Churches, Endowments

Churches, Endowments
   In studying old deeds and records it is desirable to note the meaning of the following terms employed in the making of endowments : "Dare et concedare," usual form of gift. "Beneficium" = endowment. "Parochia" = parochial endowment. "Taxatio" = assigned endowment, i.e. assignment of share in existing endowments. "Persona," "personatus" one who administers ecclesiastical property without having any cure of souls. "Capellana, capellaria" = in 11th and 12th centuries the share of ecclesiastical revenues appertaining to the cure of souls. Called in the 13th century the "Attalagium" or" Vicarage." The holder, apart from the administration of other ecclesiastical revenues, was called in the 11th century "Capellanus." In the 13th century "Vicarius." When the "persona" combines in his own person the office of administration of tithes with the "Capellaria," the united office or entirety of the church is called "Rectoria" = Rectory.
   The emoluments of ancient minsters consisted of "church-shot," "alms-fee," or "plough alms" ; offerings at the high altar, burial dues. None of these were included in the emoluments of the private oratories, which under the name of "churches" were the subject of gifts, consisting of offerings at altars, gifts of produce, of fruits, etc., either large or small tithes, but not the great tithes, although by the 13th century the term "church" is often used to connote the great tithes.
   In the 11th and 12th centuries the tithes were always mentioned as distinct from and not as included in the term "church." At the time of the Conquest they were in most places in the hands of laymen.
   The early idea of making gifts for ecclesiastical purposes was that they were made to God and the saints for the benefit of the poor and sick, but not specially or primarily for the benefit of the clergy. In the Roman church in later times, revenues were divided into four portions, one for the bishop, one for the clergy, one for repairs of the fabric, one for the poor ; in England the division was usually into three, one for the clergy, and two-thirds for the parson to be expended in charity, a see-due being paid to the bishop.
   In early ecclesiastical deeds the following terms frequently occur : Census = head rent to the original owner. Portio = share (of ecclesiastical officers). Pensio = fixed rent charge.
   The revenues were once held in shares by the parson and the vicar, and these offices were frequently sub-divided, so that there were often several parsons and several vicars in one place. This subdivision was forbidden by the Third Lateran Council, 1179, which also forbade laymen to hold tithes. In a few places the plurality survived-in every collegiate church the parsonship was held in shares in this way, the cure of souls not belonging to anyone in particular. This led to much neglect and abuse. The tithes were granted in early times by lay benefactors to religious houses, and later they probably also granted praedial tithes of heir lands within the parishes to the parish churches.

A Dictionary of London. . 1918.

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