Faculty matters and governance

Faculty matters and governance

The Registrar is Louise Connacher and the Faculty Secretary is Alice Bracken.

Alice Bracken may be contacted by writing to Diocesan Registry, Stamford House, Piccadilly, York YO1 9PP, by telephone on 01904 561 435 or by e-mail to registryyork@luptonfawcett.law. The main number for the York Provincial & Diocesan Registry is 01904 623 487.
For a full list of faculty documents issued by the Diocesan Registry please see the FAQs below.

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 2015. 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 (the DAC) and consideration of representations from statutory consultees or objections received in response to public notice. Certain work, as set out in List A may be carried out without faculty permission. Work set out in List B does not require faculty permission but does require the Archdeacon’s permission. More information about works on List A and List B is available on the DAC web pages www.dioceseofyork.org.uk/dac  or from the Registry.

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.

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. The Registry staff can provide information and guidance on the legal position and good practice in this area.

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.

Emergency work

The procedure for an interim Faculty enables emergency works to be put in hand before a Faculty has been issued. A Practice Direction Application for an Interim Faculty sets out the circumstances where such an application is appropriate and the procedure for applying for an interim faculty.

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 (Catherine Copp 01904 699522 catherine.copp@yorkdiocese.org)

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 Regulations 2018. Application to the minister must be made on the Application Form. A faculty is required for a memorial which is outside the Churchyard Memorial Regulations 2018, or if the minister in charge declines to deal with the application. The Rules should be read in conjunction with Guidance on Various Matters from the Chancellor (see below). Some parishes have been given permission by the Chancellor to amend certain aspects of the Churchyard Memorial Regulations 2018 in relation to their churchyards; a list of the parishes where such permission has been given can be found here.

The Petition to apply for a Faculty for a Memorial outside the 2018 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

For guidance on any of the above, contact the Faculty Secretary either by writing to the Registry or e-mailing registryyork@luptonfawcett.law.

What are the guidelines to be applied by the minister in charge of a churchyard when considering a request for a memorial?

It is important to recognise that the next of kin of the deceased do not own the land in which a body is buried. The family of the deceased has no proprietorial rights over the grave and lawful authority must first be obtained before a memorial is placed upon the land. This lawful authority is in the form of a faculty granted by the Chancellor or by permission under the Churchyard Memorial Regulations 2018 given by the minister in charge of the churchyard.

Further information can be found in The Churchyard Memorial Regulations 2018 and in the document “Guidance on Various Churchyard Matters from the Chancellor of the Diocese”.

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

    Is a faculty required (a) to fit a lightning conductor and (b) to regularly maintain it?

    (a) The installation of a lightning conductor is work included in List B in the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015. Work in List B requires the permission of the Archdeacon. The parochial church council’s insurers must be informed of the proposal and the work must be carried out by a specialist contractor approved by the insurer.

    (b) Work to an existing lightning conductor, including works of maintenance is included in List A in the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015. This work does not require permission as long as the parochial church council’s insurers are informed of the proposed work and the work is carried out by a specialist contractor approved by the insurer. If it is not possible to comply with these conditions, faculty permission is required. Even though this is List A work, parishes are encouraged to discuss the proposed work with Catherine Copp, the DAC Secretary, on an informal basis. This ensures that no issues arise in connection with the work that would require faculty permission. Parishes are encouraged to log the proposed work on the online faculty system for record-keeping purposes. Parishes that do not currently use the online system are encouraged to sign up for it. Catherine Copp can provide further details of the online system.

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