Page images
PDF
EPUB

[deprived of their share of these tithes ; and when any advowsons were subsequently acquired by the monasteries, they appropriated to the use of their own corporations the benefices so acquired, together with all the endowments thereof, save only a small part, which they deemed sufficient for the officiating priest (f). And upon such an appropriation, the appropriators and their successors became the rectors, or perpetual parsons, of the church, so as to sue and be sued in all matters concerning the rights of the church, by the name of parsons (g). And when, by the Acts of 1535 and 1539, the monasteries were dissolved, the appropriations which belonged to them respectively,—amounting (it has been said) to more than one-third of all the parishes in England, -were given to the king in as ample a manner as the appropriators held the same at the time of their dissolution ; and many of the appropriations so vested in the Crown by the effect of these several dissolutions, being afterwards from time to time granted out by the Crown to subjects, are now in the hands of lay persons, who are usually styled, by way of distinction, lay impropriators, though the term appropriators is, in strictness, as applicable to these as to the original holders (I).

Appropriations (whether spiritual or lay) are capable of being severed, so that the church may become disappropriate. For if the appropriator presents a clerk, who is instituted and inducted to the rectory, that incumbent so instituted and inducted is to all intents and purposes a complete parson : and the appropriation, being once severed, can never be reunited again, unless by a repetition of the same solemnities (i).]

(1) Grendon v. Bishop of Lincoln (1576), Plowd. 496—500.

(9) Wright v. Gerard (1618), Hob. 307; and see 27 Hen. 8 (1536), c 28 ; and 31 Hen. 8 (1539), c. 13.

(h) Burn, Eccl. Law, vol. i. 66 ; Spelm. Tithes, ch. 29.

(i) Co. Litt. 46 ; see also the Somersham Rectory Act, 1882 (45 & 46 Vict. c. 81), converting that rectory into a vicarage.

In lay appropriations, there is generally a spiritual person attached to the same church, under the name of vicar, to whom the spiritual duty, or cure of souls (as it is termed), belongs; and to whom a certain portion of the tithes or other emoluments of the church is assigned, by way of exception out of those enjoyed by the appropriator. The origin of vicars was as follows (k):

[The appropriating corporations or religious houses were wont to depute one of their own body to perform divine service, and to adminster the sacraments ; and this officiating minister, or deputy, was in reality the mere vicegerent of the appropriator, and was therefore called vicar (vicarius) (1). His stipend was at the discretion of the appropriator, who was, however, bound of common right to find somebody (m); but this was done in so scandalous a manner, and the parishes suffered so much by the neglect of the appropriators, that the legislature was forced to interpose. Accordingly, by the 15 Ric. II. (1391) c. 6, it was enacted, that in all appropriations of churches, the diocesan bishop should require a competent sum to be distributed among the poor parishioners annually, and that the vicarage should be sufficiently endowed; and by the 4 Hen. IV. (1402) c. 12, it was ordained, that the vicar,—who, from thenceforth, was not to be a member of any religious house,-should be a vicar perpetual, and not removable at the caprice of the monastery, and should be canonically instituted and indneted, and be sufficiently endowed at the discretion of the ordinary, for three express purposes, viz., to do divine service, to inform the people, and to keep hospitality (n). In consequence of these two statutes, the endowments of [vicarages have usually been by a portion of the glebe lands belonging to the parsonage, and by a share of the tithes, the greater part of the tithes being, however, still reserved to the use of the appropriators. But one and the same rule was not observed in the endowment of all vicarages; wherefore some are more liberally, and others more scantily, endowed. And the tithes of many things, as wood in particular, are in some parishes rectorial, and in others vicarial.] · Such is the history of the distinction between rectors and vicars; and the law on the subject may be shortly stated as follows. Of parochial churches, some have been appropriated, others have not. In a non-appropriated living, there is no vicar, but a rector only, who must be a spiritual person, and who has the cure of souls in the parish, with the exclusive title to all the emoluments (0). In an appropriated living, there is generally (besides the appropriator) a vicar ; and in such latter cases, the appropriator never has the cure of souls within the parish, that being committed exclusively to the vicar. The emoluments of appropriated livings belong in part to the appropriator, in part to the vicar, according to the distinctions already in part referred to ; and, in nonappropriated churches, the rector, and in appropriated churches, the vicar, is seised for his life only, the fee being in abeyance. But the appropriator (or tithe owner) may be entitled either in fee or for a less estate, according to the circumstances of his title (p).

(k) Y. B. 40 Edw.3, pl. 27; Brit. (m) Seld. Tith. ch. 11, 1. ton v. Wade (1619), Cro. Jac. 516; (n) From this Act (4 Hen. 4, Spelm. Tithes, 153 ; Bird v. Relph c. 12), may be dated the origin of (1835), 2 A. & E. 780 ; Rogers, the present vicarages ; before that Eccl. Law, 890.

time, the vicar was nothing more (l) Grendon v. Bishop of Lincoln than a temporary curate, and was (1576), Plowd. 493.

generally one of the regular clergy,

the monks, who lived according to the rules of their respective houses, being so denominated, in contradistinction to the parochial clergy, who, as they performed their ministry in the world (in seculo), were called secular clergy.

(0) By the Spiritual Duties Act, 1839, reciting that there are several benefices, in which more

than one spiritual person has the general cure of souls, the bishop is empowered, where such is the case, to order an appointment of the spiritual services.

(p) Grendon v. Bishop of Lincoln (1576), Plowd. 493 ; Duke of Portland v. Bingham (1792),

Hagg. Consist. Rep. 162.

But it is not in all appropriations that a vicar exists ; for in some it happens, in consequence of their being exempted (for particular reasons) from the statute of 4 Hen. IV. (1402), c. 12, that no vicar has ever been endowed (9). Such churches, however, usually possess a permanent minister in holy orders, of the same general description as a vicar, who, under the denomination of perpetual curate, is charged with the cure of souls ; and he is entitled to emolument for his services, and is liable to his successor for dilapidations (1), and is in most other respects situated similarly to a vicar (s). Owing to the growth of population in the great towns, provision has been made by a series of Church Building Acts, from 1818 to 1884, and by the New Parishes Acts, 1843 to 1884, for the creation of new parishes or districts. Of these there are several kinds-distinct and separate parishes, district parishes, district chapelries, consolidated chapelries, and Peel parishes and districts ; and of many of these districts or divisions, the incumbents were originally only curates. But by the District Church Tithes Amendment Act, 1868, the incumbent of the church of every parish or new parish for ecclesiastical purposes, not being a rector, who is entitled to perform marriages, churchings, and baptisms, and to claim the fees thereof for his own use, shall, for the purpose of style and designation, but not for any other purpose, be deemed and styled the vicar, and his benefice a vicarage (t). The effect of this provision when read together with the New Parishes Act, 1856 (known as Lord Blandford's Act), is to make almost all incumbents, who are not rectors, vicars.

It is to be observed also, that in former times the rector of a benefice, having cure of souls, sometimes obtained

[ocr errors][merged small]

permission to appoint a vicar to officiate under him ; so that, by this means, two persons were instituted to the same church, and both had cure of souls. The effect of this was, that by custom the rector became at length entirely relieved from residence, and from all other spiritual duties ; whence he came to be called a sinecure rector, or rector without cure of souls (u). But by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act, 1810, ss. 48, 55, it was provided, that all ecclesiastical rectories without cure of souls (having vicars endowed or perpetual curates), which were in the sole patronage of the Crown or of any ecclesiastical corporation aggregate or sole, should, immediately upon the first vacancies, be entirely suppressed ; and that the patronage of all others might be at any time sold to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and should thereupon be also suppressed ; and that the lands, tithes, and endowments of any such suppressed sinecure rectory might be annexed (when it should appear expedient) to the vicarage or perpetual curacy, which should thereupon be constituted a rectory with cure of souls.

We have thus had occasion to speak of three several kinds of parochial preferments, viz., rectories, vicarages, and perpetual curacies; and as to each of these we may remark, that they are usually comprehended under the general term of benefice (ix), a term indeed which, in its technical sense, though not in its popular acceptation, extends not only to these, but also to any ecclesiastical preferments to which rank or public office is attached, and which are described in our books as ecclesiastical dignities or offices, such as bishoprics, deaneries, and the like (y). But in statutes, these latter are in general distinguished (2).

(u) 2 Burn, Eccl. Law, 347; Rogers, Eccl. Lav, 890; Gibs. Cod. 753.

(x) Ecclesiastical Leases Act, 1842, s. 15; Ecclesiastical Leasing

Act, 1842, s. 31 ; Pluralities Act, 1850, s. 3.

(y) 3 Inst. 174.

(=) Pluralities Act, 1838, s. 124– in which Act (but for the purposes

« EelmineJätka »