Guide to
Faculty Applications


Churches are local centres of worship and mission. The churches in England represent a unique part of our heritage. We must therefore take great care to preserve them and their contents for future generations, and to bring about necessary change in a professional and sympathetic way.

There is a presumption against change to historic (i.e. listed) churches unless it can be shown that such changes are necessary to enable the church to fulfil this role. Then a balance has to be struck between the role of the church and the history of the building.

For the Church of England, Faculty Jurisdiction (revised in 2015, with new Rules from the 1st January 2016) provides the legal framework for ecclesiastical permission for works to churches and churchyards and their contents. This currently gives exemption from Listed Building Consent but not from Planning Permission for alterations, which all churches need, in common with secular buildings. Faculty Jurisdiction covers all works, including the introduction or disposal of items, repairs and maintenance, as well as more major changes.

An important provision in the new Rules is that there should be consultation with appropriate secular authorities where changes to a listed building are proposed.

The purpose of this leaflet is to describe how the procedure for obtaining a 'faculty' (or permission) works in this diocese, so that applications are ‘right first time’ and can be processed with the minimum of delay for whoever is seeking permission.


List A (formerly known as "minor works")
This provides a single list for all Dioceses, for works which may be undertaken without a faculty, subject to any condition specified. Please check with the DAC Secretary or Archdeacon before any work is undertaken. Click this link for a Full list of 'A' and 'B' works. It is a relatively short list, intended to cover the simplest of routine maintenance and repair tasks. Works to trees are deliberately restricted in scope because significant work to trees raises issues of compliance with planning legislation and is often controversial

List B (new category)
This is entirely new, although it includes some of the matters which were delegated by chancellors to archdeacons. This new category requires the written consent of archdeacons before works can be undertaken. Consent will be in the form of an Archdeacon's Written Notice (Rule 3.3). Click this link for a Full list of 'A' and 'B' works. Archdeacons must seek the advice of the DAC before deciding to give notice; information about the proposed works will need to be appropriately detailed (see point 7 below). Archdeacons may grant consent subject to Conditions if so advised by the DAC. A copy of the Written Notice will be sent to the DAC secretary and the Diocesan Registrar. If an archdeacon considers that works do not fall within List A or B he / she must inform the applicants that they may, if they wish, petition the Chancellor for a full faculty to authorise the proposal (see below).

A faculty is required for all matters not covered by either List A or B. In general this will include works of repair, maintenance and changes (e.g. WCs and kitchens) to a church or its contents where they are likely to affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. Generally, applications for a faculty are made by the incumbent and church-wardens on behalf of the PCC. Private petitions can be made as well, typically for gravestones, monuments or reservation of grave spaces.
The decision to grant a faculty is made by the Chancellor of the Diocese, acting on the advice of the DAC. Applications should be made in the first instance through the DAC Secretary, (except for grave space reservation and exhumations - see 8 below) There are no fees for a standard faculty; fees will be charged for retrospective and / or private petitions.

Other consents
Experimental re-ordering can be carried out under Archdeacon's Licence (valid for up to 15 months) - consent given by Form 13. No material alteration of fabric or contents is permissible, nor the disposal of fixtures or articles. If a faculty to make the changes permanent is not applied for the position must be restored to that which existed before the scheme was implemented.

In cases of genuine urgency (e.g. storm damage), it is possible for the Chancellor to give temporary permission (an Interim Faculty) at short notice. Contact should be made with the DAC Secretary or the Registrar in the first instance.

Removal of an article to a place of safety can be authorised by an archdeacon - a faculty confirming the removal must be petitioned for within 28 days.

You should not begin any works or enter into any arrangements for which you are seeking a faculty until you receive the faculty itself from the registrar, or the Written Notice from the archdeacon.

Further Information

1. The Chancellor of the Diocese is Judge Roger Kaye QC. In cases of emergency he can be contacted through the Diocesan Registrar. The DAC exists to advise the Chancellor and applicants for faculties on the proposals put forward. It aims to work with the parishes and others to help them to bring before the Chancellor proposals which both meet their needs and are likely to be acceptable to Historic England (formerly English Heritage) and the amenities societies. The DAC is made up of experts in a variety of fields related to church practice, buildings and contents, but it is for the Registrar and the Chancellor to interpret the law.

2. The DAC Secretary is Mr Stephen Challenger who is based at the Diocesan Office, Hereford, telephone number 01432 373300, fax: 01432 352952, e-mail s.challenger@hereford.anglican.org contact him for early advice, help in preparing submissions, and procedures.

3. The Diocesan Registrar is Howard Dellar, 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JT. Tel: 020 7222 5381. The Registrar processes the petitions, issues the faculties and advises on complex issues. All enquiries should be addressed in the first instance to the Registry Clerk, Mrs Susan Black (susan.black@1thesanctuary.com).

4. Every parish must appoint an Inspecting Architect or Surveyor, chosen by the PCC from the approved list and agreed with the DAC, to inspect its building every five years. The List may be obtained from the DAC Secretary. The Architect or Surveyor should be consulted about all but minor matters and will normally be the architect for all major alterations or extensions.

5. Planning permission is likely to be required if there is to be a material change to the external appearance of the building, and the PCC should contact the Local Authority Conservation Officer for their advice. In addition, for alterations to a listed building which may affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest, for works involving demolition affecting the exterior of an unlisted building in a conservation area or for works likely to affect the archaeological importance of the church or archaeological remains within the church or its curtilage, there must be consultation with Historic England, the relevant national amenity society and the local planning authority at the same time as consultations with the DAC. The DAC secretary will advise whom to consult and will coordinate this on behalf of the PCC.. Some works may require consultation with the Church Buildings Council; this will also be done by the DAC Secretary on behalf of the parish.

6. The DAC will make a site visit to look at all major proposals with representatives of the parish and the architect. All major proposals (and it is good practice for all applications) must be accompanied by:

  • a Statement of Significance - which summarises the historical development of the church and identifies its important features.
  • a Statement of Needs - setting out the reasons (justification) for the changes

The DAC Secretary can provide a recommended template for this purpose. At the end of the process the DAC will recommend, make no objection to, or not recommend a faculty for all or part of the proposals. If the DAC considers that proposals will have an adverse effect on the fabric or appearance of the church it will inform the parish and ask them to reconsider or provide additional information. In some cases the DAC will not recommend a faculty, and its decision will be explained.

7. Here is a check-list to help you in submitting detailed proposals to the DAC:

  • A statement giving the complete details of the proposed works
  • Plans, specifications, quotations, photographs and drawings (with wiring diagrams and pipe routes) showing the current and proposed locations for all proposals involving re-ordering, extensions, lighting, sound systems, heating systems, plaques, Gardens of Remembrance, building works, etc. (two copies to be submitted)
  • Samples and colour of new items, including carpets and textiles
  • Details of contractors
  • If the proposed works are likely to affect the organ, an electrical installation, or the security of the building against fire, vandalism, theft or other risks, a letter from the Insurance office concerned stating that the work has their consent
  • For significant changes to a listed church, the PCC must provide a Statement of Needs (why the works are necessary for the worship and mission of the church) and a Statement of Significance (why the church building is historically important and what the effects of the proposals would be). A template is available at www.churchcare.co.uk or from the DAC Secretary.

8. Faculties for exhumation or the reservation of grave spaces (which are normally private, rather than PCC petitions), are dealt with directly by the Registrar. Application should be made on forms available from the Registry at www.hereforddiocesanregistry.co.uk .


Contact DAC Secretary

Major changes: alterations, extensions
- Consult your architect
- Consult within PCC and local community
- Ask for DAC site visit
- Consult Archdeacon
- Consult Planning & Amenity Societies
- Consult Historic England
- Prepare outline proposals

Consult DAC on proposals
- Submit outline proposals to DAC
- Prepare detailed proposals in consultation with architect, PCC, DAC, Planning and Amenity Societies

Put detailed proposals to DAC
- Discuss with DAC; revise as advised
- Continue discussion with PCC and parish, if appropriate
- Obtain planning consent (if needed) in parallel
- Obtain formal advice and petition papers from DAC

Petition the Chancellor
- Aim to get proposals 'right first time'
- Submit petition to Registrar with DAC advice
- Display public notices for 28 days (minimum) at the church
- Permissions granted (or not) with or without conditions

Start work
- Only when the faculty has been received from the Registrar
- Works should be completed within the time limit or extension sought


Contact DAC Secretary for advice about consent