HL Deb 16 April 1872 vol 210 cc1309-11


Bill read 3a (according to Order) with the Amendments; further Amendments made.

On Question, That the Bill do pass?


My Lords, before the actual passing of this Bill, I am anxious to say that I feel very strongly that this is but the beginning of a change to which full effect must be given in subsequent measures. From what we may call time immemorial certain great offices in connection with our Cathedrals have been looked upon as sinecure offices; but henceforth they will not be regarded in that light. I stated on a former occasion that several meetings of Deans and Chapters had been held at Lambeth Palace, and that at those meetings a great desire was manifested to make the offices to which I refer more useful to the Church. They felt, however, that a difficulty presented itself in the shape of certain statutes, which interfere with carrying that desire into effect. Since these meetings were held the Deans and Canons of various Cathedrals have been good enough to furnish me with extracts from their statutes; and the impression made upon my mind is that some of the provisions of these statutes do stand in the way of our attaching new duties to the Chapters. In consequence of those old statutes, certainly one-half of the Chapters have no power to give effect to their desire for alterations without the authority of Parliament. As long as those old statutes remain unamended, it is impossible for those who hold the offices to perform to their own satisfaction the important duties which, I have it on their own assurance, they are very anxious to perform. I think, therefore, it will be worthy of your Lordships' consideration whether there should not be more extensive legislation on the subject. There is considerable doubt as to the authority in certain matters—whether it is vested in the Dean or in the Dean and Canons; whether the Bishop has power of interference as Ordinary, or whether his power is as Visitor; and whether, if he has power as Visitor, that power can be exercised except at the request of the Chapter. It is important in the interests of the Church that these questions should be settled, and therefore I cannot but think that further legislation is on several grounds highly desirable.


inquired of the most rev. Primate, whether it was his intention to propose further legislation during the present Session?


was sure that their Lordships must have heard the speech of the most rev. Primate with much satisfaction. The sketch of future legislation given by his Grace was of too vague a character to call for any comment at that moment; but he would express a hope that in any Bill which might hereafter be proposed with the view of making those offices more useful there would be no undue interference with their tenure or with individual rights.


, in reply to the noble Earl (the Earl of Stanhope), said, the subject was very complicated, and he was not prepared to say whether it would be possible during the present Session to take further steps in the direction he had indicated. It would be well, however, to have the matter well ventilated, so that actual legislation might be attempted after mature consideration.

Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.