The Church of England, a church firmly rooted in feudalism and with a prominent place in Britain’s feudal constitution, is not ashamed to take advantage of its feudal privileges. One unfortunate couple found this out when the Anglicans decided to use a feudal law to extract £230,00 from them to repair one of its churches.
Gail and Andrew Wallbank also lost £250,000 in legal expenses as the Anglicans fought for the money all the way to the supreme court.
Gail Wallbank inherited Glebe Farm in the 1980s. In 1990 the Parochial Church Council wrote to them demanding that they pay for the repair of a part of the local church building known as a chancel.
The Church could make this demand because of a medieval law that required local people to contribute to the upkeep of the church. The Wallbanks’ farm included 7 acres of land that still had that requirement attached to it. It has been estimated that there are 3.5m more acres that are covered by similar requirements that the state church could enforce to boost its finances
The couple believed that if they paid the Church of England it would come back year after year for more. So instead of playing the part of serfs, as the feudal Church demanded, they fought all the way in the courts.
After 18 years of litigation the feudal Church beat the Wallbanks in another feudal institution, the House of Lords. Until 2009 the supreme court was a part of that legislative chamber.
The “Law Lords” overruled an Appeal Court decision that the Church had breached the Wallbanks’ human rights with its unreasonable demands for money. Because Parochial Church Councils, although part of a state church, are not considered to be public bodies they are exempt from human rights guarantees said the highest court of appeal.
When they lost the Wallbanks had to sell their home to meet pay the Church and their legal fees
Gail Wallbank told the Daily Express that what the Anglicans had done was “completely against Christian principles”.