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The duty of churchwardens is to attend to the maintenance of the church fabric and of the churchyard, in so far as the maintenance devolves on the parishioners; they have the care of the movables belonging to the church and ought to provide the necessaries for divine service. It is incumbent on them to preserve order in the church and in the churchyard during the time of worship; and it is they who assign seats to the parishioners, respect, however, being paid to private rights. For the necessary funds, they are chiefly dependent on the rate granted by the vestry and collected from those who are willing to pay. 31 & 32 Vict. (1868) c 109 deprived the rate of its compulsory character without changing the mode of granting and levying it. No person who refuses to pay is entitled 'to inquire into, or object to, or vote' in respect to the expenditure of the money collected. The act also empowers the appointment in any parish of 'Church Trustees,' 10 to accept and hold contributions for ecclesiastical purposes; these trustees may from time to time pay over to the churchwardens sums to defray

necessary expenses.

During divine service alms are collected, generally by the churchwardens. The service over, the money given at the offertory is disposed of to such pious and charitable uses as the minister and churchwardens shall agree upon. If they differ, the ordinary decides as to its application."

The churchwardens have, furthermore, the duty of reporting to the ordinary offences committed by the clergy or the laity of the parish in respect of matters cognizable by the ecclesiastical courts.12 This authority to present is a survival of the medieval procedure in holding episcopal synods and archidiaconal visitations. At the beginning of the first revolution an act of 1641 13 forbade ecclesiastical authorities to bind any person by oath to make presentments of any crime or offence. This provision was repealed by act of 1661.i But a large number of the cases in which presentment might have been made have, owing to greater religious toleration, ceased to be punishable; presentments for offences against morality have become almost wholly obsolete, as, indeed, has ecclesiastical jurisdiction in general in regard to moral questions; 15 in other cases they are still made, but are infrequent.

Lastly, in sequestration 16 during vacancy (sometimes in sequestration for other causes) the churchwardens are generally appointed sequestrators, in which capacity they have to manage the profits of the living and control the expenditure.

10 The church trustees shall consist of the incumbent and of two householders or owners or occupiers of land in the parish to be chosen one by the patron, one by the bishop of the diocese.

"See rubric in communion service, and Blunt's note in Annotated Book of Common Prayer Ed. 1884, p. 399.

12 Can. 113 ff. of 1604 (append. XII).

13 16 sq. Car. I c 11 s 2 (cf. § 7, note 36).

14 13 Car. II st. 1 c 12 s 2; see, however, also s 4 (cf, § 7, note 69). Cf. further Phillimore, Eccl. Law 1849.-On 5 & 6 Gul. IV (1835) c 62, cf. above, note 8. is Cf. § 61, note 35.

16 Cf. § 45, note 9.

From the beginning of the seventeenth century, churchwardens in most parishes gradually became the chief officials for temporal business. Those, however, who in consequence of the Church Building and New Parishes Acts of the nineteenth century were chosen for newly divided ecclesiastical parishes and districts, were confined to ecclesiastical affairs. By the Local Government Act of 1894, 56 & 57 Vict. c 73, the churchwardens in all rural parishes have lost their positions as overseers of the poor; their other powers in temporal affairs have also been taken from them in all rural parishes which have received a parish council, and have been vested in the council; in smaller parishes which receive no council, these powers may, on the proposal of the parish meeting, be vested in it by the county council. Analogous arrangements may be made under certain circumstances for urban districts through the local government board.16a

With the churchwardens are mentioned in the canons of 1604 sidemen 17 or assistants.18 To the latter belong essentially the same rights as to the churchwardens. According to the canons just mentioned they are to be appointed by the parish priest and the parishioners jointly; or in case of disagreement, by the bishop. They are now only found in a few large parishes, and act as deputies of the churchwardens in outlying townships. 19


§ 49.


THE office of parish clerk corresponds tolerably closely to that of Kantor in a German congregation. He has, in particular, the duty


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the churchwardens of every rural parish shall cease to be ;s 6: upon the parish council of a rural parish coming into office, there shall be transferred to that council: (b) the powers, duties and liabilities of the churchwardens of the parish, except so far as they relate to the affairs of the church or to charities, or are powers and duties of (then follows a special regulation as to the maintenance of closed churchyards) (c) similarly, all rights which now belong to overseers and church wardens jointly. s 19: In a rural parish not having a separate parish council, . . (10) on the application of the parish meeting the county council may confer on that meeting any of the powers conferred on a parish council by this Act. s 33: Possible application to urban dis


17 The form sidesmen is also in use. The name is said to be corrupted from synodsmen-According to Gibson, Codex 2nd Ed., shortly before the reformation it became usual that, instead of the testes synodales, the churchwardens, with two, three or more parishioners should present; these assistant parishioners were the origin of sidemen or sidesmen.

18 Cf. above, note 2.-Lat. text of canons in app. XII.

19 Blunt, l.c. 255, note 1.

1 Cf. the titles church clerk, chapel clerk.

• Blunt, The Book of Church Law Book IV c 3.-Phillimore, Ecclesiastical Law 1900 ff. Toulmin Smith, The Parish 2nd Ed. pp. 197 ff.-Steer, Parish Law 5th Ed. pp. 116 f.

of acting as leader of the congregation in regard to the responses and singing. In small parishes his office is frequently combined with that of sexton.2

The parish clerk is, as a rule, a layman. His position is mainly determined by canon 91 of 1604,3 which, however, being issued without the consent of parliament is not binding as against laymen. The canon gives the appointment to the 'parson, or vicar, or the minister of the place for the time being.' Any variation in the mode of appointment holds good, if based on old custom; thus in a few places the parishioners can appoint. The clerk is usually licensed by the ordinary, but this does not seem to be absolutely necessary.5 He must be at least twenty years old. He must take an oath to obey the minister." Appointment is for life, and his office is his freehold. Thus he cannot be dismissed arbitrarily, but only for sufficient reason, the sufficiency being subject to examination in the courts.8 7 & 8 Vict. (1844) c 59 s 5 provides a general method of procedure in dismissing parish clerks who are laymen, the archdeacon or other ordinary' adjudicating upon the case." The income of a parish clerk is derived from a salary, payable out of the church rate, from fees and Easter offerings. He has the right of causing his duties to be performed by a suitable deputy.

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By 7 & 8 Vict. c 59 it is enacted that those entitled to appoint or elect parish clerks may fix upon persons in priest's or deacon's orders to fill the office. The parish clerk in orders must perform 'all such spiritual and ecclesiastical Duties as the Rector or other Incumbent, with the Sanction of the Bishop of the Diocese, may from Time to Time require.' He must be licensed by the bishop, and when appointed by any other than the parish priest, his appointment is subject to the approval of the latter. His office is not his freehold; on the contrary, he may be dismissed under the same circumstances and by the same method as a stipendiary curate.10

2 On the earlier history of the office cf. Blunt, l.c. p. 288, note 1. Smith. l.c. p. 197, note 1. The heading of can. 91 of 1604 identifies clericus parochialis with the ostiarius.

3 Printed in app. XII.

4 Smith, l.c., contends that this was an innovation.

Peak v. Bourne, 6 Geo. II, Strange, Reports 942; Smith, l.c. 202; Phillimore 1902, 1905.

Canon 91 of 1604.

Phillimore 1902.

8 To make him more easily removable 59 Geo. III c 134 s 29 directs that the clerk in every church or chapel built etc. under that act or under 58 Geo. III c 45 (which it amends) is to be appointed annually by the minister. By 19 & 20 Vict. c 101 s 9. The parish clerk and sexton of the church of any parish constituted under 6 & 7 Vict. c 37, and 7 & 8 Vict. c 94, 'or this act shall and may be appointed by the incumbent for the time being of such church, and be by him removable, with the consent of the bishop of the diocese, for any misconduct.' Blunt, l.c.


An Act for better regulating the Offices of Lecturers and Parish Clerks. ss 2, 3 of act cited.

§ 50.



The official duties of the sexton 1 vary at different places and are for the most part determined by custom. As a rule he has to attend to the cleaning of the church and to the churchyard, as also to the instrumenta of worship; he has to ring the bells 2 and to make, himself or by deputy, the necessary preparations for burials. Women may fill the office.

The appointment of the sexton is regulated very much by custom. It may rest with the parish priest or the churchwardens or with the parish priest and churchwardens jointly.

The income accrues, according to the usage existing in the several parishes, from a variety of sources. Commonly the sexton receives a salary paid by the churchwardens out of the church rate, as well as fees for burials.

The office of the sexton, like that of the parish clerk, is his freehold. So that arbitrary dismissal is not allowable.*

§ 51.


The beadle is the messenger of the parish. His duties relate mainly to its temporal concerns; but in many places it is usual for him to be present at divine service to assist in the maintenance of order. He is the attendant of the officers of the parish, particularly of the churchwardens, and is appointed by the vestry, generally from year to year. His salary is paid out of the church rate.

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The office of organist exists in chapter and in most parochial churches, although in the course of this century puritanical opposition was raised to the introduction of organ-playing. It is now recognized that every incumbent has the right of deciding whether

1 Sexton: the word is a corruption of sacristan.

2 Or, he is the superintendent of the bell-ringers. These bell-ringers form themselves into unions; for a list of them see Church Year-Book, 1891, pp. 452 ff. 3 For a different opinion see Smith, l.c. p. 194, note.

On the appointment and dismissal of the sexton in new parishes under 19 & 20 Vict. c 104, cf. § 49, note 8.

1 Cf. also parliamentary ordinance of 9th May, 1644: ; And that all Organs, an the Frames or Cases wherein they stand in all Churches and Chappels aforesaid, shall be taken away, and utterly defaced, and none other hereafter set up in their places ;

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Blunt, The Book of Church Law Book IV c 3.-Phillimore, Ecclesiastical Law 1911.Toulmin Smith, The Parish 2nd Ed. pp. 193 ff.-Steer, Parish Law 5th Ed. pp. 115 f.

b Blunt, The Book of Church Law Book IV chap. 3.-Toulmin Smith, The Parish 2nd Ed. pp. 193 ff.

Blunt, The Book of Church Law Book IV chap. 3.-Phillimore, Ecclesiastical Law 927-929, 1914, Addenda II, 18.

and when the organ may be played; but the parish cannot without consent be charged for erecting and repairing it.

The methods of appointing the organist and of obtaining his salary are various.

§ 53.


THE lecturer is an assistant clergyman, priest or deacon, attached to the parish priest or, in chapter churches, to the regular clergy of the chapter. The office is found especially in the churches of London and other cities. The lecturer is distinguished from the reader by the fact that he must be in holy orders; he is distinguished from the stipendiary curate in that his income is not derived from the benefice or parish funds, but arises from endowment or from special voluntary contributions.

The form of the lecturer's appointment depends on the provisions of the deed by which the lectureship was founded; otherwise, on old custom. Election is, as a rule, by the vestry. The lecturer needs approval and licence from the archbishop of the province or the bishop of the diocese. The licence is not conferred until the oaths are taken and the declarations made which are prescribed for persons about to be instituted or collated to a benefice. Lastly, the parish priest may forbid the use of his pulpit to the lecturer, unless immemorial usage or some other reason intervene.*

The lecturer has no cure of souls; he has only to deliver lectures or sermons. But the ordinary service must be held in connexion with his discourse.5 By 7 & 8 Vict. (1844) c 59 the bishop is empowered, with the assent of the incumbent, to require the lecturer to perform other clerical or ministerial duties, as assistant curate or otherwise of the place in which the lectureship is."

1 Prebendaries are sometimes bound by appointment of the founders to read lectures, and may thence be called lecturers. Phillimore 134. 2 14 Car. II (1662) c 3 Act of Uniformity, s 15: that no person shall be or be received as a Lecturer or permitted suffered or allowed to preach as a Lecturer or to preach or read any Sermon or Lecture in any Church Chappell or other place of Publique Worshipp unlesse he be first approved and thereunto licensed by the Archbishopp of the Province or Bishopp of the Diocese or (in case the See be void) by the Guardian of the Spiritualties under his Seale, Can. 36 of 10 (append. XII). 1604


8 28 & 29 Vict. (1865) c 122 Clerical Subscription Act, s 5; 31 & 32 Vict. (1863) c 72. Phillimore, Eccles. Law 585.

The object of this rule was to make it difficult for puritans to hold lectureships. According to Charles I's instructions (1633; in Cardwell, Doc. Ann. 177) V, 2, the lecturers were to read divine service according to the liturgy printed by authority, in their surplices and hoods, before the lecture. Now 14 Car. II (1662) c 4 Act of Uniformity s 18 prescribes that the ordinary service shall be read by some deacon or priest in the church, before the sermon or lecture and in the presence of the lecturer. This does not apply to the university sermon or lecture (s 19). 6 s 1:.. to perform such other clerical or ministerial duties, as assistant curate or otherwise. as the said bishop, with the assent of such incumbent as aforesaid, shall think proper

Phillimore, Eccles. Law 584 ff.

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