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Court grants permission for repositioning of war memorial in Liverpool church

26 April 2024

Phil Nash/Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 & GFDL

The porch of All Saints’, Childwall

The porch of All Saints’, Childwall

THE Consistory Court of the diocese of Liverpool has granted permission for a war memorial to be moved from the porch of All Saints’, Childwall, and to be repositioned on the wall of the west end of the church.

All Saints’ is a Grade I listed building, and is the oldest church in Liverpool, dating back to the 14th century. It is situated in the Childwall Abbey conservation area. The churchyard contains graves of notable significance, including that of the first bishop of Liverpool, Bishop John Ryle. As the oldest church in the city, All Saints’ has many visitors and research students from the nearby Liverpool Hope University.

The porch is the main entrance, and is situated on the south side of the church. The war memorial is in the style of a large wooden wall cabinet with hinged doors. The names of 33 of the fallen in the Great War were listed on the interior of the doors of the memorial, each with the year, between 1915 and 1919, in which they died. The names of 25 who fell in the Second World War were inscribed on the main face of the memorial, with a cross and the words “Greater love hath no man than this”.

The proposal to move the war memorial was supported by the DAC, as well as the parishioners, and there had been no objections in response to public notices. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the petition for the faculty was unopposed, the Consistory Court was required, by law, to undertake an assessment of the extent of any harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest, which might result from the implementation of the proposals in the application for the faculty.

If the carrying out of those proposals would result in harm to the building, the court then had to consider whether any resulting public benefit from the grant of the faculty outweighed the harm. In reaching its decision, the court also had to have regard to the part played by the church as a local centre of worship and mission.

The Deputy Chancellor, District Judge Ian Knifton, said that he had little difficulty in answering that question, and was satisfied that the proposals would not result in significant harm. On the contrary, the proposal would “benefit the church as not only will the memorial no longer be exposed to the weather”, it would also be a “focal point in Remembrance services as well as for quiet reflection in remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the two world wars”.

The Deputy Chancellor said that, if he were wrong in that assessment, he was satisfied that the “harm” would be “negligible”. There would be no damage to the church building if the work of repositioning the memorial was undertaken by a qualified contractor. In its proposed new position, the war memorial would “not detract from the beauty of the interior of the church”, the Deputy Chancellor said.

The faculty was granted on the basis that the works were undertaken in accordance with the recommendations of the DAC, and were completed within three months.

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