18 May 2001
Farmers not liable for church repairs

By FWi staff

THE Court of Appeal has ruled that a farming couple do not have to pay almost 100,000 to repair their ancient parish church, reports The Guardian.

Powys sheep farmers Andrew and Gail Wallbank faced the bill as “lay rectors” of Glebe Farm, Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire, which they rent out.

This ancient title is granted to landowners who, after the Reformation, bore the burden for church repairs in return for tithes.

Three appeal judges ruled that an obscure law, based on medieval customs, contravened the European convention on human rights.

There are an estimated 5000 lay rectors in Britain.

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