous years

During 2023, our monthly round-ups reviewed over 110 consistory court judgments, and these featured:

Also reported were CDM Decisions and Safeguarding, Reports from the Independent Reviewer, Privy Council BusinessVisitations and CFCE Determinations, as well as links to other posts relating to ecclesiastical law.


Reordering, extensions and other building works

Substantial reordering [3]

Re St. George the Martyr Preston [2023] ECC Bla 2 Extensive reordering works were proposed. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had shown a sufficient justification for the works and he granted a faculty. [Re St. George the Martyr Preston [2023] ECC Bla 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Michael le Belfrey York [2023] ECC Yor 2 The Chancellor granted a faculty petition contained plans for a major reordering, estimated to cost £10M (of which £8M was already obtained or pledged). The Chancellor found there to be exceptional levels of public benefit to be derived from the works and compelling reasons to permit the works, notwithstanding the loss of historic fabric and fittings, in order to enable this vibrant and thriving church to meet its missional objectives. [Re St. Michael le Belfrey York [2023] ECC Yor 2] [Video] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Anselm Kennington Cross [2023] ECC Swk6 The petition proposed a reordering, the main item of which was to construct a ‘tower’ three storey structure at the east end of the church. The Chancellor granted a faculty for all the items, except for the moving of the font. [Re St. Anselm Kennington Cross [2023] ECC Swk6] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Reordering and alternative uses [14]

Re St. Mary Boxford [2023] ECC SEI 1 A number of works of reordering were proposed: an objector’s main issue was to the introduction of the aumbry. The Chancellor determined that the objector’s arguments on procedural or doctrinal grounds were wrong and he therefore granted a faculty. [Re St. Mary Boxford [2023] ECC SEI 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Newchurch-in-Pendle [2023] ECC Bla 1 Several items of reordering were proposed. Notwithstanding concerns raised by the Georgian Society regarding some of the pews to be removed and the proposed relocation of the font, the Chancellor granted a faculty for all the works. [Re St. Mary Newchurch-in-Pendle [2023] ECC Bla 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 1 The Petitioners sought to introduce a new altar frontal, based on a Progress Pride image with a white cross upon it. The Deputy Chancellor determined that three of the objectors had a sufficient interest. [Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 2] [Post] [Top of section] [Top]

Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 2 Further to Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 1, subsequent correspondence required the Chancellor to reconsider whether one of the three had a sufficient interest. He determined to give the person concerned a short period in which to provide further information before the Chancellor made a decision. [Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 2] [Post] [Top of section] [Top]

Re St. Hilda Hunts Cross [2023] ECC Liv 1 Faculty granted for removal of fifteen free-standing pews from the unlisted Victorian church and replace them with timber framed upholstered chairs. [Re St. Hilda Hunts Cross [2023] ECC Liv 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Luton [2023] ECC StA 3 The Chancellor granted permission for the replacement  of pink padded oak chairs in the nave of the Grade I church with Alpha SB2M metal-framed chairs with dark grey upholstery. She concluded that the benefits of the new chairs would outweigh any minimal harm to the interior of the church and accordingly granted a faculty. [Re St. Mary Luton [2023] ECC StA 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. John the Evangelist Killingworth [2023] ECC New 2. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made out a good case for the proposals for several items of reordering and he therefore granted a faculty. [Re St. John the Evangelist Killingworth [2023] ECC New 2] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

Re St. Leonard Hythe [2023] ECC Can 2 The petitioner applied for a restoration order in respect of a portable altar which had been used on the chancel steps at the head of the nave. The Commissary General disagreed and dismissed the petitioner’s application. [Re St. Leonard Hythe [2023] ECC Can 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Leonard Hythe [2023] EACC 1 In Re St. Leonard Hythe [2023] ECC Can 2, the petitioner had applied for a restoration order in respect of an altar which had been moved to the head of the nave, on the basis that no lawful authority had been granted for such use. The Commissary General had dismissed the petitioner’s application. The petitioner applied for leave to appeal. The Dean of the Arches refused to grant leave to appeal. [Re St. Leonard Hythe [2023] EACC 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Ingleton [2023] ECC Lee 2 A faculty had been granted for some reordering work, but subsequently, letter of objection received after  expiry of time for objections. To ensure justice to all concerned, the Chancellor therefore set aside his decision pending consideration of the objection. Faculty granted. [Re St. Mary Ingleton [2023] ECC Lee 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Peter Bishop’s Waltham [2023] ECC Por 1 The parish sought permission for the removal of most of the remaining pews, in order to create more flexible and informal spaces for family, musical and other activities. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case and he granted a faculty. Any replacement seating would have to be approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee. [Re St. Peter Bishop’s Waltham [2023] ECC Por 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Paul East Molesey [2023] ECC Gui 5 The petition contained a number of reordering proposals.  There was an objection to the moving of the war memorial, in order to unblock the original north porchway and create a better access to the parish room. The Chancellor determined that there was a strong justification for the proposals, and he granted a faculty. [Re St. Paul East Molesey [2023] ECC Gui 5] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re All Saints Stanton [2023] ECC SEI 2 Several items of reordering were proposed. The Chancellor was satisfied that the benefit of the changes would outweigh any harm to the church, and he granted a faculty. [Re All Saints Stanton [2023] ECC SEI 2] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary the Virgin Stebbing [2023] ECC Chd 2 Various items of reordering of the church were proposed. Several concerns and objections had been expressed by the statutory consultees, and revisions to the plans had been made. The Chancellor granted a faculty based on the revised proposals. The judgment contains some advice to petitioners in general concerning adequate consultation with the statutory consultees and the preparation of clear plans and specifications, particularly where plans and specifications have been amended. [Re St. Mary the Virgin Stebbing [2023] ECC Chd 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Other building works, including re-roofing [12]

Re St. James Uldale [2023] ECC Lon 1 Notwithstanding the advice of the CBC in relation to upholstered chairs, the Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty for various building works, including the replacement of the existing pews with chairs; levelling and replacement of the nave floor; replacement of carpet in the chancel; and relocation of the font. The Deputy Chancellor was satisfied as to the desirability and suitability of all the works and granted a faculty.  that upholstered chairs were not suitable in a church, the Deputy Chancellor approved chairs upholstered in a colour (a dull sandstone) which would blend in with the interior stonework of the church. [Re St. James Uldale [2022] ECC Car 5] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Holy Cross Bearsted [2023] ECC Can 1 The Commissary General granted a faculty for the replacement of the remaining fixed pews with chairs (some pews having been replaced with chairs in 2011) and minor making good to the floor. [Re Holy Cross Bearsted [2023] ECC Can 1] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

Re St. Peter Chertsey [2023] ECC Gui 1 Several items of internal reordering were proposed, in order to provide a flexible space for worship and for a variety of uses, both for the church community and wider community. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the proposed chairs, as well as for the other items referred to in the petition. [Re St. Peter Chertsey [2023] ECC Gui 1] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

Re St. Mary the Virgin Wheatley (No. 2) [2023] ECC Oxf 3 This judgment is a sequel to the judgment in Re St. Mary the Virgin Wheatley [2021] ECC Oxf 8 which related to several items of reordering. The Chancellor did not consider that the petitioners had made out a sufficiently convincing justification for not reusing the Victorian tiles. He refused to grant a faculty for an all stone floor, but gave permission for the salvaged tiles to be re-laid with reproduction tiles, so as to preserve to a large extent the design of the Victorian tiled area of the nave. [Re St. Mary the Virgin Wheatley (No. 2) [2023] ECC Oxf 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Ecclesfield [2023] ECC She 2 The petitioners sought to create a prayer chapel in the north transept of the church by moving to the centre a stored medieval stone mensa resting on a stone base. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the works did not affect the church as a building of special historical or architectural significance. [Re St. Mary Ecclesfield [2023] ECC She 2] [Top of section] [Top of post].

Re St. James Piccadilly [2023] ECC Lon 3 Extensive works to the inside and the outside of the church were proposed. The SPAB objected that thatch would be an incongruous material to use in an urban environment. Given that the Planning Authority was satisfied that the single-storey new building would not have any deleterious effect on the churchyard and the church, the Chancellor saw no reason for refusing to grant a faculty. [Re St. James Piccadilly [2023] ECC Lon 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. John the Baptist Aldbury [2023] ECC StA 6 The petitioners sought o improve the entrance to the church by installing a disabled access ramp and creating a welcoming open area by modifying and removing a few pews and installation of bookcases, cupboards and noticeboards. The Chancellor was satisfied that a case was made for the proposals, apart from the removal of two half pews on the east side of the cross-aisle. [Re St. John the Baptist Aldbury [2023] ECC StA 6] [Top of section] [Top of page]

Re St. Lawrence Bovingdon [2023] ECC StA 7 The petitioners sought a faculty for an extension to be added to the north side of the church and for internal re-ordering, including replacement of the pews with partially upholstered chairs, some new furniture, disposal of the pulpit and lectern, the relocation of a chest tomb, and the introduction of a nave plinth. Taking the proposals as a whole, the Chancellor was satisfied that they would provide a better environment for the varied worshipping needs of the church, community events and provision for children’s activities. The Chancellor therefore granted a faculty. [Re St. Lawrence Bovingdon [2023] ECC StA 7 [Top of section] [Top of page]

Re All Saints Lydiard Millicent [2023] ECC Bri 4 An extensive programme of reordering was proposed [1] to [3], the sticking points of which were the removal of the pews, the replacement of the flooring and the introduction of underfloor heating [4]. The Chancellor approved the replacement of the flooring and introduction of underfloor heating, but he was not satisfied that the petitioners had made an adequate case for the complete removal of the pews. [Re All Saints Lydiard Millicent [2023] ECC Bri 4] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of page].

Re St. Michael and All Angels Bampton [2023] ECC Exe 1 The petitioners applied for a Faculty to permit the early nineteenth century reredos, which had been temporarily removed, to be permanently removed from its original position in front of the East window and relocated to hang above the doorway in the centre of the West wall. The Chancellor determined in principle that the reredos should not be returned to the chancel, subject to a feasible proposal being put forward and approved for its mounting on the west wall. [Re St. Michael & All Angels Bampton [2023] ECC Exe 1] [Top of section] [Top of page].

Re St. Mary Piercebridge [2023] ECC Dur 3 The petition proposed several items of reordering, in order to adapt the church for both sacred and community use. The Chancellor was satisfied that the community would benefit from the new proposals and granted a faculty. [Re St. Mary Piercebridge [2023] ECC Dur 3] [Top of section] [Top of page].

Re St. John the Evangelist Crosby-on-Eden [2023] ECC Car 3 The petition proposed a ramped access at the entrance to the church, a kitchenette at the west end of the church and the erection of a single storey extension to house a WC. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had presented a sufficiently good case for the proposals, and he accordingly granted a faculty. [Re St. John the Evangelist Crosby-on-Eden [2023] ECC Car 3] [Top of section] [Top of page].

Removal and replacement of pews [6]

Re Holy Trinity Westcott [2023] ECC Gui 3 The petitioners wished to remove the remaining 19 pews in the church nave and replace them with chairs (of the award-winning ‘Theo’ design) and to modify and restore the floor. The Chancellor granted a faculty, finding that there was a clear justification for the proposals in order to meet the need for flexibility in the modern use of the church building. [Re Holy Trinity Westcott [2023] ECC Gui 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Catherine and St. Paul Hoddesdon [2023] ECC StA 5 The proposal was to remove 26 pews and 3 pew fronts; relocate the mounts for the churchwardens’ staves; and move an existing monitor to a new position in the gallery. The Chancellor was satisfied that the pews should be replaced with chairs and agreed to the relocation of mounts for the churchwardens’ staves,  and the installation of a monitor on a retractable bracket on the north side wall of the gallery. [Re St. Catherine and St. Paul Hoddesdon [2023] ECC StA 5] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. John Fishponds [2023] ECC Bri 3 The petition proposed the disposal of all the pews in the unlisted Church dedicated in 1911 and their replacement with two sets of upholstered chairs in two different colours, some orange and some blue. Notwithstanding the view of the Victorian Society, the Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re St. John Fishponds [2023] ECC Bri 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. John the Evangelist Penge [2023] ECC Roc 3 The pews and clergy stalls in the chancel had been removed under an Archdeacon’s Licence for Temporary Reordering in 2014. For the reasons explained in the judgment, they were still in storage. The petitioners now requested a faculty for the permanent removal of the pews and stalls and their replacement with chairs. The Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re St. John the Evangelist Penge [2023] ECC Roc 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. John the Baptist Witheridge [2023] ECC Exe 2 A faculty was granted in 2022 for reordering in the church, including the introduction of stackable chairs for temporary use at the back of the nave. This was conditional on DAC approval, which did not accord with that of the PCC. The Chancellor granted a faculty in favour of the PCC. [Re St. John the Baptist Witheridge [2023] ECC Exe 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Andrew Bulmer [2023] ECC Chd 3 The petition proposed the replacement of the Victorian pine pews in the nave and north aisle with “Theo” beech chairs manufactured by Trinity Church Furniture and also the replacement of the pew heaters with chandelier heaters. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had put forward a convincing justification for the removal of the pews; also the type of heating proposed by the petitioners should be allowed, as it would meet the parish’s needs at a reasonable cost and would be aesthetically acceptable. [Re St. Andrew Bulmer [2023] ECC Chd 3] [Top of section] [Top of page].

Net zero issues  [13]

Re King’s College Chapel Cambridge [2023] ECC Ely 1 The College wished to place solar panels on both the north and south sides of the Chapel roof. The Chancellor was satisfied that the scheme would benefit the College and would help it towards reaching its net zero target. He determined that he would grant a faculty for solar panels on both sides of the roof, or on the south side only, dependent upon an updated assessment. [Re King’s College Chapel Cambridge [2023] ECC Ely 1] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re King’s College Chapel Cambridge (2) [2023] ECC Ely 2 This judgement is supplemental Re King’s College Chapel Cambridge [2023] ECC Ely 1, supra. The Chancellor was satisfied that there was a convincing justification for placing solar panels on the north side of the college roof, as well as on the south side. [Re King’s College Chapel Cambridge (2) [2023] ECC Ely 2] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

Re Holy Trinity Headington Quarry [2023] ECC Oxf 4 The parish was granted permission to replace the existing gas boiler with a new, more energy-efficient gas boiler, for which in 2017, the archdeacon had given notice of approval without faculty under List B1 of the faculty rules. The Chancellor determined that he was not in a position to determine the question but, having sympathy for the parish’s “pastoral and pragmatic” action, suggested that the matter should not be pursued any further, whilst providing lessons for the future. [Re Holy Trinity Headington Quarry [2023] ECC Oxf 4] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

Re St. Michael Wandsworth Common [2023] ECC Swk 2 The Vicar and Churchwardens wished to replace the existing gas boiler and radiators in the church with a ChurchEcoMiser system (involving the installation of 23 new electric radiators). The Chancellor did not consider it appropriate to require the petitioners to investigate the option of an air source heat pump, and granted a faculty. [Re St. Michael Wandsworth Common [2023] ECC Swk 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re All Saints Scotby [2023] ECC Car 2 The petitioners wished urgently to install in the church a new gas boiler, to replace the existing 35 years old boiler (which had been condemned) and to make improvements to the heating system and boiler room. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not approve the proposal. but the Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the petitioners had in fact considered all the available alternative heating systems, and that the system proposed was the only viable option that the church could afford. [Re All Saints Scotby [2023] ECC Car 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mark Haydock [2023] ECC Liv 2 The Chancellor granted permission for the replacement of the existing heating system with a new condensing boiler and wall-mounted fan convectors and radiators in the ungraded church. The PCC had considered all alternative options and chosen system “whilst not perfect in terms of carbon emission, was nevertheless a significant stride forward compared to the current system.” [Re St. Mark Haydock [2023] ECC Liv 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary and St. John the Divine Balham [2023] ECC Swk 7 The petitioners wished to replace the existing three gas heating boilers with three new gas boilers. The Diocesan Advisory Committee had accordingly recommended the proposed system. The Chancellor granted a faculty. Although some Chancellors have in similar cases imposed a condition relating to offsetting, in order to meet the challenge of meeting carbon neutrality, the Chancellor decided not to impose such a condition in this case. [Re St. Mary and St. John the Divine Balham [2023] ECC Swk 7] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Christ Church Gipsy Hill [2023] ECC Swk 8 The petitioners sought permission to replace a gas fired cabinet heater in the church with a new condensing gas heater. The Diocesan Advisory Committee had certified that the petitioners have considered the Church of England’s net zero guidance, and they recommended the proposals. The Chancellor granted a faculty, without imposing a condition regarding carbon offsetting. [Re Christ Church Gipsy Hill [2023] ECC Swk 8] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Anselm Kennington Cross [2023] ECC Swk6 The proposals have been designed with the target of the Diocese to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2035 very much in mind. The current heating…by an oil-fired boiler…will be replaced by …air source heat pump…This will provide a heat source that is low carbon, and as the electricity industry de-carbonises over the coming years the position in this regard will only improve. Solar panels…could be retrofitted and used to power the heat. The building will be provided with secondary glazing and the doors made more airtight. There will be some insulation provided in the roof. The use of embedded carbon in the construction will be minimised [23]. [Top of section] [] [Top of post]

Re All Saints Stanton [2023] ECC SEI 2 SPAB objected to the proposed quartz heaters … The Chancellor was satisfied that the benefit of the changes would outweigh any harm to the church, and he granted a faculty [8] and [17]. [Top of section] [Re All Saints Stanton [2023] ECC SEI 2] [Top of post]

Re All Saints Lydiard Millicent [2023] ECC Bri 4 The Chancellor approved the replacement of the flooring and introduction of underfloor heating. [Top of section] [Re All Saints Lydiard Millicent [2023] ECC Bri 4] [Top of post]

Re St. Andrew Bulmer [2023] ECC Chd 3 Replacement of the pew heaters with chandelier heaters. The type of heating proposed by the petitioners should be allowed, as it would meet the parish’s needs at a reasonable cost and would be aesthetically acceptable. [Top of section] [Re St. Andrew Bulmer [2023] ECC Chd 3] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Piercebridge [2023] ECC Dur 3  Other proposed works were not considered to be controversial, and:  “[26]. The new proposed electrical heating and hot water system is essential to heat the church properly and to provide modern facilities; the new proposed heaters will provide greater efficiency to assuage any environmental concerns…[Top of section] [Re St. Mary Piercebridge [2023] ECC Dur 3] [Top of post]

[2022 judgments] [2021 judgments] [2020 judgments] [2019 judgments] [2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Church Treasures/Sale of Paintings/Loans/Memorials [6]

Re All Saints Elston [2023] ECC S&N 1 The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to correct alleged mistakes on two white alabaster memorials to parishioners who had died serving in the First and Second World Wars.  [Re All Saints Elston [2023] ECC S&N 1] [Top of section] [Top]

In Re St Mary Redcliffe [2023] ECC Bri 1 The PCC was granted a confirmatory faculty for the four interim glass panel, and their permanent replacements. [In Re St Mary Redcliffe [2023] ECC Bri 1] [Post] [Top of Section] [Top of Post]

Re St Mary and All Saints Willingham [2023] ECC Ely 4 The church wished to sell a 16th century chalice and paten and a 17th century Paten, which had been valued at £18,500, £8,500 and £5,500 respectively. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty as he was not satisfied that the petitioners had explored all possible ways of resolving the church’s current financial position. [Re St Mary and All Saints Willingham [2023] ECC Ely 4] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Reepham [2023] ECC Nor 2 The local branch of the Royal British legion wished to place a war memorial in the churchyard at its own expense. There were two objectors.   The Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re St. Mary Reepham [2023] ECC Nor 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

See also  Re St. Anselm Kennington Cross  at [32].

Re Removal of a Commemorative Plaque for Safeguarding Reasons [2023] ECC Oxf 9 A faculty was granted for the removal of a commemorative plaque, which had been installed without faculty on a window sill inside the church. The Chancellor gave an anonymised judgment in order to protect the privacy of anyone who might be affected by the judgment. [Re Removal of a Commemorative Plaque for Safeguarding Reasons [2023] ECC Oxf 9] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Thomas the Apostle Killinghall [2023] ECC Lee 4 The main issue was a proposal to sell two paintings which had been stored in the church for some years, for which the Church Buildings Council advised against. The Chancellor determined to grant a faculty for the sale. The paintings had been stored for several years, were deteriorating, and were unlikely to be displayed again; the connection with the church was tenuous and the paintings were of very modest value. [Re St. Thomas the Apostle Killinghall [2023] ECC Lee 4] [Top of section] [Top of post].

[2022 judgments] [2021 judgments] [2020 judgments] [2019 judgments] [2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2014 Judgments] [Top]


Audio Visual Equipment [2]

Re St. John the Baptist Holland Road [2023] ECC Lon 2 Chancellor granted faculty of installation of external CCTV equipment and new external and internal lighting at the Grade I church.  [Re St. John the Baptist Holland Road [2023] ECC Lon 2] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

Re St. Helen Thorganby [2023] ECC Yor 3 A faculty was granted for the introduction of permanently fixed audio-visual equipment to replace  existing equipment. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the proposed equipment would not harm the significance of the church; would remove risks of accidents; and would support the church in its mission. [Re St. Helen Thorganby [2023] ECC Yor 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

[2022 judgments] [2021 judgments] [2020 judgments] [2019 judgments] [2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [Top]


Exhumation

Family graves 

Re St. George Kidderminster [2022] ECC Wor 10 The Chancellor decided to grant a faculty, the petitioner’s mother having throughout her life held the mistaken belief that she could be buried with her husband, and the desirability of supporting a ‘family grave’ as set out in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299. [Re St. George Kidderminster [2022] ECC Wor 10] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Wigton Cemetery [2023] ECC Car 1 The Petitioner wished to have her husband’s coffin exhumed, the grave dug deeper and the coffin reinterred in the grave, so that in due course the Petitioner could be buried with her husband. The Chancellor decided that the deepening of the grave to create a family grave was an appropriate reason for granting a faculty. [Re Wigton Cemetery [2023] ECC Car 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Chorleywood Road Cemetery [2023] ECC StA 2. The petitioner wished to have the remains of her baby, stillborn in 1987, exhumed from Chorleywood Road Cemetery and reinterred with the remains of the petitioner’s husband (who had died from Covid in 2020) in Woodcock Hill Cemetery. The Chancellor determined that there were sufficient exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty.  [Re Chorleywood Road Cemetery [2023] ECC StA 2] [Top of section] [Top]

Re St. George Unsworth [2023] ECC Man 1 The petitioner wished to have the cremated remains of her brother exhumed from the grave containing the remains of their parents. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, having decided that the petitioner’s application did not meet the test of exceptionality envisaged in the case of Re Blagdon Cemetery; nor did the petitioner’s application “amount to a sufficiently good reason by reference to a ‘right thinking’ member of the church at large” (referencing the decision in Re Christ Church Alsager [1998] Chancery Court of York). [Re St. George Unsworth [2023] ECC Man 1] [Top of section] [Top]

Re Wandsworth Cemetery [2023] ECC Swk 1 The Chancellor granted a faculty to allow cremated remains to be temporarily removed from a grave, in order to allow a further coffin burial, noting that the principle of exceptionality in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam. 299 “makes clear that the principle of family solidarity is to be encouraged; as is economy in the use of grave space”. [Re Wandsworth Cemetery [2023] ECC Swk 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Sheringham Town Cemetery [2023] ECC Nor 1 The petitioners’ father’s ashes had been interred in the cemetery in 2004 in a plot reserved for the ashes of him and his wife. Some years later, the petitioners’ mother had decided that she did not wish her ashes to be buried with those of her husband, but wanted them scattered where she used to walk her dog. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to allow the petitioners’ father’s ashes to be exhumed and scattered; there was no legal basis on which to justify exhumation. [Re Sheringham Town Cemetery [2023] ECC Nor 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Errors in burial

Re Christ Church Padgate [2022] ECC Liv 3 the family sought the exhumation of the remains of the late Jean Atkinson, which had been interred in July of that year. The Chancellor had no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the necessary criteria for “exceptional circumstances” were fulfilled and that a faculty should issue [7].  [Re Christ Church Padgate [2022] ECC Liv 3] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Chapel St. Leonards Lawned Cemetery [2023] ECC Lin 1 A widow reserved a grave space next to the grave of her late husband. Owing to a mistake on the part of the burial authority, the body of another person was buried in the grave reserved for the widow. The Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re Chapel St. Leonards Lawned Cemetery [2023] ECC Lin 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Chevington Cemetery [2023] ECC New 3 Owing to a mistake made by the burial authority, some human remains were interred in a plot reserved for the petitioner next to the plot which contained the remains of her late husband. The Chancellor was satisfied that this was an appropriate case in which a faculty should be granted, to rectify an error in administration. [Re Chevington Cemetery [2023] ECC New 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Bloxwich Cemetery [2023] ECC Lic 1 The body of a member of the petitioner’s family had been interred in the cemetery in 1969, and the intention had been that the coffin would be buried sufficiently deep that three family coffins could be accommodated in the grave. The Chancellor was satisfied that a mistake had been made in 1969, therefore the case was sufficiently exceptional to warrant the grant of a faculty as requested. [Re Bloxwich Cemetery [2023] ECC Lic 1] [Top of post] [Top of post]

Re Cottingley Hall Cemetery [2023] ECC Lee 1 Owing to a mistake by the burial authority, the remains of the petitioner’s mother had been interred in a grave reserved for someone else. The Chancellor determined that this amounted to an exceptional circumstance permitting and he accordingly granted a faculty. [Re Cottingley Hall Cemetery [2023] ECC Lee 1] [ Top of section] [Top of post]

Re West Norwood Cemetery [2023] ECC Swk 4 In 1995, the remains of the petitioner’s late mother’s stillborn child were interred in the consecrated children’s section of West Norwood Cemetery. The Chancellor determined that there were circumstances which justified an exception to the norm of permanence of burial, namely, ignorance of the fact of consecration and the creation of a family grave. He therefore granted a faculty. [Re West Norwood Cemetery [2023] ECC Swk 4] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Burnley Cemetery [2023] ECC Bla 4 The husband and wife petitioners’ son had taken his own life at the age of 23 in 2007. The petitioners had wished at the time to have their son’s body buried in the churchyard of Haggart Baptist Church. The Chancellor determined that there were sufficient exceptional circumstances to justify exhumation and reinterment: a family grave had been purchased at the Baptist church; and the petitioners had been unaware at the time of their son’s burial that he had been buried in a consecrated part of the cemetery. [Re Burnley Cemetery [2023] ECC Bla 4] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Hall Road Cemetery Rochford [2023] ECC Chd 1 The burial authority applied for a faculty for exhumation and reinterment to rectify a mistake. The Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re Hall Road Cemetery Rochford [2023] ECC Chd 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Allerton Cemetery [2023] ECC Liv 3 The petitioner sought a faculty to authorise the exhumation of his father’s cremated remains from the family plot of his mother’s family and to reinter the remains in a new plot in which the petitioner’s mother’s cremated remains could be interred in due course. The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re Allerton Cemetery [2023] ECC Liv 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Bretforton Cemetery [2023] ECC Wor 2 Owing to a mistake by a firm of undertakers, there was a failure to comply with the instructions of the petitioner, viz. that the bulk of his mother’s cremated remains should be interred in the cemetery, but that a small proportion of the ashes should be retained so that they could be symbolically scattered in accordance with the deceased’s expressed wishes. The Chancellor decided that the circumstances of the petition fitted within the legal exceptions to the doctrine of permanence, accordingly granted a faculty. [Re Bretforton Cemetery [2023] ECC Wor 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Other

Re Hampton Cemetery [2023] ECC Lon 1 The petitioner wished to transfer the mortal remains of his mother from a columbarium niche to the Isle of Wight, where the petitioner and some other members of the family now lived, for re-interment in a place as yet unidentified. The Chancellor found no exceptional reasons which would justify the grant of a faculty. [Re Hampton Cemetery [2023] ECC Lon 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Heaton Cemetery [2023] ECC New 1 The petitioner sought permission to have the cremated remains of his parents exhumed Heaton Cemetery and reinterred in another plot in the same consecrated area. The plot was situated under a tree where birds regularly roosted, and the memorial over the plot had been affected by bird faeces. The Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re Heaton Cemetery [2023] ECC New 1] [Top of section] [Top]

Re An Exhumation for a Forensic Post-mortem Examination [2023] ECC Oxf 2. The Chancellor determined that special circumstances existed which constituted good and proper reasons for making an exception to the normal rule that Christian burial is final. [Re An Exhumation for a Forensic Post-mortem Examination [2023] ECC Oxf 2] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Chatham Cemetery [2023] ECC Roc 1 A petition was granted to a Romanian couple to have the remains of their baby exhumed and reburied in the parish in Romania where they were planning to live with their family.  [Re Chatham Cemetery [2023] ECC Roc 1] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

Re Astwood Cemetery Worcester [2023] ECC Wor 1 The petitioner sought to exhume the cremated remains of her father and reinter them with the remains of her late mother in unconsecrated, privately-owned farmland in Gloucestershire. The Chancellor was not persuaded that the proposed location was suitable for burial, and the circumstances were not sufficiently exceptional that a faculty should be granted for the proposed exhumation and reinterment. [Re Astwood Cemetery Worcester [2023] ECC Wor 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Brookwood Cemetery [2023] ECC Gui 4 The petitioner and her two siblings sought permission for the exhumation of their father’s ashes and their reinterment in the churchyard of St. Mary Conistone in North Yorkshire, where a number of family members were buried, though there was no family plot. The Deputy Chancellor could find no exceptional circumstances to justify exhumation after such a long period of time. [Re Brookwood Cemetery [2023] ECC Gui 4] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Streatham Park Cemetery [2023] ECC Swk 5 The Chancellor determined that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty: “… family graves are intrinsically a good thing, as expressive of family unity and making economical use of grave space. The creation of a family grave formed part of the exceptional circumstances arising in Blagdon.”

[Re Streatham Park Cemetery [2023] ECC Swk 5 [Top of section] [Top of post]

Note: “Streatham Park Cemetery” is not to be confused with “Streatham Cemetery” , infra.

Re Fulling Mill Lane Cemetery Welwyn [2023] ECC StA 4 The Chancellor envisaged that, if the petition were dismissed and a family grave was subsequently purchased, the situation would then be different. He determined to grant a faculty (without limit of time), which would allow the exhumation and reinterment of the ashes at the time of the first burial of one of the family members identified in the judgment in a grave intended to be a family grave. [Re Fulling Mill Lane Cemetery Welwyn [2023] ECC StA 4] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Barnabas Ranmore [2023] ECC Gui 6 The petitioner wished to exhume the cremated remains of her husband from the churchyard at Ranmore in Surrey and reinter them in the churchyard at Fulbourn in Cambridgeshire. The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty; following Re Blagdon Cemetery, moving residence was not an exceptional reason. [Re St. Barnabas Ranmore [2023] ECC Gui 6] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Hereford Cemetery [2023] ECC Her 1 The petitioner wished to have her father’s ashes exhumed so that her mother’s ashes could be mingled with her father’s ashes and the casket then reinterred. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. Christian burial should be treated as permanent, and exhumation should not be allowed unless in exceptional circumstances. The petitioner’s mother’s wish did not amount to exceptional circumstances. [Re Hereford Cemetery [2023] ECC Her 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Radegunda Grayingham [2023] ECC Lin 2 The petitioner sought to exhume the cremated remains of his wife from just outside the south nave wall, as it was proposed to build a small extension to the church over the site of the interment. The petitioner’s reason for making the application was that he wished his wife’s ashes to be moved to a part of the churchyard where his own ashes could in due time be buried with hers. The Chancellor determined that this was an appropriate case in which to grant a faculty. [Re St. Radegunda Grayingham [2023] ECC Lin 2] [Top of section] [Top of page].

Re Holy Rood Edwalton [2023] ECC S&N 2 The petitioner wished to have the ashes of his father, who died in 2002, exhumed from a plot of land adjacent to the churchyard. There was a question as to whether the adjoining plot of land was consecrated. The Chancellor determined that a faculty should be granted for the removal of the ashes (if practicable) or, alternatively, for the ashes of the Petitioner’s mother to be interred with her husband’s ashes. [Re Holy Rood Edwalton [2023] ECC S&N 2] [Top of section] [Top of page]

Re Spalding Cemetery [2023] ECC Lin 3 The petitioner, of Polish origin, wished to exhume her mother’s ashes from the cemetery in Spalding and have them taken to Poland and interred in the grave of her father in a Polish cemetery. The Chancellor determined that special circumstances existed and granted a faculty. [Re Spalding Cemetery [2023] ECC Lin 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Lonan Cemetery [2023] EC Sodor 2 The body of an unknown man lost at sea ten years ago was buried in Lonan Cemetery. It is now possible to match retained genetic material from the deceased with that of members of the family of a man from Wicklow in Ireland and the Vicar General and Chancellor considered that there were exceptional circumstances which justified the grant of a faculty. [Re Lonan Cemetery [2023] EC Sodor 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

[2022 judgments] [2021 judgments] [2020 judgments] [2019 judgments] [2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Churchyards and burials

Development of churchyard

Re Holy Trinity Hull [2023] ECC Yor 1 This judgment is supplemental to the judgments in two earlier faculty applications relating to a project by Highways England (“HE”) to widen the highway next to the churchyard. The HE now sought an interim faculty to continue with works under a Development Consent Order, pending the completion of a Pastoral Scheme to transfer the land to HE. The Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re Holy Trinity Hull [2023] ECC Yor 1] [Top of Section] [Top of Post]

Re Streatham Cemetery [2023] ECC Swk 3 The burial authority sought authorisation to reuse two areas of Streatham Cemetery largely free of memorials. The Chancellor considered that the proposals were in principle both acceptable and commendable, to facilitate the economical use of land and to address the continuing shortage of grave space. He therefore granted a faculty. [Re Streatham Cemetery [2023] ECC Swk 3] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Note: “Streatham Cemetery” is not to be confused with “Streatham Park Cemetery“, supra.

Re Christ Church Swindon [2023] ECC Bri 2 The PCC sought to make improvements to a section of the Garden of Remembrance, where ashes were interred and memorial plaques laid. The Chancellor agreed to grant a faculty for the works subject to conditions which included that the plaques were to be reinstated in positions to be agreed with the objector. [Re Christ Church Swindon [2023] ECC Bri 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Designation of closed churchyard

See Privy Council Business.

Churchyard Regulations

Re St. Paul Foxdale [2023] EC Sodor 1 The Vicar General granted permission for the erection of a memorial to an autistic child who had died in a therapeutic hot tub. The proposed memorial comprised an upright stone, including colours associated with the Autism Society, and kerb stones. [Re St. Paul Foxdale [2023] EC Sodor 1] [Top of section] [Top]

Re Brookwood Cemetery [2023] ECC Gui 2 It was proposed that a substantial memorial, with associated landscaping, should be constructed next to the interments at Brookwood Cemetery, in memory of all those whose human remains had been moved from St. James’ Gardens, Euston. Faculty granted. [Re Brookwood Cemetery [2023] ECC Gui 2] [Post] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary the Virgin Long Crendon [2023] ECC Oxf 1 The Petitioner wished to install an upright memorial over the single plot in the churchyard where the cremated remains of both her parents had been interred. The Parochial Church Council (“PCC”) objected but for several reasons the Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re St. Mary the Virgin Long Crendon [2023] ECC Oxf 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Werburgh Hoo [2023] ECC Roc 2 The petitioner wished to erect a memorial to her late father, the design of which had features outside the churchyard regulations. The Chancellor granted a faculty approving the memorial, apart from the proposed tablet at the foot of the grave. [Re St. Werburgh Hoo [2023] ECC Roc 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. James Barkham [2023] ECC Oxf 7 The petitioner applied for a faculty to authorise the installation of a memorial which fell outside the scope of the churchyards regulations for the Diocese of Oxford. The Chancellor granted a faculty: a faculty had already been granted to the family for a similar memorial; there was room in the churchyard for only about 12-15 burials, so the chances of further applications for similar memorials was small; and there were pastoral reasons supporting the grant of a faculty. [Re St. James Barkham [2023] ECC Oxf 7] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Denver [2023] ECC Ely 3 The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty to authorize a polished green granite memorial, including an etching of a rose picked out in blue, on the grounds that some features of the proposed memorial were outside the churchyards regulations and no good reason had been advanced for allowing an exception. [Re St. Mary Denver [2023] ECC Ely 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. George Fatfield [2023] ECC Dur 2 The family wished to erect a memorial which included features outside the diocese’s Churchyard Rules. The Chancellor determined that a faculty would be granted if there were an acceptable smaller image, and if a much shorter inscription could be agreed for the lower half of the memorial; the revised design to be approved by the court. [Re St. George Fatfield [2023] ECC Dur 2] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Reservation of grave space

Re St. Peter Wolviston [2023] ECC Dur 1 The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the reservation of a grave space; the petitioner was not a parishioner and did not have a legal right to be buried in the churchyard; and the churchyard was almost full. [Re St. Peter Wolviston [2023] ECC Dur] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Standon [2023] ECC StA 1 The petitioner wished to reserve a singe depth grave space in the churchyard. The Chancellor considered that the reasons given for the PCC policy were reasonable and there were no sufficiently exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty. [Re St. Mary Standon [2023] ECC StA 1] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

Re St. Peter Bourton-on-Dunsmore [2023] ECC Cov 1 The petitioner sought a faculty giving her the right to be buried in the same grave as her late partner. There had been a rift in the past between the petitioner and the deceased’s mother. (See Re St. Peter Bourton-on-Dunsmore [2022] ECC Cov 6). The Chancellor granted a faculty. [Re St. Peter Bourton-on-Dunsmore [2023] ECC Cov 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. John Stockcross [2023] ECC Oxf 8 The petitioner wished to reserve a grave space. It was estimated that there were enough grave spaces in the churchyard for a period of 11 years. The Chancellor determined that a faculty should be granted to reserve a grave for 11 years, giving the petitioner leave to apply for an extension during the final year, when the Chancellor’s successor could decide whether to allow an extension, depending on the circumstances at that time. [Re St. John Stockcross [2023] ECC Oxf 8] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Mary Newchurch-in-Pendle [2023] ECC Bla 5 The petitioner wished to reserve a cremation plot next to the plot where the ashes of her son, who had died in a tragic accident, were interred in 2019. The Chancellor granted a faculty but limited the grant to a period of 10 years, with leave for the petitioner to apply for an extension within the last of the ten years. [Re St. Mary Newchurch-in-Pendle [2023] ECC Bla 5] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Thomas Kilnhurst [2023] ECC She 1 The petitioner wished to reserve a grave space next to the grave of her son, who had died in an accident aged 28 in 2022. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty  including: petitioner’s son’s grave (which was triple-depth) had further capacity for burials and interments of ashes; other family members were buried in various parts of the churchyard and here was capacity for further interments in some of them); the churchyard had capacity for burials for many years to come; and the reservation would set a precedent which would hamper the fair management of the churchyard. [Re St. Thomas Kilnhurst [2023] ECC She 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Margaret Lower Halstow [2023] ECC Can 3 The petitioners wished to reserve a single-width, double-depth grave space. The Chancellor determined that it was appropriate to grant a faculty in this case: the petitioners had shown a sufficient connection with the church; at the time when the petition was lodged, the PCC had no formal policy about grave reservations; the PCC had supported the petition; and there was space in the churchyard for 20-30 years of burials. [Re St. Margaret Lower Halstow [2023] ECC Can 3] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re Caton-with-Littledale St. Paul [2023] ECC Bla 6 The petitioners wished to reserve a single-width, double-depth grave space in the churchyard. On the facts of this particular case, the Chancellor determined that it was appropriate to grant a faculty, but to limit it to a period of seven years, with permission to apply (by letter) within the last year to extend beyond that time. [Re Caton-with-Littledale St. Paul [2023] ECC Bla 6 [Top of section] [Top of page].

Trees

Re St. Nicholas Kingsey [2023] ECC Oxf 5 The Chancellor granted a  faculty for the removal from the churchyard of a mature lime tree, due to a risk of subsidence damage to an adjoining property, as advised by their retained arboriculturist.  [Re St. Nicholas Kingsey [2023] ECC Oxf 5] [Top of section] [Top of post]

Re St. Andrew Sonning [2023] ECC Oxf 6 The deputy churchwarden applied for a retrospective faculty in respect of the felling of a lime tree in the churchyard, which had become dangerous. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioner had shown a sufficiently good reason for the felling of the tree, and he granted a faculty, subject to a condition (inter alia) that a replacement tree should be planted. [Re St. Andrew Sonning [2023] ECC Oxf 6] [Top of section] [Top of post].

Re Holy Trinity and St. Jude Halifax [2023] ECC Lee 3 The incumbent and churchwardens sought a confirmatory faculty to approve the felling of the two tree not covered by earlier faculty. Hill Ch. was concerned that the contractor had been unfamiliar with the faculty process and emphasised the need for those carrying out works in churchyards to be conversant with the requirements of the faculty jurisdiction. The Chancellor granted a faculty subject to the contractor planting replacement trees and also paying the costs occasioned by the proceedings. [Re Holy Trinity and St. Jude Halifax [2023] ECC Lee 3] [Top of section] [Top of post].

Environmental Permit

Parochial Church Council of St John the Baptist ChurchTA6 4AX environmental permit application advertisement. 0.5 cubic metres per day; trench arch system; ST 30073 42632.

PCC of St Mary’s Church, Black Bourton, OX18 2PQ: environmental permit application advertisement – EPR/JP3523SS/A001: 0.5 cubic metres per day; trench arch effluent; SP 28648 04237.

[2022 judgments] [2021 judgments] [2020 judgments] [2019 judgments] [2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments]


Organs

Re St. Barnabas Morecambe [2023] ECC Bla 3 The Chancellor granted a faculty for the removal from the unlisted church the pipe organ installed by Edward Wadsworth & Brother and its replacement it with a pipe organ originally built by Henry Willis in 1865. [Re St. Barnabas Morecambe [2023] ECC Bla 3] [Top of section] [Top of Post]

[2022 judgments] [2021]  judgments] [2020 judgments] [2019 judgments] [2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2015 Judgments] [2014 Judgments] [Top]


Fonts

Re St. Thomas a Beckett Salisbury [2023] ECC Sal 1 The petitioners sought to remove the old stone font and tall suspended font cover from the south-west corner of the church and place a newly designed timber and copper font at the west end of the central aisle. The Chancellor considered whether she could authorise a new font without a cover, in view of Canon F1, which states that there “shall be provided a decent font with a cover”. She concluded that she could not, and therefore made it a condition of the faculty that a cover should be designed to fit the new font, the design to be agreed by the Diocesan Advisory Committee or approved by the Chancellor. [Re St. Thomas a Beckett Salisbury [2023] ECC Sal 1] [Top of section] [Top of post]

See also Re St. Anselm Kennington Cross, supra, at [69] to [71].

[2022 judgments] [2021 judgments] [2020 judgments] [2019 judgments] [2018 judgments] [2017 judgments] [2016 Judgments] [2015 Judgments] [Top]


Privy Council Business

15 February 2023

  • Burial Act 1853 (Notice): Order giving notice of the discontinuance of burials in: Holywell (North) Churchyard, Oxford, Oxfordshire; Holywell (South) Churchyard, Oxford, Oxfordshire; St Martin’s Churchyard, Looe; St Mary the Virgin Church Churchyard, Alderbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire; and St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Swineshead, Lincolnshire.
  • Burial Act 1853 (Final) Order prohibiting further burials in: St John the Evangelist Church Churchyard, Goldenhill, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire; St Michael’s Churchyard, Stoke Gifford; St Alkmund’s Churchyard, Duffield, Derbyshire; Saint Nicolas Church Churchyard, Kings Norton, Birmingham, West Midlands; St Thomas Churchyard, Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

8 March 2023

  • Burial Act 1853 (Notice): Order giving notice of the discontinuance of burials in: St Bartholomew’s Churchyard Extension, Keelby, Lincolnshire; and St James Churchyard, Badsey, Worcestershire.

17 May 2023

  • Burial Act 1853 (Notice): Order giving notice of the discontinuance of burials in: St Mary the Virgin Church Churchyard, Diptford, Devon; St Mary’s Church Churchyard, North Huish, Devon; All Saints Churchyard, Nazeing, Epping Forest, Essex; and St Andrew Churchyard, Burgess Hill, West Sussex.
  • Burial Act 1853 (Final) Order prohibiting further burials in: Holywell (North) Churchyard, Oxford, Oxfordshire; Holywell (South) Churchyard, Oxford, Oxfordshire; St Martin’s Churchyard, Looe, Cornwall; St Mary the Virgin Church Churchyard, Alderbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire; St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Swineshead, Lincolnshire; St Bartholomew’s Churchyard Extension, Keelby, Lincolnshire; St James Churchyard, Badsey, Worcestershire.

14 June 2023

  • Burial Act 1853 (Notice): Order giving notice of the discontinuance of burials in: St Nicholas Churchyard, Brockenhurst, Hampshire.
  • Revised Statutes of Selwyn College, Cambridge.

11 October 2023

  • Burial Act 1853 (Notice): Order giving notice of the discontinuance of burials in: St Helen’s Church Churchyard, Matlock, Derbyshire; St Helen’s New Churchyard, Benson, Wallingford, Oxfordshire; St Johns Garden of Remembrance, Oakley, Hampshire; St Peter’s Churchyard, Glenfield, Leicestershire.
  • Burial Act 1853 (Final) : Order prohibiting further burials in: St Nicholas Churchyard, Brockenhurst, Hampshire; Holy Trinity Hurdsfield Churchyard, Macclesfield, Cheshire; St Mary’s Churchyard, Long Stratton, Norfolk; St Peter’s Churchyard Extension Barnburgh, Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

15 November 2023

  • Burial Act 1853 (Notice): Order giving notice of the discontinuance of burials in St Anne’s Churchyard, Ambleside, Cumbria.

CDM Decisions and Safeguarding

CDM Decisions

Written determinations of disciplinary tribunals hearing complaints brought under the CDM, together with any decisions on penalty are published by the Church of England; included are judgments from the Arches Court of Canterbury and the Chancery Court of York where determinations have been appealed. The majority of complaints that are made under the CDM are resolved by the bishop, archbishop, or President of Tribunals, without having to convene a tribunal.

Penalties by consent

A new policy came into force on 24 October 2022 although there is a potential lacuna for cases where the penalty was imposed after the change in the Code of Practice, paragraph 312, but before this date, as with The Right Reverend Peter Hullah. The page on the CofE website Penalties by Consent records the penalties that have been imposed by a bishop or archbishop with the consent of the respondent under section 16 of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 and penalties that have been imposed under section 30 or 31.

Diocese of Portsmouth

  • The Rev Peter Lambert The Rev Peter Lambert was the subject of a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure earlier this year. The complaint was of conduct inappropriate for a clergy person.

Peter has admitted this inappropriate conduct. The penalty, which was determined by the Bishop of Portsmouth, is a five-year prohibition from ministry in the Church of England, from May 2022. This means he is not able to lead church services or act as a clergy person during that time. After this period of prohibition, a risk assessment will be carried out before Peter is able to resume ministry.

[Although the entry on the Diocesan web site is dated November 2022, the penalty was determined in May 2022. It therefore falls into the same lacuna as The Right Reverend Peter Hullah, and has not been posted nationally on the Church of England web page.]

Diocese of Birmingham

Employment Tribunals

Church of England

Name: The Revd JOHN DAVID YOUNG
Diocese: York
Date imposed: 1st September 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office & work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Prohibition for life

Name: The Revd STANLEY GEORGE EVANS
Diocese: Gibraltar in Europe
Date imposed: 13th August
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office & work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Limited prohibition for 5 years with effect from 1st August 2023

Name: The Revd JEREMY JAMES FLETCHER
Diocese: London
Date imposed: 7 August 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office & work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Prohibition for life

Name: The Revd PHILIP MURRAY
Diocese: Ely
Date imposed: 17 July 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office & work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Removal from office & limited prohibition for 2 years

Name: The Revd MARK O’ DONOGHUE
Diocese: London
Date imposed: 26 June 2023
Relevant CDM section: 30(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office & work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Limited prohibition for 18 months

Name: The Revd TIMOTHY DAVID HANSON
Diocese: Chester
Date imposed: 15 March 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office & work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Limited prohibition for 5yrs & 6 months

Name: The Revd STEPHEN JAMES CLAPHAM 
Diocese: Chester
Date imposed: 20 April 2023
Relevant CDM section: 30(1)(a)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Prohibition for life

The Revd TERENCE JOHN GORDON LOW
Diocese: Chelmsford
Date imposed: 1 June 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(3A)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: prohibition for 10 years with effect from 1 June 2023

The Revd RUPERT EVANS
Diocese:
 Southwark
Date imposed: 5 June 2023
Relevant CDM section: 30(1)(a)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Limited prohibition for 4 years and 3 months from 13 June 2023

The Revd DAVID WILLIAM RENSHAW
Diocese:
 Chichester
Date imposed: 24th May 2023
Relevant CDM section: 30(1)(a)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Removal from office and life prohibition

The Revd Canon JAYSON DONAL RHODES
Diocese: Leeds
Date imposed: 22nd May 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Removal from office & limited prohibition for 10 years with effect from 31 July 2023

The Revd RACHEL LOUISE STAVERT
Diocese: Carlisle
Date imposed: 22nd March 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(3A)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Removal from office, limited prohibition for 4 years & injunction

The Revd GEOFFREY RIBA-THOMPSON
Diocese: Southwark
Date imposed: 7th March 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(3A)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Limited prohibition for 5 years

The Revd Jean-Luc Sergent 
Diocese: London
Date imposed: 3rd February 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Removal from office & prohibition on ministry for 2 years

The Revd JEREMY J FLETCHER
Diocese: London
Date imposed: 23rd January 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Removal from office & prohibition on ministry for 2 years

The Ven SUSAN ELIZABETH FIELD
Diocese: Coventry
Date imposed: 4th January 2023
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Resignation from office & injunction

The Revd THOMAS ALFRED DONAGHEY
Diocese: Blackburn
Date imposed: 19th December 2022
Relevant CDM section: 30(1)(a)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Prohibition for life

The Revd PHIL GREIG
Diocese: Canterbury
Date imposed: 7th December 2022
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Limited prohibition for 4 years

The Revd CHRISTOPHER J. B. LEE
Diocese: London
Date imposed: 17th November 2022
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Rebuke and injunction

The Revd IAIN JONATHAN BROOMFIELD
Diocese
: Rochester
Date imposed: 7th November 2022
Relevant CDM section: 16(3A)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders

The Revd SIMON MATTHEWS
Diocese:
 Leicester
Date imposed: 31st October 2022
Relevant CDM section: 16(1)
Statutory Ground of Misconduct: s.8(1)(d): Conduct unbecoming & inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders
Penalty: Limited prohibition for 1 year

Safeguarding

Court of Appeal (Civil Division) on appeal from The Employment Appeal Tribunal

  • The Reverend Paul Williamson v The Bishop of London &ors [2023] EWCA Civ 379. Court of Appeal (Civil Division) on appeal from The Employment Appeal Tribunal [2022] EAT 118.

Reports from the Independent Reviewer

Individual Reports from the Independent Reviewer are to be found at House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (Independent Reviewer), scroll down.

The Rt Revd Philip North has recently been appointed as the new diocesan Bishop of Blackburn, and WATCH has submitted a referral of concern to the Independent Reviewer, Canon Maggie Swinson, under the relevant regulations. WATCH states that the Independent Reviewer has recognised their concerns and has initiated an inquiry into them.

“The police matter I referred to in my last updating statement has been concluded. The review is now able to proceed to the next stages, which will culminate in it being handed to the Archbishops’ Council, for subsequent publication. Relevant extracts from the draft report will soon be shared with the victims of John Smyth and with people who are named and criticised. (15 June 2023).

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)


CFCE Determinations

The last CFCE Determinations we reported were for the meeting on Thursday 27 January 2022, and were included in the Ecclesiastical court judgments – March 2022. The outcome of subsequent meetings were not posted on the CFCE web pages until August 2023, which included the following:

There were no meetings in April ‘23 or August ‘23. In future we plan to post only the links to the latest CFCE meeting. The meetings scheduled for the remainder of 2023 are:

The schedule for 2024 is here.


Visitations


Other legal issues

Lydbrook PCC v Forest of Dean DC Lydbrook Parochial Church Council sought an order requiring the District Council to fulfil its liability to maintain Lydbrook’s closed churchyard. The judge determined that it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by the County Court. The applications to strike out and for summary judgment were dismissed. To avoid substantial costs, the judge ordered a stay of proceedings in order to allow the parties time to resolve their dispute. [Lydbrook PCC v Forest of Dean DC [2004] GCC ] [Top of page].


Links to other posts

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

Reordering, extensions and other building works

Exhumation

Church Treasure

Sale of Paintings &c

Churchyards

General/Miscellaneous

[Top]

Updated: 29 December 2023 at 15:49. 


Notes on the conventions used for the navigation between cases reviewed in this post are summarized here.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Ecclesiastical Court judgments 2023" in Law & Religion UK, 31 December 2023, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2023/12/31/ecclesiastical-court-judgments-2023/

4 thoughts on “Ecclesiastical Court judgments 2023

  1. Thanks for such a comprehensive summary – including things I’d missed. L&R is a very valuable resource. Happy New Year!

    • Adding my thanks to those of Frank. As with the “Answers to the Quiz”, it’s a draft post which is built up throughout the year, and one where we mustn’t press “Publish” instead of “Save”…

  2. Pingback: Ecclesiastical Court judgements 2023 - 365 Political News

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