HL Deb 29 April 1869 vol 195 cc1818-21

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time said, that the subject had often engaged the attention of their Lordships. Little need be said in vindication of the principles of the Bill; for the present state of the Law of Dilapidations was admitted to be unsatisfactory, and pressed hardly upon the clergy. It was extremely unequal in the mode of valuation; cases often occurred where an incumbent was called upon to repair the parsonage house upon entering on a benefice, and received a small amount of dilapidations from his predecessor. In spite of these repairs, in two or three years the dilapidations might be consummated in complete ruin; but if the incumbent then went out he was liable to rebuild the house entirely. The next defect of the law was that, owing to the uncertainty, there was not sufficient inducement to the clergy to keep their houses in good repair. The Bill, though by no means a complete measure, proposed to deal with these two points, and to provide for the appointment of official surveyors in each archdeaconry, in order to secure the uniform administration of the law, and to give the incumbents sufficient encouragement to keep their houses in proper repair. They would be appointed by the archdeacon and the rural deans. The Bill also provided that during a vacancy in a benefice, a survey should take place by order of the archdeacon, and upon the surveyor's report the incoming incumbent would be required within a certain time to execute the work; but, in order to lighten the burden upon the successors of insolvent or imprudent incumbents it was provided that the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty should be empowered to advance money on mortgage, in the usual way to the new incumbent, to assist him in executing the necessary repairs. There was also a provision for the inspection by the surveyor of benefices belonging to livings under sequestration. If an incumbent chose to have a survey during his incumbency, and put his glebehouse or other buildings in perfect repair, he would be insured against any further demands for dilapidations for the next five years. The Bill did not at present contain clauses affecting episcopal houses, or the residences of deans and canons, because it was based on the recommendation of the Committees of the Lower Houses of Convocations of Canterbury and York, who had shrunk from dealing with that part of the question; but he hoped the clauses dealing with them would be inserted when the Bill got into Committee. Another omission was that the rights of patrons seemed to be insufficiently protected, inasmuch as it did not provide that the patron's consent to all loans should be obtained; nor was there any provision to enable patrons, in their own interest, to have buildings inspected from time to time. Provision on these points would, he hoped, be made in Committee. He thought, that with these additions, the Bill would prove a great benefit to the clergy. He believed that no objection could be made to the principle of the Bill, and that the details could be best considered in Committee.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Archbishop of York.)


thought the time of the House would be saved, if the most rev. Prelate withdrew his Bill, and substituted the measure, framed by a Select Committee in 1862, with the valuable co-operation of Lord St. Leonards. That measure was very carefully considered, and avoided some of the defects of the present Bill, while it contained valuable provisions which were not comprised in this measure.


said, he concurred in this suggestion. Having been a Member of the Select Committee, he could bear testimony to the careful consideration the subject received, and to the time and attention devoted to it, in particular, by Lord St. Leonards. His most rev. Brother's attention had, probably, not been directed to that Bill, which, in his opinion, would best carry out the object he had in view.


said, that the subject urgently required consideration, and, as another Member of the Select Committee, he also would advise the withdrawal of the present Bill, and the substitution of that of 1862.


also recommended the adoption of the Bill, which had been carefully considered by the Committee of their Lordships' House.


said, he felt that he had no alternative but to accept the friendly advice offered him from such influential quarters. Through the courtesy of the noble Lord (Lord Portman), he had had an opportunity of examining the Bill of 1862 as it issued from the Select Committee—his ignorance of which was due to his not having been at the time a Member of the House—and of seeing the care with which it was drawn. It was almost impossible to carry a beneficial Bill on this subject, without the consent of the clergy, and he must therefore consult with others on the subject. He would, therefore, with the permission of the House, withdraw his Bill, and introduce that prepared by the Select Committee of 1862—reserving to himself, however, the privilege of reviving his Bill, which had been extensively circulated and generally approved by the clergy, in a future Session, if he thought fit. He would also consider whether many of its provisions might not be advantageously introduced into the Bill of 1862, in Committee.

Motion (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.

The Bill (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.