A Royal Peculiar (or Royal Peculier) is a Church of England parish or church exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocese in which it lies and subject to the direct jurisdiction of the monarch.
A "peculiar" is applied to those ecclesiastical districts, parishes, chapels or churches that are outside the jurisdiction of the bishop and archdeacon of the diocese in which they are situated. They include the separate or "peculiar" jurisdiction of the monarch, another archbishop, bishop or the dean and chapter of a cathedral (also, the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller). An Archbishop's Peculiar is subject to the direct jurisdiction of an archbishop and a Royal Peculiar is subject to the direct jurisdiction of the monarch.
The concept dates from Anglo-Saxon times, when a church could ally itself with the monarch and thereby not be subject to the bishop of the area. Later, it reflected the relationship between the Norman and Plantagenet kings and the English Church. Most peculiars survived the Reformation but, with the exception of Royal Peculiars, were finally abolished during the 19th century by various Acts of Parliament and became subject to the jurisdiction of the diocese in which they were, although a few non-royal peculiars still exist. The majority of Royal Peculiars that remain are situated within the Diocese of London.
- The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster commonly known as Westminster Abbey, and containing the Henry VII Chapel which is the chapel of the Order of the Bath.
- The chapels associated with the Chapel Royal, which refers not to a building but to an establishment in the Royal Household; a body of priests and singers to explicitly serve the spiritual needs of the Sovereign:
- The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, a private chapel of the sovereign in right of the Duchy of Lancaster. It is the chapel of The Royal Victorian Order. The number of members of the order in recent years has outgrown the available space in the Savoy Chapel so the service for those who have received awards is now held in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle every four years.
- The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, the crypt of the former St Stephen's Chapel in the Palace of Westminster. The building is administered through the Lord Great Chamberlain and Black Rod and it has no dedicated clergy: by convention services were conducted by the Rector of St Margaret's, Westminster, a member of the Chapter of Westminster Abbey. In 2010 the Speaker of the House of Commons used his right of appointment to nominate an outsider, Revd. Rose Hudson-Wilkin.
- The Royal Foundation of St Katharine founded in 1147 by Queen Matilda of England as a religious community and medieval hospital for poor infirm people next to the Tower of London.
- St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, the chapel of the Order of the Garter.
- Royal Chapel of All Saints (in the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park)
Former royal peculiars
- St Michael's Collegiate Church Penkridge near Wolverhampton
- St Michael and All Angels Church Tettenhall Wolverhampton 1247–1548,
- Canons of Dover Priory until 1130
- Holy Trinity, Minories, London, until 1730
- St Mary and St Alkelda, Middleham until 1845
- Wimborne Minster 1318–1846
- St. Peter's Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton 1479–1846
- The Deanery of St Buryan comprising St Buryan's Church in St. Buryan, St. Sennen's Church, Sennen, and St. Levan's Church, St. Levan until 1850
- The Deanery of Bridgnorth until 1856
- Dorchester Abbey 1536–1837
- The Collegiate Church & Royal Free Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury, until 1856
- St Mary's Church, Stafford
- The Peculiar (or Peculier) of Masham
- St Mary-le-Bow
- Christ Church, Oxford
- The Peculiar of Charterhouse
- The Parish of Southwick (St James, Southwick and St Nicholas, Boarhunt)
- Christ Church, Bath
The following chapels of the Inns of Court are extra-diocesan, and therefore peculiars, but not Royal:
- The Peculiar of the Temple Church
- The Peculiar of Lincoln's Inn
- The Peculiar of Gray's Inn
Related concepts in secular government
- Hey. Oxford Companion to Family History. p. 532
- "Peculiar". Encyclopædia Britannica 1911. Volume XXI. p. 36. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- "Church of England | Dioceses". Anglicans Online. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft – UK Parliament". Parliament.uk. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "About Us". London: Royal Foundation of St Katherine. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- G C Baugh, et al., "Colleges: Penkridge, St Michael". In: A History of the County of Stafford. Volume 3, ed. M W Greenslade and R B Pugh (London, 1970), pp. 298–303. Retrieved 23 June 2015
- "Tettenhall Royal Free Chapel". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Willam Page (editor) (1926). "Houses of Benedictine monks: The priory of Dover". A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Institute of Historical Research. pp. 133–137. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- Tomlinson.A History of the Minories. Chapter X. Retrieved 15 April 2014
- Atthill. Foundation and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of Middleham p. 28. Retrieved 15 April 2014
- "Wimborne Minster". Greater Churches Network. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- M W Greenslade, R B Pugh (Editors), G C Baugh, Revd L W Cowie, Revd J C Dickinson, A P Duggan, A K B Evans, R H Evans, Una C Hannam, P Heath, D A Johnston, Professor Hilda Johnstone, Ann J Kettle, J L Kirby, Revd R Mansfield, Professor A Saltman (1970). "Colleges: Wolverhampton, St Peter". A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- Denton. English Royal Free Chapels p. 116. Retrieved 16 April 2014
- Denton. English Royal Free Chapels p. 109. Retrieved 16 April 2014
- Mary Lobel (editor) (1962). "Parishes: Dorchester". A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 7: Dorchester and Thame hundreds. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- Denton. English Royal Free Chapels p. 122. Retrieved 16 April 2014
- M W Greenslade, R B Pugh (Editors), G C Baugh, Revd L W Cowie, Revd J C Dickinson, A P Duggan, A K B Evans, R H Evans, Una C Hannam, P Heath, D A Johnston, Professor Hilda Johnstone, Ann J Kettle, J L Kirby, Revd R Mansfield, Professor A Saltman (1970). "Colleges: Stafford, St Mary". A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. pp. 39–64. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Hoskins et al. The Foundations of Medieval English Ecclesiastical History. p. 2
- Hoskins et al. The Foundations of Medieval English Ecclesiastical History. pp. 159-160
- Briden. Introduction to English Canon Law. p. 60
- "Chapel Services". London: The Charterhouse. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- The Parish is unique in being a ‘Peculiar’ (one of only two left in the country). The Chaplain was not appointed by the bishop but by the Squire who is officially the ‘Lay Prior, Ordinary, Patron and Rector of the Peculiar and Parish of Southwick’. This has been the case since the dissolution of Southwick Priory, in 1539. St Nicholas, Boarhunt dates from 1064, and St James, Southwick (officially St James-without-the-priory-gate), may also be pre-Norman Conquest, although it has less surviving original fabric."St James Southwick Parish Website". St James, Southwick. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- "St James, Southwick Page on the Portsmouth Diocese Website". Portsmouth Diocese. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- "Christ Church, Bath website". Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- Briden. Introduction to English Canon Law. p. 61
- Atthill, William (1847). Documents Relating to the Foundation and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of Middleham in the County of York. London: Camden Society.
- Briden, Timothy (2013). Moore's Introduction to English Canon Law: Fourth Edition. London: Bloomsbury Continuum. ISBN 1-4411-6868-0.
- Denton, Jeffrey H (1970). English Royal Free Chapels, 1100-1300. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-0405-5.
- Hey, David, ed. (2008). "Peculiar". The Oxford Companion to Family History. Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-953298-8.
- Hoskin, Philippa; Brooke, Christopher; Dobson, Barrie, eds. (2005). The Foundations of Medieval English Ecclesiastical History: Studies Presented to David Smith (Studies in the History of Medieval Religion). Woodbridge: Boydell Press. ISBN 1-84383-169-4.
- Tomlinson, Edward Murray (1907). A History of the Minories. London: Smith, Elder & Co.