§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can inform the House what is the population of the 27 parishes in Anglesey alleged to be without a resident clergyman; whether each of these parishes is united for ecclesiastical purposes with another parish, and that in every case a resident clergyman officiates in the joint parishes; and whether one-third of the parishes in Anglesey have so small a population that they have no parish council?
§ MR. ASQUITH
The population of these parishes appears to be roughly about 4,700. I have no doubt that in every case such provision as seems to be 104 necessary is made for the spiritual wants of the Church of England in these parishes, either by grouping them with other parishes, or by utilising the services of clergymen residing in neighbouring parishes. I made no charge against the Church of neglecting its duties in Anglesey; on the contrary, it would probably be a very wasteful arrangement to maintain a separate resident clergyman for the benefit of a small handful of people in a thinly-populated parish. My reference to Anglesey was to refute a statement, made with every pretence of authority, that the Church of England, unlike the Nonconformist bodies, maintains a resident clergyman in every parish in Wales. The case of Anglesey shows that the Church, when the circumstances require it, adopts the plan of grouping parishes, and serving one parish by a minister resident in another. There appear to be 78 parishes in Anglesey, of which 20 have no parish council.