Parish Priests and Their People in the Middle Ages in England

By Edward L. Cutts | Go to book overview

but, unhappily, the king refused his assent to it, and the evil continued.*

The institution of vicarages, like everything else, was liable to abuses. One of the abuses was where a rector instituted a vicarage in his own rectory, thus reserving the greater part of the income of the benefice to himself as a sinecure, and devolving the labour and responsibility upon another who received the lesser share. Thus, in the Lichfield Register, in 1328, the Rector of Walton was allowed to have a curate (vicar) on condition of setting aside for him a house in the parish, the oblations at the altar and at marriages and churchings, the tithes of a hamlet, and herbage of church and chapel yards; the curate was to find chaplains for the chapels, and a deacon at 20s. a year for the church.

Another abuse, forbidden by the Synod of Oxford, in 1223, was for the parson of a parish to change himself into a vicar, and dispose of the rectory to another. This synod also ordained that vicars should serve the cure in person, should be in priests' orders or proceed to them immediately, and that every presentee should make oath that he had not given or promised anything or entered into any agreement on account of his presentation.

____________________
*
In the Episcopal Register of Lincoln, under date 25th April, 1511, William, Abbot of Oseney, was admitted to the Vicarage of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford, on the presentation of the Abbot and Convent of the same.
"Lichfield", p. 138, S.P.C.K.

-109-

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