A STONEMASON, Daniel Mooney, who traced the lost grave of his
town's only holder of the Victoria Cross has been told that he must
remove the "unlawful" headstone that he erected to mark the burial
But Mr Mooney says that he has permission to install the stone
at Bridlington Priory, in east Yorkshire, and is refusing a
diocesan demand to take it down or pay £270 for a faculty.
He has written to his MP, Greg Knight, seeking support, and
plans an approach to the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, to ask him
to "stop this nonsense".
Mr Mooney and fellow members of the East Yorkshire Historical
Society spent eight years searching at the Priory through more than
1600 stones, which had been laid flat, before they discovered the
grave of Captain George Symons, who, in 1857, was the recipient of
one of the first VCs ever awarded.
About six years ago, Mr Mooney submitted the appropriate
paperwork to the then Rector, the Revd John Wardle, for the
erection of a headstone. As it was a private project, however,
carried out in his spare time, it was March last year before he was
able to erect the four-feet-tall Yorkstone memorial.
"Then, two weeks ago, out of the blue, we got a letter from a
lawyer saying we had unlawfully erected a headstone," Mr Mooney
said. "It said if we didn't submit a faculty by the end of this
month, we would have to take it down. I was gobsmacked.
"I have never had to have a faculty to put a stone up before,
and, in more than 40 years as a stonemason, I have put up more than
4000. Well, I am not going to remove it, and I am not paying for
Mr Mooney's wife, Lynne, said: "We do nothing on a headstone
without formal planning permission signed by the Vicar. We have a
copy and he has one, but I understand the Church has lost its copy.
. . I just wish the diocese showed some common sense."
Captain Symons, of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, won his VC
in the Crimean War at Sebastopol, in June 1855, for clearing a
Russian gun emplacement, despite being severely wounded.
The medal was created after the war ended: the first ones were
awarded in 1857.
In a statement, the diocese said: "Bridlington Priory is very
proud to have the grave of Captain Symons in the churchyard, and
there are already two memorials to him: a memorial stone from the
time of his death in the churchyard, and a monument in the
"Mr Mooney did not secure legal permission for his memorial
stone prior to installing it. Informal conversations with members
of the church had occurred on the matter, but Mr Mooney did not
follow these up with a formal request for legal permission to
install the stone.
"The PCC and [Rector] would very much like Mr Mooney to apply
for the faculty and to continue to honour the memory of Captain