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Memorial Tablets in Churches

The relatives of a deceased person sometimes ask if they may put a memorial tablet into a church. It is sometimes the case that no one else wants the tablet, but incumbents, churchwardens and Parochial Church Councils are naturally reluctant to say so, and sometimes support an application which they really wish had not been made.

Churches are not primarily repositories for family memorials, and tablets are often neither beautiful in themselves nor of interest to anyone other than the family of the deceased. On the other hand, if a tablet is to be erected, it should contain more than merely a statement of the name and dates of the person commemorated.

No tablet may be placed in a church without a faculty from the Consistory Court, and the ultimate decision as to whether to grant a faculty is for the Chancellor alone.

A faculty will not generally be granted unless:

  • the person to be commemorated has an obvious connection with the church or the parish, going beyond that of a person who has worshipped in the church or lived in the parish;
  • the public display of the memorial is in some way educative or inspirational; and
  • the memorial is doctrinally sound;
  • it is artistically an adornment to the church.
  • As a safeguard against a premature application, a faculty is unlikely to be granted until at least twelve months after the death of the person to be commemorated.