September 1654: Au Ordinance for the better maintenance and encouragement of Preaching Ministers, and for uniting of Parishes.

Pages 1000-1006

Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.

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September, 1654

[2 September, 1654.]

Whereas many Parishes in this Nation are without the constant and powerful preaching of the Gospel, through want of competent maintenance and encouragement unto able and godly Ministers in such places; some Parishes in regard of their smalness, and of their propinquity and neighborhood, and the situation of their Churches or places of meeting, being very convenient to be united and other Parishes are so populous, and of so great an extent, that all the inhabitants thereof cannot with conveniency resort to their respective Parish-Churches; To the end some provision may be made herein, and the publique maintenance set apart for Ministers, and other pious uses, may be managed, improved and distributed for the future, so as may be most for the advancement of the Gospel, and encouragement of publique Preachers in all the places of this Commonwealth; And that the Augmentations granted or which shall be granted out of the same, may be more orderly issued and certainly paid, and the Revenue not overcharged: And whereas some doubts have been made, whether the Rents, Profits and Revenues of all Rectories Impropriate, Appropriate, Tythes, Donatives, Oblations, Obventions, First Fruits, Tenths, Pensions, Portions of Tythes Appropriate, and other things vested and setled in the Trustees named in one Act of Parliament, Entituled, An Act for providing maintenance for Preaching Ministers, and other pious uses, and in one other Act of Parliament, Entituled, An Additional Act for providing maintenance for Ministers, and other pious uses, or either of them for the uses therein mentioned, ought not by force of the Ordinance, Entituled, An Ordinance for bringing the Publique Revenues of this Commonwealth into one Treasury, to be paid into the Receipt of His Highness Exchequer:

The Ordinance not to extend to what is vested in these Trustees Addition to what was formerly vested in the Trustees.

Be it Ordained and Declared by the authority aforesaid, That the said Ordinance or any thing therein contained, shall not extend, or be construed to extend to any the Rents, Profits or Revenues by the said Acts, or any or either of them, vested in the said Trustees.

Trustees names.; Upon what Trusts.

But it is hereby Ordained by the authority aforesaid, That all and every the Rectories Impropriate, Appropriations, Tythes Appropriate, Donatives, Oblations, Obventions, First Fruits, Tenths, Pensions, Portions of Tythes, and other the premises, by the said Acts or either of them vested in the said Trustees, and not exposed to sale by one other Act, Entituled, An Act for sale of the Manors of Rectories and Gleab-lands late belonging to the Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Deans and Chapters, shall from henceforth be vested and setled in the possession and seisin of William Steel Esq; Serjeant at Law Recorder of the City of London, Sir John Thorowgood of Kensington, Knight, George Cowper, Richard Young, John Pocock, Ralph Hall, Richard Sydenham, Edward Hopkins, John Humfry and Edward Cresset, the Survivor and Survivors of them, and their Heirs, to the uses, and upon the Trusts in the said Acts expressed, and to such further uses as are hereafter expressed. And that they, or any five or more of them, shall have, use, exercise and enjoy all and every the powers and authorities by the said Acts, or any or either of them, given and committed to the Trustees in the said two first recited Acts named, to all intents and purposes.

Power to the Trustees to sue and re-cover.; The Trustees shall have the power of Commis-sioners for removing for removing Ob-structions, and to com-pound for Rents.

And that they the said Trustees, or any five or more of them, shall or may by Action, Distress, Information, or by any other lawful ways or means whatsoever, from time to time, sue for, recover, receive, collect and gather, and cause to be received, collected and gathered, the Rents, Issues and Profits thereof, as lawful and rightful owners thereof in trust as aforesaid, and manage the said Revenue in such way and maner as shall be most conducible for the carrying on of this service, and shall have the same, and the like powers for removing such obstructions as they shall meet with concerning the said Revenue that any Commissioners have for removing Obstructions concerning the sale of Bishops, or Dean and Chapters Lands, and to compound for all Corn-rent, or other Provision-rent, reserved upon any Lease of any part of the premises for any yearly Rent in money.

And whereas several Delinquents, being seized, possessed and interessed of and in several Rectories, and Portions of Tythes or Impropriations respectively, have had an abatement in their Compositions in respect of them, or in lieu of so much of their Composition-money as amounted until the full value thereof, did convey, or agree to convey the same unto several Trustees, for Augmentation of Ministers maintenance in the Conveyances thereof mentioned, or the same are otherwise setled and disposed of; which Trustees do many of them altogether neglect the trust in them reposed, and the said Revenue is in no part of it under any certain account:

The Trustees stand seized of Impro-priate Rectories, Tythes, &c. setled or ordered to be setled by Delinquents.

Be it further Ordained, That all Trustees that stand seized or possessed of any Impropriate Rectories or Tythes, or any Estate wherewith the same stand chargeable respectively, by vertue of any such Conveyance, Order or Agreement as aforesaid, be from henceforth devested of the Possession, Seisin, Interest and Estate, which they have in the premises respectively, by vertue of the said Conveyances, or any Agreement or Order in that behalf, and all the Trusts concerning the same. And that the said William Steel, and the rest of the said Trustees hereby appointed, their Heirs, Executors and Assigns, shall stand seized, and shall have, hold and enjoy the said Tythes, Estates and premises so reserved or setled, or agreed, or ordered to be setled, and all arrears thereof, and all Evidences and Writings concerning the same, to the same uses; and they are by authority hereof vested and possessed thereof, and of all arrears thereof, upon the same Trusts as they the said Trustees had or ought to have the same by virtue of the said Conveyances, Orders or Agreements respectively, and to such other uses as are hereafter expressed. And that they the said William Steel, and the rest of the aforenamed Trustees, or any five or more of them, shall enquire into, and make search for the several Grants made by the said Delinquents as aforesaid, and settle the same, so as the Ministers that ought to receive the benefit and advantage thereof, shall and may enjoy the same and all arrears thereof with the least charge. And all persons imployed about the contracting for, and setling of the same, or in whose hands any of the said Writings or Conveyances, Counterparts, Orders, or other Writings concerning the same are, are hereby required upon the request of the said Trustees, under the hands of them, or any three of them, to shew and produce as there shall be occasion, or to deliver the same to the said Trustees, or any three or more of them, if the same be demanded.

Trustees may send for Returns made in Chancery, of Commissions by vertue of the Act of the Eighth of June 1649.; In defect or imperfection of Returns or default of Execution, how new Commissions shall be issued.

And the said Trustees, or any five or more of them, are hereby authorized to send into the High Court of Chancery for the Returns or for the true Copies of the Returns of such Commissions as have issued under the Great Seal, by vertue and in pursuance of the said recited Act of Parliament, Entituled, An Act for providing maintenance for preaching Ministers, and other pious uses. And the Clerk (in whose custody the same Returns are) is hereby directed and required, as often as he shall be thereunto required by the said Trustees, to make Copies of all such Returns, and to deliver the same to the said Trustees, or any three or more of them, or the Clerk formerly appointed by Parliament to the said Trustees (who is hereby continued Clerk to the Trustees hereby appointed) for the service of the said Trustees.

And in case the said Trustees by this Act appointed, shall finde it requisite by reason of any defect or imperfection of any Return of the said Commissions and Executions thereof, or by reason of the not executing of any former Commission, or in default of the issuing forth of any such Commission, That then in every such case, upon their request certified and declared under the Hands and Seals of them, or any three of them, to the Lords Commissioners for the Great Seal of England, wherein they are to certifie the names of such persons to whom they desire the said Commission or Commissions to be directed, the said Lords Commissioners do issue forth such new Commission and Commissions, according to the former tenor, into such Countreys and places as shall be by the said Trustees so requested as aforesaid.

An Additional clause to be inserted in the Commission.

And it is hereby further Ordained, That all the Commissions from henceforth so to be issued as aforesaid, shall also contain in them a further additional clause, and power for the enquiring, touching the yearly value of all Ecclesiastical Livings and Benefices without Cure of Souls, and what person or persons do now receive the profits of the same, and for whose use, and who is the Patron thereof, within the limits of such Counties or Cities within which they are directed to enquire, and to certifie the same into the Chancery, and a Duplicate thereof unto the said Trustees or their Register, for the use of the said Trustees.

Trustees shall have power to unite Parishes.; How such unions shall be made.

And if upon view and consideration of any of the said Returns of the said former Commissions already issued and executed, or of any the Commissions hereafter to be issued forth, executed or returned, the said Trustees shall finde it convenient and advantagious as aforesaid, to make any unions of two Parishes or more into one; and the whole Ecclesastical Revenues, Tythes and Profits belonging to the said Parishes so united, to be supplied for a Provision for one godly and painful Minister to preach in such of the said Parish Churches, where such union shall be made, as they the said Trustees shall so judge most convenient as aforesaid; That then the said Trustees, as often as they shall see cause to make any such Union, shall present the same to His Highness and His Council, upon whose approbation the said Trustees, or any five or more of them, shall declare by some Instrument in writing under five or more of their Hands and Seals, that they do thereby unite such two or more Parishes into one, for the ends aforesaid, and thereby appoint where the meeting of the Inhabitants of both the said Parishes for the Publick worship of God shall be, and the same instrument after being inrolled in the Court of Chancery, from and after such inrollment, the said Parishes shall stand and be consolidated and united for the purposes aforesaid, and are hereby declared and shall be from henceforth deemed, adjudged and taken to be consolidated and united for the better maintenance of an able and godly Minister.

Duties shall be paid ae-cording to such unions.

And all the said Inhabitants (living within the Bounds and Precincts of the said united Parishes) shall from and after such inrolment made, pay unto the Minister of the said united Parishes all their Tythes, Duties and Profits, which were before payable or belonging to the Incumbents or Curates of the said Parishes, and every or any of them; And shall likewise pay their rateable part and proportion for the repairing and amending of such Church or Publique Meeting-place within the Precincts of the said Union, and for all other things necessary to be had or used in or about the said Church or Meeting-place.

How Church wardens shall be chosen for Parishes united.

And it is hereby further Ordained, That the Church-wardens shall be from time to time chosen for the said Parishes so united distinctly as formerly, which being so chosen, shall all of them be Church-wardens of the said Church, as to the repair and necessaries of the said Church and Duties belonging to the same.

How Pre-sentations shall be to places united.

And be it further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That where such Union as aforesaid shall be made of two or more Parishes, whereof there be several Patrons, that the respective Patrons shall present by turns to the avoidances thereof, the Priority wherein shall be ascertained by the said Trustees in the aforesaid instrument. And in case either of the said Livings so to be united as aforesaid, exceed the other double or more in value, the Patron of the living of greatest value shall present twice for the others once.

When such union shall take place where the Churches are full.

Provided, That in case it shall happen upon any Union to be made as aforesaid, the said Churches so to be united shall be full of Incumbents, that the said Union shall take place upon the next avoidance of either of the said Churches, or ejection or removal of either of the said Incumbents, and not before.

Parishes united shall continue distinct as to other Rights and Duties.

And it is hereby also Ordained, That notwithstanding any such Union to be made by vertue hereof, each of the Parishes so united shall continue distinct as to all Rates, Taxes, Parochial Rites, Charges and Duties, and all other Priviledges, Liberties and Respects whatsoever, other then what is herein before mentioned and specified.

No union shall be where competent main tenance shall be otherwise provided.

Provided also, That where any person or persons shall at their own charge advance and setle a competent maintenance for the Minister of any Parish Church, to be approved according to the Ordinance for approbation of Publique Preachers, there shall be no Union for so long as such maintenance shall indure of any such Parish by vertue hereof.

Trustees may eause one of the Churches or Chappels united to be taken down.

And where any such Union shall be made as aforesaid, it shall be lawful to and for the said Trustees, or any five or more of them, to cause such Church or Chappel as upon the said Union shall be found useless, to be taken down, and the materials converted to a joint stock for the repairing inlarging, and accomodating of the Church, or Publique Meeting-place, which shall be continued for the Inhabitants of the said Parishes, and not imployed to any other use.

The Trustees have power to sever or divide Parishes.

And it is further Ordained, That the said Trustees, or any five or more of them, shall have power to sever and divide Parishes, where they shall conceive it needful, and fix such maintenance, out of the profits of the said Church so to be divided, as they shall think fit, to be approved of by the Parliament; and in the intervals of Parliament, by His Highness the Lord Protector and his Council.

In what cases Augmentation shall cease to places united, or may be lessened.

And be it further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That in all cases where the said Trustees shall think fit to unite two or more Parishes so as aforesaid, whereby the maintenance shall arise to the yearly value of One hundred pounds or upwards, that in all such cases, from and after the time wherein such Union and Consolidation shall take effect, any Augmentation granted to either of the places so united, or to either of the Ministers there, shall from thenceforth cease and be discharged; And where the said Trustees shall finde any Augmentation granted unto any Countrey Parish, or to the Preacher there, which together with the yearly profits and dues belonging to the said Church, shall amount unto above One hundred pounds per annum, that the said Trustees shall have power to take off so much of the said Augmentation, as together with the said yearly profits and dues, doth exceed One hundred pounds per annum.

Power to review, alter or disallow Augmentations already granted and to grant new ones.

And the said Trustees, or any five or more of them, have hereby power to review all Augmentations already granted, in as full and ample maner, as the late Commitee for regulating the Universities were impowered to do; and with the approbation of His Highness and the Council, to allow, disallow or alter such augmentations, and to grant Augmentations and Allowances out of the aforesaid Revenue to such other places, or publique Preachers or Schoolmasters, in such places as they shall think fit, with the approbation of His Highness and the Council.

This shall not extend to diminish augmentations already granted, nor to restrain the granting of greater Augmentations to Cities or Market Towns.

Provided, That this Ordinance, or any thing therein contained, shall not extend to abate, diminish or discharge any augmentation of a greater value then aforesaid, already granted by His Highness and His Council, without the consent of His Highness and His Council, first declared in that behalf; nor to restrain the said Trustees from granting Augmentations to Preachers in Cities and Market-Towns where there shall be cause of a greater proportion then as aforesaid.

The Trustees to take an Account of the Revenue, and the improvement of it.

And be it further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That they the said Trustees, or any five or more of them do, and they are hereby authorized, to take an exact Accompt of the yearly value of the whole Revenue hereby setled as aforesaid, as also what Leases are yet in being, and of how long continuance, and what improvement may be made thereof upon the expiration or the said Leases respectively; as also what Augmentations, or annual payments or charges of any charitable, pious or other uses the premises or any of them stand charged with, and to what uses, and to cast up and compute the same, and to take care that the same be managed; and the said profits, Rents and Revenues, and all Arrears thereof, collected and gathered with least charge, and with the best advantage and security, and the payments made with least trouble to the persons concerned; and to take an Accompt how the Rents and Profits of the premises, vested in the aforesaid Trustees by the aforesaid Acts, have been imployed and managed since the making of the said Acts, or either of them; and also to call to an account all Collectors, Receivers and other Officers of the said Revenue, and to send for all Books of Accompts, and all other Books and writings needful for the effecting hereof; and to examine or cause to be examined their Accompts, and the moneys in their hands, or in the hands or any Tenants or others from whom the same shall appear due from time to time to be paid in; and to cause an exact Accompt to be made up yearly of all Receipts and Payments; and to appoint Officers needful; and to allow fitting salaries and allowances, and all incident charges necessary for the former or future carrying on the said service; and to examine the salaries and allowances made by the Trustees in the aforesaid Acts named, unto their Clerks, Treasurers, Collectors, Receivers or other, and to lessen or increase their number, and allow or disallow the said Salaries or Allowances if they shall see cause; and to manage the whole revenue so as may be for the best advantage of the said service.

Salary for the Trustees.

And be it further ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That there shall be paid unto each of the said Trustees for the said service, One hundred pounds per annum out of the Revenues aforesaid, to be paid half yearly by the Treasurers by Warrant from the said Trustees, or any six of them.

An Accompt of all Receipts and Payments shall be exhibited yearly into the Exchequer.

And be it further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Trustees do within four Moneths deliver into His Highness Court of Exchequer a particular of all the present Revenues aforesaid, and what Leases are in being, and of how long continuance, and shall yearly exhibit under the hands of them or any five of them, into the Court of Exchequer on the second Thursday of every Easter Term, a perfect Accompt of all the Receipts and Payments out of the said Revenue.

How new Trustees shall be added in case of Death.

And lastly be it Ordained, That as often as any four of the Trustees before-named, or the Trustees hereafter to be named shall die or be deceased, the six surviving Trustees shall within two Moneths next after, by Feoffment, or other good assurance, setle all and singular the premises to the use of themselves, and such other persons as the Lord Protector and His Council shall appoint upon the Trusts in and by this Ordinance expressed.