Talk:Perpetual curate

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from 82.35.110.131 30 November 2012‎[edit]

This is gobbledegook!

The article needs to be completely re-written so that it is comprehensible to those of us without a degree in Canon Law.

I have a post-graduate qualification in history from London University, but I still have no idea what this article is about.

Thank you.

History[edit]

Whether or not I should, I do feel very possessive about this article. Never able to properly understand what the term meant I decided to take the matter into my own hands around two years ago. Until then Perpetual Curate was simply linked to Curate and a WP reader learnt absolutely nothing about the perpetual curate thing. So I changed the divert and spent a lot of time in Google Books and wrote the first version. Since then it has been amended and no doubt upgraded and now commonly receives visits from an average of FIFTEEN people EVERY DAY or around 460 a month so I believe there is a real need for this article and its accuracy matters.

In the latest revision it seems to me we have again lost some important points: e.g. answers to 'why does or did it need to exist at all?' . . . and others

Would it be easier to understand if the matter was covered by being divided into different periods of history and then the present situation?

It looks to me like quite a lot of people want to know the answers, Best regards, Eddaido (talk) 23:38, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

First of all, my apologies for calling my recent edit a "copy edit". It was going to be that, it turned into something bigger, I got called away in a hurry and saved without redoing the description. Sorry! So far as the details of the changes are concerned, (i) I have amended the lead section to bring it into line with the source I supplied: a perpetual curacy does not necessarily cover "a small or sparsely peopled" area. Many of those established by 19th century legislation were heavily populated and some of the more ancient ones acquired a large population with demographic shifts over time. (2) The adjective "perpetual" probably derives from the oldest technical label for a parish priest with freehold which is "curatus perpetuus" later "incumbent" - it certainly refers to his legal status rather than any other type of standing: hence the rewrite and source. (iii) Of the three other distinguishing characteristics (all unsourced), the first is misleading in that any small living (rectory, vicarage or perpetual curacy) was used in this way (for example Henry Venn's move to the rectory of Yelling, Hunts, in 1771 from Huddersfield). The other two have been relocated in the text.
I am going to do introduce a mention of the 19th changes into the lead section. It should also be noted that the greater part of this and similar articles is now of historic interest since the recent introduction of Common Tenure and the radical legal restructuring of the C-of-E which has gone on since 1968. ­Jpacobb (talk) 15:30, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
The historic interest is the one we are catering to because the church is now significant in the lives of few and anyway hasn't the post ceased to exist? Am I wrong there? I would bet that most are interested in what the title means because they have found it given to some person in some old census or 17th/18th/19th century reference to do with their family or its then parish.
This kind of customer probably often chats to friends about their ahnentafels
How would it be if the lead were adjusted to be like this:
A Perpetual Curate was, before the passing of the Pastoral Measure 1968, a clergyman of the Church of England exercising the "cure of souls" in parish or district which was not served by a rector or vicar. Until the nineteenth century, he was nominated by the lay impropriator and licensed by the Ordinary (usually the diocesan bishop). but this no longer applied to the new perpetual curacies established under the Church Building Acts and similar legislation passed after 1818. No rector or vicar would be provided/appointed because . . . (to be supplied by Jpacobb)
Then into the detailed technicalities like prior to 1968 after 1818 lay impropriators etc. etc. and so forth . . .
How is this for starters? Cheers, Eddaido (talk) 11:44, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Obviously, we can simplify the lead section and put the technicalities later, but your suggestion seems to imply that someone ¿the Bishop? decided whether to appoint a rector, vicar or perpetual curate. There was (and is) no choice in the matter. The historical situation is as follows: in England parishes and ecclesiastical districts were either rectories, vicarages or perpetual curacies depending on whether the incumbent("parish priest" in everyday language) received all the tithes or not. If he received them all, he was a "rector" and had to maintain in repair the chancel of the parish church. In many cases before the Reformation, the parish was attached to a monastery or other ecclesiastical institution which was legally the rector and this nominated a "vicar" to do the work. He received the small tithes. In both cases, the incumbent often delegated his duties to an "assistant curate" whom he could dismiss at will. When monastic property passed to lay hands in the Reformation some of the laymen (the "impropriator")retained all the tithes and simply provided a clergyman to do the duty (very often with minimal means of financial support). These clergy could not be assistants to a layman so they became dependant directly on the Bishop (or Ordinary) and were known as perpetual curates. I'll give this some more thought, but it isn't that simple! Jpacobb (talk) 15:02, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Organic is so fashionable but I refuse to believe that parishes and ecclesiastical districts were selected and defined by any other than human agency (with no doubt some form of divine guidance). Why on earth do you say: "There was (and is) no choice in the matter."? Regards, Eddaido (talk) 21:26, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
What I mean is that, at least until the recent radical remodelling of Church law in England, any particular parish was either a rectory, a vicarage or a perpetual curacy and this legal status was determined by its history and fixed by law, so short of civil legislation there was no way of changing it, so in practice, when a rector left his replacement became the rector by taking up the post; a vicar's replacement became the vicar, and a perpetual curate's the perpetual curate. (There are now rules, regulations and procedures for merging parishes and uniting benefices and for suspending the naming of a new incumbent which means that a pastoral charge may be modified but the new "parish" will be one of the above and the same criteria apply.) Legally, any incumbent (rector, or vicar, or perpetual curate) is a "corporation sole" which persists and is administered as a type of trust even when there is no living person occupying the post. I hope this helps. Jpacobb (talk) 02:43, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
You put it so well I always see what you mean to say but the horrible problem is you always avoid my question i.e. why do they exist if the reasons I gave are wrong (and they are not) yet you say they are wrong because the situation arose at the beginning of (your) time (only way I can describe your to me unfathomable concept). How about Before (your) time. Very puzzled Eddaido (talk) 03:57, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── OK then, let me put it to you another way. Who would have decided (and on what grounds) to make this chapelry a perpetual curacy in 1766? [1] Eddaido (talk) 05:02, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

The reply to your question about Pinner is that the grant in 1766 from Queen Annne's Bounty converted the chapelry into a perpetual cure under the Act of Parliament of 1 George I, ch 10 which would have been passed in 1714 or 1715.
I have started a re-write of the whole article at User:Jpacobb/sandbox. I hope it sheds some light on your questions. Jpacobb (talk) 19:27, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
Aha, we do make progress because this is the central point and once again you dodge my question and give a non-answer. Your "answer" is that there was an act of Parliament. That does not answer my question. Why do you imagine it does! Eddaido (talk) 21:00, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I am following the standard Wiki procedures for editing articles, that is the use of reliable sources and their objective and neutral summarising in the text of the article. What I imagine is irrelevant and I have no interest in getting involved in some sort of discussion of intellectual problems of the "philosophy of mind" type. I propose to stick to trying to produce a decent article for the majority of readers of Wikipedia. Jpacobb (talk) 00:29, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Peace my friend. I am extremely frustrated by my inability to get over to you what is missing from the article. Can you suggest another way I can explain the problem? Regards, Eddaido (talk) 00:33, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Having thought some more: I could just correct the article as it stands and (probably) leave you more miffed or I could explain the problem to someone else who might be a better explainer to you or I could just go away but because of my "sense of ownership" explained above I cannot do that. I am already concerned for the readers taking away puzzling ideas on the subject — Look at the first entry on this page above. So, tactfully, Eddaido (talk) 00:52, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion (leading paragraph only) less wordy, more like an aid to teaching?[edit]

  • Prune the sections struck-out:

As such, it then formed a third category of parish clergy in England, Wales and Ireland, alongside rector and vicar. Like a rector or vicar a perpetual curate was an incumbent minister with security of tenure and legal responsibility for the cure of souls over a defined parish or ecclesiastical district; but unlike ancient rectories and vicarages, perpetual curacies were supported by a cash stipend, usually maintained by an endowment fund, and had no ancient right to income from tithe or glebe. The legal status of 'perpetual curate' originated as an administrative anomaly at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England and Wales; but it proved much easier to create new perpetual curacies than to divide existing vicarages and rectories. Accordingly in the nineteenth century, when large numbers of new churches and parochial units were needed,

this was overwhelmingly achieved by elevating former chapelries to parish status, or by creating ecclesiastical districts with new churches within ancient parishes; in each case the new incumbents being legally 'perpetual curates'; although they came more commonly to be styled as 'vicars' (or occasionally 'rectors'). The distinct status of perpetual curate was abolished by the Pastoral Measure 1968.


  • Re-order the remainder (additions in italics) to provide a lead as follows:

Perpetual Curate was a class of resident parish priest or curate within the United Church of England and Ireland. and The term name is found in common use mainly during the first half of the nineteenth century. The legal status of perpetual curate originated as an administrative anomaly in the 16th Century. Unlike ancient rectories and vicarages, perpetual curacies were supported by a cash stipend, usually maintained by an endowment fund, and had no ancient right to income from tithe or glebe.

In the nineteenth century, when large numbers of new churches and parochial units were needed, it proved much easier to elevate ing former chapelries to parish status, or by create ing ecclesiastical districts with new churches within ancient parishes create new perpetual curacies than to divide existing vicarages and rectories by (slow? expensive? difficult? what militated against obtaining a private AoP?) act of parliament. This was achieved by

There were two particularly notable effects of this 19th century practice: perpetual curates usually received inadequate incomes and their parishes were insignificant.

Perpetual curates disappeared in 1868 when they became known as vicars but perpetual curacies remained until the distinct status of perpetual curate was abolished by the Pastoral Measure 1968.

What do you think? Regards, Eddaido (talk) 23:48, 24 April 2013 (UTC)


Perpetual Curate was a class of resident parish priest or incumbent curate within the United Church of England and Ireland. The name is found in common use mainly during the first half of the nineteenth century. The legal status of perpetual curate originated as an administrative anomaly in the 16th Century. Unlike ancient rectories and vicarages, perpetual curacies were supported by a cash stipend, usually maintained by an endowment fund, and had no ancient right to income from tithe or glebe.
In the nineteenth century, when large numbers of new churches and parochial units were needed in England and Wales, it proved much easier to elevate former chapelries to parish status, or create ecclesiastical districts with new churches within ancient parishes, than to divide existing vicarages and rectories by the cumbersome and uncertain procedure of a private Act of Parliament. Under the legislation introduced to facilitate this, the parish priests of new parishes and districts, were legally perpetual curates.
There were two particularly notable effects of this early 19th century practice: compared to rectors and vicars of ancient parishes perpetual curates tended to be of uncertain social standing; and to be much less well paid.
Perpetual curates disappeared from view in 1868, after which they could legally call themselves vicars, but perpetual curacies remained until the distinct status of perpetual curate was abolished by the Pastoral Measure 1968.
does this look better? TomHennell (talk) 14:08, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, with reservations, but I think you should have put the above on the article (if you felt it was appropriate) instead of here. Myself I'd like to stick with the talk page instead of making bold amendments.
My "reservations":
"Under the legislation introduced to facilitate this" this = what? Private AoP or ?
So would it be better to say?:
In the nineteenth century, when large numbers of new churches and parochial units were needed in England and Wales politically it proved much more acceptable to elevate former chapelries to parish status, or create ecclesiastical districts with new churches within ancient parishes, than to divide existing vicarages and rectories. Under the legislation introduced to facilitate this, the parish priests of new parishes and districts, were legally perpetual curates.
if that's a bad suggestion just say so : )
Cheltenham in no way fitted my personal concept of a p.c. (The Rev Mr Close must have been a fun preacher) Anyway, insignificant has to go out like you say.
That leaves "this" in "the legislation introduced to facilitate this" and my thought about a way to encompass the need to be sensitive to opposing factions.
Moving on (as they say)
==Meaning==
"All incumbents in England could, technically, have been considered 'perpetual curates'; 'curates' in that they were licensed by the diocesan bishop to provide "Cure of Souls" for the people of a district or parish; 'perpetual' in that, once licensed, they could not be removed by their nominating patron; and could only be deprived by their diocesan bishop through the ecclesiastical courts. However, following the Gregorian reforms of the 11th century, parochial cure of souls in England became the freehold property[1] of the incumbent; whose income in the forms of tithe and glebe constituted a benefice, and who then carried the title of rector."
suggested changes:
'Perpetual' in that, once licensed, they could not be removed by their nominating patron; and could only be deprived by their diocesan bishop through the ecclesiastical courts.
'Curates' in that they were licensed by the diocesan bishop to provide "Cure of Souls" for the people of a district or parish.
All incumbents in England could, technically, have been considered 'perpetual curates'. However, following the Gregorian reforms of the 11th century, parochial cure of souls in England became the freehold property[1] of the incumbent; whose income in the forms of tithe and glebe constituted a benefice, and who then carried the title of rector.
How do you see these suggestions? Eddaido (talk) 00:37, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Much improved, well done. I think I would only qualify 'politically' to 'politically and adminstratively'; and the link is not helpful; as it has nothing to do with Representative Bodies. Perhaps to Local and Personal Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom. As I recall, it took three goes at private acts to prise the surplice fees for Manchester out of the hands of the Dean and Canons, and into those of the perpetual curates in the dozen or more ecclesiastical districts formed from chapelries in the ancient parish. The debate of the final successful bill is below; and it gives a good idea of how complicated such private legislation could become when undertaken in a context of wider church reform; and how convoluted the associated compensatory provisions might be TomHennell (talk) 10:17, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1850/may/14/manchester-rectory-division-bill

Hmmm, yes, I see. Not easy! I think your most recent proposals are excellent and should go in the article as soon as you like. I also think a reader need not be spoon fed after the para. "Meaning" and as it is is just fine. Thank you very much for your patience perseverance and flexibility, Best regards, Eddaido (talk) 21:44, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
    • ^ Neep, E.J.C and Edinger, George, A Handbook of Church Law for the Clergy A.R. Mowbray, 1928 pp. 6,7