Parish Priests and Their People in the Middle Ages in England

By Edward L. Cutts | Go to book overview

APPENDIX I.

THE history of the parish of Whalley in Lancashire affords an interesting illustration of the growth of parochial organization. The original parish was a vast tract of wild hilly country, fifty miles long, covering two hundred superficial miles, in the north-west corner of Lancashire, chiefly forest and moor, with fertile pastures in the broad valleys of the Ribble, the Hodder, the Calder, and their tributaries. The Saxon rectors were also lords of the manor; they were married men, and the rectory, together with the manor, descended from father to son. These facts suggest that the lord of the manor, in early days after the Conversion, turned his house into a semi-secular monastery such as those we have described (p. 35), retaining the headship of it for himself, and handing it down to his heirs; and that in course of time, instead of developing into a monastery of a stricter kind, it changed into the parochial type of rectory. From the earliest known time, and throughout the Saxon period, however, the reverend lords of the manor rejoiced in the title of dean, the Bishop of Worcester having

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