HC Deb 02 April 1849 vol 104 cc152-5

wished to learn from the noble Lord at the head of the Government whether or not it was probable that there would be any legislation in the course of the present Session with respect to the rectory of Bishop Wearmouth?


said, he had been in communication with the Bishop of Durham and the rector of Bishop Wearmouth—and they both stated that it had always been in their contemplation that an Act of Parliament would be necessary to carry out the arrangements which they had in view with respect to the rectory; but the rector said he thought it would not be possible to prepare a Bill for that purpose until the amount of the income had been more correctly ascertained than it is at present. As he was in communication with the Bishop of Durham, he would be able to state, after Easter, when it was intended to bring in a Bill.


said, he had received a statement from Mr. Davidson, agent for the Bishop and chapter and other clergy in the county of Durham, and also the agent during the time of Dr. Wellesley, which seriously impugned the facts stated by the hon. Member for Cockermouth, on the occasion of his bringing the state of the rectory under the consideration of the House; and as it was of importance not only to individuals concerned, but to the Church itself, he would read to the House the communication of Mr. Davidson. It was as follows:— I have duly received your favour of yesterday's date; and in reply beg to inform you that I have seen the exaggerated statement made by Mr. Horsman in the House of Commons on the 20th instant, respecting the income, &c. of the rectory of Bishop Wearmouth. The late Hon. and Rev. Dr. Wellesley was collated to the rectory in March 1827—and the gross yearly income arising from land, tithes, wayleaves, and coal, from that time up to June 30, 1848, as received by me, on his behalf was as follows— He should not occupy the time of the House with all the details, but state shortly that the total was 72,734l 15s. 1½d.; and the yearly average gross income, 3,463Z. 10s. 9d. The writer then went on to say— You will observe that, 18 years ago (1831), the gross income was only 3,153l. 2s. 5d.; and that the greatest amount received in any year of that period—viz., for 1848, was under 4,000l. The parochial rates paid by Dr. Wellesley for the tithes during the 21 years amounted to 3,538l. 16s. 4d., being an average of 168l 10s., 3d.; the curates' salaries to 12,668l. 6s. 8d., or equal to a yearly average of 603l. 6s. 1d.; and the land agent and receiver of the rents and colliery viewer to 3,341l., being equal to 159l. 1s. 10d. per annum. There have been of late years six curates, with salaries amounting as under:—St. Thomas Chapel (Skipsey), 200l.; Deptford (Bulmer), 150l.; Ryhope (Wilson) 103l. 6s. 10d.; the senior curate (Leefe), 200l.,; second curate, (Akenhead), 150l.; third curate (Carey), 100l.: Hylton (Law), 68l.; being a yearly gratuity given by the late Dr. Wellesley to that chapel, which is in the presentation of—Gray, Esq. The lowest salary ever paid by the late Dr. Wellesley to any of his curates was 100l. per annum, and none of them ever received any assistances from the diocesan or other charitable Christian society. The average income of the rectory, during his incumbency, was as follows: Gross receipts (on 21 years' average) 3,463l. 10s. 9d.; deduct 930l. 17s. 2d. (rates, 168l. 10s. 3d.); curates' salaries, 603l. 5s. 1d.; agency, 159l. 1s. 10d.; net average income, 2,532l. 13s. 1d. In addition to the above deductions, there was an annual outlay for repairs to the farm-buildings; and his subscriptions to the parochial schools (many of which were entirely supported by himself), and to other public charities, amounted to not less than 300l. per annum; but the latter being voluntary I have not stated them in particular. The gentleman who wrote this gave him permission to make what use he pleased of the document, and stated that he would be anxious to give any further informamation upon the subject that would be required. He thought it right, for the vindication of the individual now no more, to make this statement, which he was sure would be deemed most satisfactory by the House.


regretted that he was not aware of the intention of the noble Viscount the Member for the county of Down to make the statement which he had just addressed to the House, or he would have come down with documents in answer to the paper which had been put into the noble Viscount's hand, and which rested upon the authority of parties with whom he believed the noble Viscount was acquainted. He (Mr. Horsman) believed that his statement was far more likely to he a correct one than that read by the noble Viscount; he, therefore, adhered to it. The Viscount was mistaken on some points. The noble Viscount had stated that he had asserted that Dr. Wellesley's income from this living was 4,400l. eighteen years ago. The statement which he made was, that it appeared to him, from the minute details which had been shown him, that the income of it probably amounted to nearly 5,000l. a year, if it was not above that amount; but, the sum which he really put it at was 4,400l., and he had stated that the correctness of this was rendered more probable because the return of the net income of the living, given eighteen years ago by Dr. Wellesley himself, was 2,800l.; and, in addition to this, the noble Lord at the head of the Government stated that 1,600l. a year was paid by him for parochial purposes: these sums, added together, made 4,400l. This was the income eighteen years ago; but since then several new coal fields had been opened. He adhered to his statement, notwithstanding the statement which had just been read by the noble Viscount, which omitted several points which he had mentioned on a former occasion. The noble Viscount said that he (Mr. Horsman) had asserted that the curates of this parish had obtained assistance from the diocesan funds and from local societies. What he said was, that some assistance had been given to them by the Diocesan Society. He would put into the noble Viscount's hands the documents upon which he relied; and he believed that the noble Viscount would admit they were bettor authorities than the letter which had been read by him. The noble Viscount was quite mistaken in supposing that Dr. Wellesley required any defence of his character in consequence of what had fallen from him. He required nothing of the kind. He had made no attack upon him, and his character required no vindication. [A cry of "Order!"] He was aware that he was out of order; but as the House had allowed the noble Viscount to make a statement, he trusted that he should be allowed to make a few observations, as he had been so directly alluded to. He, however, had only to add, that he believed he had stated the correct amount of the income, notwithstanding the authority to the contrary of the agent of the Bishop of Durham, from whom the noble Viscount obtained his information.

Subject dropped.

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