HC Deb 12 April 1869 vol 195 cc576-7

said, he would beg to ask the hon. Member for North Devon, Whether the ecclesiastical districts of the vicarages of St. James and St. Paul's respectively, within the ancient parochial chapelry of Burnley, in the county of Lancaster, have within their limits the requisite population to entitle the vicars thereof to the augmentation of their endowments to the sum of £300 a year out of the funds vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; and, if so, what are the reasons for withholding from the said vicars the augmentation to which they are entitled by the rules and practice of the said Commissioners?


replied that parishes possessing the population of those two districts would, under ordinary circumstances, receive the augmentation, but the Commissioners did not recognize the principle that population alone, without consideration of other circumstances, entitled a district to receive it. These two districts were formed about twenty years ago out of a larger district (Burnley), which was now a rectory, and were endowed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners with an income of £150 a year, the patronage being vested in the Crown and the Bishop of the diocese alternately. On an application being made to augment the endowments to £300, the attention of the Commissioners was drawn to the fact that the mother church, in the rectory of Burnley, was very largely endowed—to an amount, indeed, of £3,000 and upwards, as he had heard stated. The Commissioners were prepared to augment the endowments of the two districts up to £300 a year, immediately, and to continue the augmentation during the incumbency of the present rector of Burnley; but they proposed on the next vacancy of the office of rector of the mother church—the patron being a private gentleman—that the augmentation should be a charge on the revenues of the mother church, and that the patronage should be transferred to the patron of the rectory. The patron, however, refused to entertain the proposition. On the 3rd of March, the Commissioners recorded in a Minute the principle which guided them in these cases, which was to the effect that, as the funds at the disposal of the Commissioners for relieving spiritual destitution were limited, they could not be, with a due regard to the wants of the country, applied in providing an augmentation of endowments in districts where there were large local revenues available. These were the grounds on which grants had not been made to the two mentioned districts.