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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 July, 2004, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Rector 'sorry' for church revamp
A vicar appearing at a rare Church of England Court has apologised for renovating a church without permission.

Rev Nigel di Castiglione made changes in August to St Mary and All Saints in Trentham, Staffs, where he is rector.

The Consistory Court heard how the vicar moved a font and authorised a carpet to be laid on rare Minton tiles.

The court is meeting to decide whether to give belated planning permission. It could ask Mr di Castiglione to pay for any necessary restoration work.

'Wrongly done'

Two churchwardens at St Mary and All Saints, Mike Carter and Patricia Roberts, appeared alongside the rector at Lichfield Consistory Court.

Opening the case for the trio, Mr Bernard Thorogood said: "(They) recognise what was done in August without a faculty (permission) was wrongly done.

"Insofar as it is appropriate (we) apologise for that.

"From that, we recognise certain principles to follow in relation to cost."

Mr Thorogood went on to defend the need for the work carried out by Mr di Castiglione, including the relocation of the font.

'Dangerous font'

He explained to the court that the rector and the two churchwardens had always sought to do their best for their church.

"(They) have paid regard, in the past, to the heritage they have charge of.

This is an extremely anxious case and I will not delay long
Judge John Shand

"They have cleaned pictures, restored holy tables, coats of arms and the like."

Architect David Slade later told the court that the font was a "dangerous object", until it was moved by the rector.

Mr di Castiglione is seeking a Confirmatory Faculty, which is the ancient judicial body's equivalent of retrospective planning permission.

12th Century

Chancellor of the Lichfield Diocese, Judge John Shand, who is hearing the case, has the power to issue a Restoration Order.

Such an order could ask the vicar or his churchwardens to pay for the cost of any alterations to the Grade II* listed church, parts of which date back to the 12th Century.

Adjourning proceedings on Saturday, the judge said: "This is an extremely anxious case and I will not delay long."

He said he wanted to give "prayerful thought" to the issues, adding: "I am very conscious of the depth of feeling."

Vicar in court over church revamp
19 Feb 04  |  Shropshire

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