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Faculty Matters

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Registry of the Consistory Court of the Diocese

The Registrar is Lionel Lennox and the Faculty Secretary is Hazel Bell. They may be contacted by writing to Diocesan Registry, Stamford House, Piccadilly, York YO1 9PP, by telephone on 01904 623487 or by e-mail to registry@lf-dt.com.

For a full list of faculty documents issued by the Diocesan Registry please scroll down

Churches and Churchyards

A faculty or permission is required from the Court for all repair and other work done in churches and churchyards. This is a requirement of law and the procedure for application is prescribed by the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2000. It is for the Chancellor of the Consistory Court to determine each application (called a Petition for Faculty) after receiving advice from the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches and consideration of representations from statutory consultees or objections received in response to public notice.

The Archbishop of York and the Chancellor have provided a joint statement entitled This Church, its fixtures, furnishings and contents and the churchyard. Also published by the Chancellor is Guidance on Various Churchyard Matters concerning memorials and headstones, management and maintenance of the churchyard, burial and commemoration after cremation.

A Note of Guidance entitled When is a faculty required? is available to clergy and churchwardens in the Diocese of York.  In addition the Chancellor has made Practice Directions setting out a List of Matters Not Requiring a Faculty and on the particular arrangements that apply to Trees in Churchyards. Advice on whether a faculty is required for particular proposals is available from the Archdeacon, the Secretary of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches or the Diocesan Registrar. Guidance to parishes about the faculty procedure and forms of Petitions for Faculty (application forms) are available from the DAC Secretary and the Faculty Secretary. Petitioners (applicants who need to complete and sign the forms) are usually the minister in charge of the particular church and the two churchwardens.

Accidents in churchyards which cause injury do, unfortunately, occur from time to time.  There have been cases of death as well as serious injury caused by headstones, box tombs, and table top tombs which have been in a dangerous condition and have fallen or collapsed.  Notes of Guidance entitled Churchyards: Broken and Dangerous Gravestones issued by the Registrar and DAC Secretary provide information and guidance on the legal position and good practice in this area.

Some recent Judgments of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of York are available - scroll down to the bottom of this page

Churchyard Plans

It is the obligation of every PCC of a church which has a churchyard which is used for burials or for the burial of cremated remains to hold and to keep up to date a plan of the churchyard. The Churchyard Plans and Regulations 1992 sets out the requirements for the plan.

Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches

The role of the DAC is to act as an advisory body on matters affecting churches in the Diocese and in particular to offer formal advice to the Chancellor of the Diocese on all petitions for faculties proposing alterations, repairs and additions to church buildings, their contents, their churchyards and curtilage structures.

York DAC has its own web pages at www.dioceseofyork.org.uk/dac. On the DAC website there are a number of Guidance Notes concerning the care of your church building. Having explored the DAC web pages should you require a petition for faculty form, or further information and advice you should contact either the Secretary (Phil Thomas 01904 699523; phil.thomas@yorkdiocese.org) or the Administrator (Dionne Saville 01904 699522; dionne.saville@yorkdiocese.org).

Emergency work

The procedure for an interim Faculty enables emergency works to be put in hand before a Faculty has been issued.

Memorials and Headstones in Churchyards

The introduction and placing of a memorial to mark a burial in a churchyard first requires a permission in writing.  Permission may be given by the minister in charge of the churchyard if the proposed memorial comes within the Churchyard Memorial Rules 2013.  Application to the minister must be made on the Application Form.  A faculty is required for a memorial which is outside the Churchyard Memorial Rules 2013, or if the minister in charge declines to deal with the application.

The 2013 Rules came into force on 18 October 2013 and replace the Churchyard Memorials Rules 2005. They should be read in conjunction with Guidance on Various Matters from the Chancellor.  The Application Form is attached to the Rules, and both may be downloaded.

Changes made by the 2013 Rules include:

  • Memorials Marking the Burial of Cremated Remains: this section has been substantially re-written
  • Memorials Inside Churches:  this has been expanded and now includes a brief explanation of legal principles that need to be observed ("the five year rule") and ownership of the memorial.
  • Inscriptions: this section has been revised and also includes guidance on inscriptions in a language other than English, inscriptions on the reverse side of the memorials and also states Quick Response Codes are not permitted.  A letter from the Chancellor concerning Quick Response: Codes on Memorials is also available here.

The Petition to apply for a Faculty for a Memorial outside the 2013 Rules and Notes of Guidance may be downloaded.

Guidance to clergy, monumental masons and members of the public concerning the introduction and placing of memorials is available from the Faculty Secretary and the DAC Secretary.

The reservation of a space for the burial of a body or cremated remains

A faculty is required and guidance is available from the Faculty Secretary.

For guidance on any of the above, contact the Faculty Secretary either by writing to the Registry or e-mailing registry@lf-dt.com.

The following documents may be downloaded, including application forms with notes of guidance about procedure and fees:

The Archbishop of York's and Chancellor's Statement: This Church, its fixtures, furnishings and contents and the churchyard 114kb
Churchyard Memorial Rules 2013 121kb
Churchyard Memorial Rules 2013 - application form 22kb
Guidance on various Churchyard matters from the Chancellor of the Diocese 81kb
Churchyard Plans and Records Regulations 1992 69kb
Churchyards: Broken and Dangerous Gravestones
When is a Faculty required? 110kb
List of Matters not Requiring a Faculty (Practice Direction 2011 No 1) 99kb
Trees in Churchyards Practice Direction 2012 No 1 63kb
Trees: Petition for Faculty concerning tree(s) in a churchyard or consecrated burial ground
Application for an Interim Faculty - (Practice Direction 2014 No 1) 31kb
Theft of lead and lead flashings - (Practice Direction 2014 No 2) 232kb
Reservation of a space for a grave - petition form 26kb
Reservation of a space for a grave - notes of guidance 45kb
Reservation of a space for a double depth burial for 2 coffins - petition form 26kb
Reservation of a space for a double depth burial for 2 coffins - notes of guidance 46kb
Reservation of a space for cremated remains - petition form 41kb
Reservation of a space for cremated remains - notes of guidance 45kb
Erection or placing of a memorial outside the Churchyard Memorial Rules 2013 - petition form 57kb
Erection or placing of a memorial outside the Churchyard Memorial Rules 2013 - notes of guidance 47kb
Parochial Fees (Diocese of York) Order 2013 66kb
Emergency work: procedure for an application for an Interim Faculty 39kb
Judgment Beverley St Nicholas - removal of redundant heating system, demolish redundant boiler house, install a new new heating system with associated necessary works, including the removal (to storage) of some pews (17/10/06) 56kb
Judgment Sledmere, St Mary - to exhume two coffin burials (1919 and 1930) (10/01/07) 39kb
Judgment Bramham, All Saints - for re-ordering to move font, introduce a kitchenette and cupboards, re-ordering vestry (24/05/07) 27kb
Judgment Drypool, St Columba - to confirm the restoration of the mural "Christ in Glory" (1960) (06/09/08) 60kb
Judgment Newington, St John the Baptist - for the demolition of the Lady Chapel, major re-ordering of south aisle, construction of new buildings in curtilage to the church and on site of demolished Lady Chapel to provide new Youth Centre (30/11/09)