Church buildings

The Diocese of Lincoln is blessed with some of the most important and impressive church buildings anywhere in the country. They are the most visible and often the most physically impressive expression of our Christian heritage and the faith that they represent. They are principally living centres of mission and worship. Parishes work hard in trying to maintain their buildings and it is the job of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (DAC) to help them in this important task.

Faculty Jurisdiction and the function of the DAC

The Church of England is exempt from parts of the secular planning process with regard to Listed Building Consent because the Faculty Jurisdiction takes its place. A parish may need a faculty for significant repair work, for reordering or for extending a building. Faculties also give formal permission for the purchase or disposal of items: this formal permission is necessary to ensure that any new items are in keeping, and protects any items which are of particular value or significance from being disposed of inappropriately.

Every diocese has, by law, to have a Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC). The DAC advises the Chancellor of the Diocese on the merits of each faculty application to help him decide whether it should be granted. It is the Chancellor who grants the faculty.

The DAC is a made up of volunteers appointed by the Bishop of Lincoln. Most of the members are experts in their chosen field. The Committee also has specialist advisers who support the committee in matters such as organs, bells, monuments etc. The full list is lower down on this page.

The fees.

The legal aspects of processing a faculty incur a legal charge in accordance with The Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2019.   The faculty fee as from 1 January 2022 is £317 and will be payable by the parish except where the application is for a private petition for example grave space reservation, churchyard monuments outside the incumbent’s jurisdiction or the laying up of standards, or applications where a third party (i.e. not the PCC or incumbent) would be obliged to pay, for example works to a closed churchyard where the local council would pay and Variations to works permitted by an existing faculty. Where the work is a consequence of lead theft the LDTBF will continue to cover the fees.

List A and List B applications do not incur a fee. There continues to be no fee for seeking the advice of the DAC or any of its advisers.


It is possible that additional costs could be incurred if the Registrar and Chancellor are required to undertake significant additional work on any given faculty application over and above what is normally required. For example:


  • the application becomes complicated
  • objections are received or there is a requirement for a court hearing or written representations.
  • the faculty is for a particularly large re-ordering scheme


Any additional costs incurred will be payable by the petitioners.

How do I contact the DAC?

The DAC is administered by the DAC SecretarySteven Sleight (Tel: 01522 504069) and Assistant DAC Secretary, Peter Duff (Tel: 01522 504045), who manage its day-to-day work and are the first point of contact for any parish wishing to make alterations to their church building or churchyard. If you are contemplating work to your church building, its contents or the churchyard then please do get in contact with them as early as possible.  

Please also see below for details of the faculty process and the Online Faculty System.

Site visits (free of charge) can be arranged and are usually best carried out early in the process so that the most appropriate solution can be discussed and to avoid costly changes or delays later in the process. These can be arranged through the DAC officers.

The DAC does not have the power to grant Faculty approval; that is in the hands of the Chancellor of the Diocese. Once the completed application has been considered at a full DAC meeting, the DAC will either:

  • recommend it to the Chancellor or
  • not recommend it or,
  • in certain cases, where the DAC members neither wish to support nor reject it, they may say no objection

Despite common perceptions, the DAC recommends the vast majority of applications it is asked to consider.   Nevertheless, even in the event that the DAC – or Historic England or one of the amenity societies – could not recommend a piece of 

work, the Chancellor always makes the final decision and may grant a faculty anyway.  The Chancellor cannot overrule the requirement of planning permission.  

You will be advised of the DAC decision, as soon as is practically possible, after the DAC meeting at which your application has been considered.

The DAC can also offer advice on the appointment of architects for works on churches and for undertaking Quinquennial Inspections.

Quinquennial Inspections

At its meeting on 23 April, Diocesan Synod agreed a new Scheme for the inspection of churches in the Diocese of Lincoln.   This new Scheme was needed to bring our current approach in line with current legislative requirements.   The good news is that it by and large doesn’t change the practice that the Diocese has been following over recent years.

Please find a copy of the scheme here

A list of professional advisers will be added here very shortly as will a guide on how to work with your professional adviser with a template of a report for them to follow.

And - for a video of the wider work of the DAC why not watch this presentation to Diocesan Synod (8th May 2021) by the Chair and the Vice Chair of the DAC, regarding recent works overseen by the committee:

What do I need to do if I am maintaining or altering a church building or churchyard?

The first step is to decide what category your work falls into, whether your proposed work is List A or List B or whether it needs full Faculty permission.  Many minor works will need no permission (List A) or will simply require the authorisation of the Archdeacon (List B).   You can check which is the most appropriate by looking through the Lists. If the works you propose to undertake do not appear in either of the Lists then it will require a full faculty.

Most applications have to be made through the Online Faculty System.  

A guide to the process of obtaining a Faculty can be found in this simple flow chart.

Please note that any applications that are time limited (i.e. have a deadline for grant funding) should be reported to the DAC Secretary by telephone (01522 504069) or email [email protected] as soon as possible after submitting your application on the Online Faculty System.  This is to ensure that the DAC is aware of the time restrictions in place for the application.   It goes without saying that the earlier the application is made the better.

Depending upon the work you wish to undertake you may have to consult Historic England, the Church Buildings Council or one of the National Amenity Societies.   The DAC will guide you if this is necessary.   If you are proposing exterior changes to the building then you may still need to apply for planning permission as well as a faculty; again, the DAC will guide you if this is the case.

You will find guidance notes for all aspects of church maintenance or development on the Churchcare website, which should help in your deliberations.


Information on churchyard monuments and their care can be found here. 

Churchyard regulations

Church Memorials

Memorial plaques

Churchyard monument application form

Please note that the Lincoln DAC will expect parishes to have considered the Church of England’s environmental target, to be carbon neutral by 2030, before submitting all future applications.  The Lincoln DAC has produced a wide-ranging set of environmental guidance notes.


In cases of any emergency to do with church buildings, outside office hours, please contact your Archdeacon:

Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey (07809 521995)

Archdeacon of Lincoln (07590 950041)

Archdeacon of Boston (07715 077993)

Who are the Members of the DAC?

The DAC comprises a chair, the archdeacons of the diocese and not less than 12 other members who are experts in their own fields - and who offer their skills on an entirely voluntary basis:

The Revd Elaine Turner – Chair

The Venerable Gavin J Kirk – Archdeacon – ex officio

The Venerable Dr Justine Allain Chapman – Archdeacon – ex officio

Mr Carl Andrews – Architect

Ms Rhiannon Clarricoates - Conservator

Mr Graham Cook – Architect

Mr Ian Marshman - Archaeology

Ms Sarah Harrison – Conservation Officers Nominee

Mr Lee Holmes – Historic Buildings Consultant

Mrs Susan Leadbetter – Laity and Vice Chair

Mr Chris Mackintosh-Smith - Architect

The Revd Lorna Brabin-Smith – Clergy

Mr Richard Taylor – Heating and Electrical

The Revd Kevin Dyke – Clergy

Mr Adam Kelk - Laity

Professor David Stocker – Joint Amenity Society Nominee


In addition, the committee has advisors to assist in areas of specialist knowledge:

Dr Ed Swain - Clocks

Dr Nicholas Bennett - Books and Manuscripts

PC John Manuel - Security

Mr Robin Heppenstall - Bells

Mr Paul Hale – Organs

Mr Tom Küpper – Stained Glass

Mr Nigel Leaney – Paint

Dr John Lord - Monuments      

Mrs Mary Sleigh - Textiles

These advisors are also available to assist parishes and give their time and advice free of charge. The members and advisors are willing to visit churches to meet with the PCC and discuss requirements and ideas prior to detailed schemes being drawn up. This initial contact is important to ensure that PCCs have the best advice possible and that time and resources are used to best advantage in the faculty process. There is no charge for such visits.  

DAC Meeting Dates 2022

The dates when the DAC meet are listed below.

Please note that the deadline for agenda items is two weeks before the date of the meeting.

Wednesday 16th March

Thursday 5th May

Wednesday 8th June

Wednesday 6th July

Wednesday 7th September

Tuesday 11th October

Wednesday 9th November

Thursday 8th December

Agenda items and queries
Email: [email protected]

Historic churches support

Regular maintenance is key in keeping our historic churches in good repair. For information, advice and support for parishes which are experiencing difficulties working with their church building, funding applications, planning support on conservation projects, and help to understand the history of your building, please e-mail the Historic Churches Support Officer - Matthew Godfrey or phone him on 01522 504048. 

The ChurchCare website includes information on sources of funding – this is available here

The National Churches Trust publishes a list of major grant funders – this is available here.

Church Development

It is becoming increasingly important for a church building to be used for more than just Sunday morning worship. If you would like advice on open and welcoming churches, welcoming visitors, expanding the use of church buildings, and how to initiate, build upon and sustain community-focused activities and events, including arts and heritage projects, and improving intellectual access to the church building through interpretation, then please contact the Church Development Officer, Fran Bell on 01522504018 or via email here 

The department is here to help and serve all those who care for church buildings throughout greater Lincolnshire. The department offers monthly surgery dates for parishes to book an hour to come and talk about any aspect of their work with which they would like help. Surgery dates and booking information will appear here in due course.

Church Building Surgeries go digital

Do you have repair works that have been flagged up in a Quinquennial Inspection, realise that you need to re-order to make the building more useable by more people when we can open fully again or have always wanted to know how to interpret your church building but didn’t know where to start?  

Matthew Godfrey, Historic Churches Support Officer and Fran Bell, Church Development Officer from the Church Buildings Team continue to run surgeries, where parishes can book an hour long slot to talk about anything church building related.  

Whilst we cannot meet you in person at the moment, we can arrange to meet you via Zoom. Get in contact to book a digital appointment.  We might not be able to make you a cup of tea or offer you the team biscuit tin at the moment, but we can still listen and offer advice so that your church building project runs smoothly.

Please e-mail Fran Bell for an appointment. 

We currently have a project called 'Building Capacity in the Rural Parish Church', supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which trains volunteers in the art of writing grant applications for churches in the some of the most rural areas of the diocese.

Further Advice

The Church Buildings Council has advice notes on many aspects of church building, furnishings and fittings. 

There are also examples and guidance on preparing the necessary Statements of Significance and Need

Other documents that may be useful include:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches

Guidance for churches and cathedrals on access to their buildings for construction work during lockdown 

Guidance for PCCs, incumbents and cathedral Chapters: opening church buildings for works to the building and interior