On chancel repair liability

I was fascinated to read about chancel repair liability the other day. Simply put, some ancient laws that nobody bothered to repeal since the Norman Conquest mean that your local C of E church might be able to slap you with a bill for some of their repairs if you own a house on their patch.

As joint treasurer of a church myself (though a Reformed one, not C of E), the thing that struck me most about this was the appalling arrogance of the church in the cited case which bought all this up back in 2003. Sure, Saint Columba's could do with ninety grand for a new heating system, but even if there were some archaic law that allowed us to send the bill to our neighbours, would we really do that? Let alone pursue it all the way to court and make them pay our legal costs too. OK, so one of our neighbours is Oxford University's richest college, but even so I find it impossible to imagine we'd sanction that sort of thing.

And they wonder why people percieve the church as arrogant, stuck in the past and unfriendly...