Church court to decide grave appeal battle

UNUSUAL HEARING: St Lawrence's Church in Longridge
UNUSUAL HEARING: St Lawrence's Church in Longridge
Share this article
Have your say

A church court will determine whether a non-parishioner can reserve a grave next to her relative.

Blackburn Cathedral Canon Andrea Titterington’s request for the plot at St Lawrence’s Church in Longridge has raised objections from parishioners and a refusal from the parochial church council.

The vicar, the Rev David Anderson said: “One of the main reasons was the limited amount of burial space in the churchyard for Longridge people. The lady concerned has taken the matter to the diocese and applied for a private faculty. In light of the large number of objections, there is to be an open court hearing at St Lawrence’s Church.”

Chancellor of the Diocese, former barrister and retired circuit judge, the Worshipful John W Bullimore, will preside at the hearing next Tuesday, March 11 at 10.30am. Also present will be several speakers, and the vicar added “anyone is welcome to attend this case which could have significant implications for our churchyard here in Longridge.”

The conistory, or open court to be held at St Lawrence’s Church in Longridge next Tuesday, is a very unusual event for a parish church.

They do take place occasionally, however. Between 2007 and 2009, four were held in the Blackburn diocese.

A diocesan spokesman explained that all consecrated land - church buildings, consecrated burial grounds, churchyards and other consecrated buildings - is subject to the jurisdiction of the consistory court.

The consistory court conducts itself in a similar way to civil court proceedings.

Both the petitioner and the objectors submit written statements and then give oral evidence at the hearing. Cross examination may take place and the Chancellor can pose questions to both parties.