Churches and Livings etc.
Posted by John W on June 18, 1998 at 05:08:54:
In response to Vicars and Livings, written by Captain Everett on June 17, 1998 at 23:47:48
Originally, each parish was the same in area as the feudal village it served, and co-extensive with the area controlled by the Manorial Court. The church might be built by the Lord of the Manor, but he then gave it to the local Church, while perhaps retaining the right to nominate the priest (or Parson or Rector, all the same thing) or, if he was pious, giving the right to the diocese or to a local religious house . (If he wanted a private chapel in his manor he might have that as well, but the public church had to belong to a priest of the Church). Each parish was supported by tithes from its people, and perhaps from the income from land called Glebe land deeded to the church. This income was not personal to the priest at this time but was a community resource for the poor, local education and the upkeep of the church.
This is the classical situation, modified in ex-Celtic areas by the Minster system in which large areas were served by collegiate priests, and much altered by later events.
In particular, Abbeys and Monasteries acquired lands ,including parishes, by will or Royal grant and impropriated the tithes--treated them as income of the central house--putting a Vicar with a stipend, wages , in place of the Rector. Lay landowners also found out how to do this.
In English law, once the rector or vicar was installed, the freehold of the church and churchyard and any glebe belonged to him-- the so-called Parson's Freehold. It was the right to nominate a holder to what was often a valuable source of income which was traded, advertised in the papers, or as in JA, given as a valuable favour to a friend.
The situation is later complicated by further episodes of church building, ecclesiastical reform and the eventual buying-out of tithes by the State, and by the use of the Parish until modern times as the basic unit of English local government, but this accounts for the main features.
- Thank you, both ~nfm~ Lou 13:41:02 6/18/98 (0)
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