Diocese of Sodor and Man

Sodor and Man Diocesan Registry

Faculty Procedure — Exhumation

  This guidance is for private persons who wish to apply for a faculty to permit the exhumation of human remains (including cremated remains) for reinterment elsewhere.

See separate notes:


Christian burial assumes that the burial of the dead is permanent. The presumption in law and theology is that human remains buried in consecrated land are entrusted into the safekeeping and custody of the Church for ever. So permission to authorise an exhumation is rare.

The remains of the dead, including cremated remains, buried in consecrated ground are under the protection of the Vicar General (the judge of the ecclesiastical court of the Isle of Man). They may not be exhumed except by authority of a faculty (the formal permission of the Vicar General).

In deciding an application for a faculty for exhumation, the Vicar General applies the principles laid down by the Court of Arches (the ecclesiastical appeal court) in the case of Re Blagdon Cemetery. These are summarised in the application form (see below); the full case can be found here.

If the remains are not to be reinterred in consecrated ground, the licence of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture must also be obtained. The address of the Department is:

Environmental & Public Health Unit
Thie Slieau Whallian
Foxdale Road
St John's IM4 3AS

Application for a Faculty

The application for a faculty must be made in writing to the Diocesan Registry by the executor(s) or the next-of-kin of the deceased. If for some reason the application is lodged by a person who is not an executor or the next-of-kin, an explanation must be given.

The address of the Registry is:

Sodor and Man Diocesan Registry
Stamford House
York YO1 9PP

The applicant should send the following to the Registry:

The applicant should take care to complete the application form in full, and to sign and date it. If the form is incomplete, or is not accompanied by all the required documents, it will be returned to the applicant for completion in full; this will delay the process.

If assistance is required in completing the application, please either email the Registry Assistant or telephone 01904 623487.


There are fees payable on lodging an application for faculty; failure to send the fees with the application will delay the process. Please staple two cheques to the application form as follows:

£227.00 made payable to "Sodor and Man Diocesan Registry" (the Registrar's fee)
£55.00 made payable to "Mr W H Connell" (the Vicar-General's fee)

Consideration of application

After the application has been lodged in the Registry, it will be sent to the Vicar General for his decision. It is the Vicar General who decides whether a faculty should be granted. The faculty is the legal authority for the exhumation..

If a faculty is not granted, the fees will not be returned.

June 2017