HL Deb 28 July 1910 vol 6 cc540-9

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Viscount St. Aldwyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Clause 1:

Power to make Orders in Council with re4pect to Bishoprics, &c.

1.—(1) His Majesty may, from time to time, by Order in Council made on the recommendation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, provide for the foundation of new bishoprics, with a diocese and cathedral church in each case, for the foundation of deans and chapters or of deaneries or residentiary canonries in connexion with any such cathedral churches, for the alteration of the boundaries of dioceses as constituted at the date of the Order, and for any matters for which it appears necessary or expedient to make provision in connexion with those objects or any of them, including the transfer as between bishoprics of patronage and endowments, and the proceeds of sale of any house of residence whether effected before or after the passing of this Act, and the annexation (notwithstanding any enactments to the contrary, but subject to the rights of the incumbent at the date of the Order) of a benefice to a deanery:

Any provisions of the Bishoprics Act, 1878, as originally enacted may be applied with the necessary modifications by an Order made under this Act in connexion with a new bishopric to the case of that bishopric.

(2) A recommendation for the purposes of an Order under this Act shall not be submitted to His Majesty unless—

  1. (a) in the case of the foundation of a new bishopric, dean and chapter, deanery, or residentiary canonry, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners certify to His Majesty under their common seal through the Secretary of State for the Home Department that an endowment in their opinion adequate has been transferred to them or otherwise provided and secured to their satisfaction;
  2. (b) the recommendation has the consent of the archbishop or archbishops of the 541 province or provinces affected and, so far as the recommendation affects any then existing bishopric or diocese, the consent of the bishop; and
  3. (c) in the case of the annexation to a deanery of a benefice of which the right of patronage or any interest therein belongs to a private patron, notice of the proposed recommendation has been given to such private patron, and if within one month of the delivery of such notice such private patron claims compensation for the loss (by reason of such annexation) of the right of patronage, or any interest therein so belonging to him, then unless he has been paid by way of compensation the value of such right of patronage or interest therein, to be assessed in case of disagreement by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; but a trustee or other person occupying a fiduciary position shall not be bound to claim such compensation.

(3) An Order may be made under this Act with reference to the dean and chapter or deanery of or a residentiary canonry in the cathedral church of any diocese mentioned in the schedule to this Act in the same manner and subject to the same provisions as if the bishopric of that diocese were a new bishopric founded by Order under this Act, and the Order may modify any Act relating specially to any such dean and chapter, but where the Order affects a dean and chapter existing at the date of the making of the Order no such Order shall be made without the consent of that dean and chapter.

(4) Section two of the Bishoprics Act, 1878 (which relates to contributions for the purposes of the endowment of a new bishopric), and section five of the same Act (which relates to the number of bishops sitting in Parliament), shall apply as respects new bishoprics founded or proposed to be founded under this Act, in like manner as they apply as respects the new bishoprics mentioned in the schedule to that Act.

(5) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners shall have the same powers of investing, managing, leasing, selling, and otherwise dealing with funds and property forming part of the endowment fund of any bishopric, dean and chapter, deanery, or residentiary canonry founded or proposed to be founded under this Act as are conferred upon them by the Bishoprics Act, 1878, in relation to the endowment funds of the new bishoprics mentioned in the schedule to that Act; but nothing in this Act shall authorise the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to apply any portion of their common fund towards the endowment of any new bishopric, dean and chapter, deanery, or residential.), canonry save in so far as relates to any part of the endowment of any existing bishopric transferred by Order under this Act to a new bishopric.

(6) Any Order made under this section shall have effect as if enacted in this Act, and may be revoked, varied, or added to by any such Order subsequently made.

(7) Before any Order is made under this section the draft thereof shall be laid before each House of Parliament for a period of not less than thirty days during the session of Parliament, and, if either House, before the expiration of that period, presents an address to His Majesty against the draft or any part thereof, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon, but without prejudice to the making of any new draft Order.


My Lords, I have handed in two or three Amendments, and I regret that your Lordships did not have them circulated. It was impossible, the Bill only having been read a second time last night, that I could get them in earlier. My first Amendment is to subsection (1) and is to leave out the words which appear in the subsection in parentheses—namely, "notwithstanding any enactments to the contrary"—and to insert "with the consent of the patron or patrons." I said last night that it was quite a. new departure to deprive a patron of his right of presentation irrespective of his consent. In previous Acts for creating new Bishoprics there was in each case a clause protecting the rights of patrons. The provision in this Bill, therefore, is not the least essential to the purposes of the Bill, because all previous Bishoprics have been created without this provision.

I would remind your Lordships of the danger of introducing provisions which constitute a serious evasion of legal rights unless those evasions are necessary for some public purpose. As undoubtedly the creation of new Bishoprics can perfectly well be performed without depriving the patron of his rights, I see no reason why this should be put into the present Bill. Of the parish church which was selected as the Cathedral of Liverpool the Rev. Stephen Gladstone was the patron. I can very well imagine that there might have been a very distinct divergence of opinion between the late Bishop and the Gladstone family; and I think it is very hard that people who have strong opinions on these church matters and have a presentation should be deprived of that in the way proposed in this Bill. Your Lordships will notice that further on in the Bill there is a proposal that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should determine the value of the compensation to be paid to the patron if he demands compensation. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners can be said to be the promoters of these Bishoprics, and to make the persons who are the promoters the judges of the compensation seems to me very undesirable. When dealing with Bills which had reference to Irish land your Lordships felt very strongly that the public body, whether it was the Congested Districts Board or any other body, which was interested in acquiring the land, was not the proper body to determine the price to be paid for the land, and you did secure that it should be the Judicial Commissioner who should determine the price of the land in that case.

But for the moment I am pressing the more important point—namely, that the patron ought not to be deprived of his right unless it is absolutely necessary, which it is not, for the creation of the Bishopric. I am quite sure that if any one of your Lordships were the patron of either of those magnificent churches I mentioned last night and took an interest in ecclesiastical matters, you would feel that no money compensation bearing any relation to the pecuniary value of the living would be any recompense to you for being deprived of that important trust. I feel very strongly that if you adopt this principle of going beyond the purposes of the Bill it will be quoted against you, and you will be establishing a precedent which will be used in cases in which you might very much resent it.

Amendment moved— Clause 1, page 1, lines 17 and 18, leave out ("notwithstanding any enactments to the contrary") and insert ("with the consent of the "patron or patrons")—(Lord Sheffield.)


My Lords, I hope your Lordships will not give your assent to this Amendment. The noble Lord has contended that the provision of schemes for the creation of deans and chapters in connection with the Cathedral church is foreign to the main purpose of the Bill. That, I think, can hardly be maintained in view of the fact that a Cathedral church is an essential part of the Bishopric. The Bishop must have his Cathedral church, and it is a matter of great importance not so much to himself as to the working of the whole diocese, where that Cathedral church is situated. Your Lordships will readily understand that it is a matter of great importance that the church selected as the Cathedral of the diocese should be one whose general management would be in harmony with the views, not of any particular section of church people in the diocese, but of the whole diocese itself. The noble Lord has quoted instances in which churches that might be used as Cathedrals have been acquired by trustees or by private patrons who might be very unwilling to part with the patronage. I imagine that in a number of cases the trustees and the patron would be most willing, for the sake of the future of the diocese, to part with their patronage. If it is for the good of the diocese as a whole that there should be a Bishop, then I think it is equally for the good of the diocese that the patronage of the Cathedral church and the deanery within it and the chapter should be in public hands.

I am rather surprised that the noble Lord should have introduced this Amendment, because I am informed that the section which provides for the compensation of patrons who are thus asked to surrender their rights for the good of the Church as a whole was introduced in order to meet the views which he on a previous occasion had expressed. As to his claim that the provision of compensation is inadequate because the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are themselves the promoters of these schemes, I think he has there made a mistake. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are not the promoters of these schemes. They are rather the judges of their adequacy. It is not the business of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to promote schemes for the formation of new Bishoprics, but to satisfy themselves that in point of adequate endowment and other essential matters these are schemes which ought to be submitted to the Privy Council and laid before Parliament. Therefore, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners seem to me not to be in the least. in the position indicated by the noble Lord just now. I can imagine no better body than the Commissioners to judge fairly as to the compensation which ought to be asked.

In previous Bishopric Bills no provision has been made for the compensation of patrons. This clause is entirely new, in order to meet the difficulty of the patrons to whom the noble Lord has called attention. In view of the fact that it is of great importance that the Cathedral church of the diocese should be as far as possible a church under the control of public patrons and not under the control of private patrons, I venture to express the hope that your Lordships will not accept the Amendment. I end by saying that this is not a difficulty, I think, that will in many cases arise. My own experience is that arrangements can probably be made, by the exchange of patronage or otherwise, which would render it unnecessary in every case to resort to the expedient of compelling a patron to give up his patronage. In most cases it could be clone by a friendly arrangement; but if it came to the point of a decision having to be made I think it should be made in the direction of giving the control of the church to public patronage.


My Lords, I do not know whether it is necessary for me to add anything to what has been so well placed before your Lordships by the most rev. Primate, but as the noble Lord who has moved this Amendment had some communication with me on the subject last year, perhaps I may venture to say that I did not agree to the insertion of this provision in the Bill without feeling perfectly certain that it was a necessary provision or might become so in some cases that might arise. After all, it is not so much the Bishop who selects the Cathedral church. It is the wish of the people of the diocese. They would naturally wish that the finest church in the diocese should be chosen. For instance, if a new diocese was to be set up, and, say, Bath Abbey was to be chosen, it might lead to conflict if it were impossible, by exchange or by some procedure under this Bill, to obtain the patronage of what everybody would wish to be the Cathedral church of the diocese. I hope the noble Lord will not press his Amendment.


My Lords, I would point out that the fact of getting the living under public patronage was not considered at all necessary in the past. The most rev. Primate and the noble Viscount have said that it would be very rare that this provision would be required. If it would be very rarely used, why not adhere to the law as it stands at the present time, which requires the consent of the patron?


My Lords, there is no doubt that it is quite possible to discover isolated cases of hardship which perhaps might arise under the provisions of the Bill as now before you. The question is whether in these circumstances we should insert an Amendment which, if I may say so, has not received much support; in fact, I think no support from any quarter of the House except from the noble Lord himself. I venture to think that your Lordships would be well advised in leaving the Bill as it is, and leaving the remedies of the aggrieved patron to that private negotiation which, as has been pointed out, undoubtedly might take place before the Order was submitted to the Privy Council. I think the demand of the patron might be well satisfied by an exchange of benefice. In the circumstances I hope your Lordships will pass the Bill without the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment negatived.


My next Amendment, which was to leave out paragraph (c), is substantially consequential upon the last Amendment, and therefore I do not move it. But I propose by my third Amendment to add, at the end of subsection (3), the words "but nothing in this subsection shall authorise the annexation of a benefice to a deanery without the consent of the patron or patrons." I read this subsection as giving the authorities power to go back, in the case of dioceses which have been already formed, and reopen the arrangements there. It would enable the authorities to say to a patron who had had his right reserved under the law by which the Bishopric was founded, "We will go back on that and claim your advowson." If I am right in that, it is a very strong measure to introduce into this Bill a clause which would enable a settlement which had been come to in a diocese founded for several years to be disturbed.

Amendment moved— Clause 1, page 2, line 35, at the end of the subsection insert ("but nothing in this subsection" shall authorise the annexation of a benefice to a "deanery without the consent of the patron or "patrons")—(Lord Sheffield.)


The point is a new one to me. I cannot say offhand whether the noble Lord is right or wrong, and I am not quite sure that I appreciate his point. Is it that he thinks that where an Act has already authorised the creation of a Bishopric and under the provisions of that Act certain arrangements have been made with reference to deans and chapters, this Bill would enable those arrangements made under the provisions of an old Act to be reopened? Is that his view?


Not exactly. As I read subsection (3) there would be power, where the Statute creating the Bishopric, reserved to the patron all his rights, to enter upon what is practically an old and established Bishopric and to say to the patron, "We now propose to take away your patronage in order to turn the incumbent into a dean." But if the point is a new one to the noble Viscount, I will withdraw the Amendment at this stage, and ask him to consult those who drafted the Bill between now and the Report.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


My final Amendment is to insert a new subsection at the end of the clause. I understood that it was contemplated that a dean would be in the appointment of the Crown, and it seems to me that both deans and chapters should be in the appointment of the Crown. I therefore propose to add a new subsection to that effect.

Amendment moved—

Clause 1, page 3, line 24, after ("order") insert the following new subsection: (8) Any order made under this clause for the foundations of deans and chapters or of deaneries and residentiary canonries shall provide for the nomination and appointment of such deans, chapters, or residentiary canons by the Crown.—(Lord Sheffield.)


I certainly should imagine that deans would be appointed by the Crown, but it would be extremely inconvenient to insert in the Bill a provision that not only deans but all the members of the chapter should be appointed by the Crown. There are some cases where all the canons are appointed by the Bishop, and it might be well that some appointments should be vested in one patron and some in another. I hope the noble Lord will not press the Amendment.


If the noble Lord will accept the Amendment in that form I am quite prepared to stop at the word "deans," and leave the question of canonries open. Certainly the noble Viscount does not dispute that a dean ought to be appointed by the Crown.


Perhaps I might be permitted to say that I can scarcely imagine circumstances in which the Commissioners would propose a scheme in which it was not provided that the dean, except in one particular case, should be appointed by the Crown, and even in that excepted case it would be indirectly an appointment of the dean by the Crown. It is possible that in the case of some of these new cathedrals the Bishop might wish to be his own dean. That is the case in regard to the new Cathedral of Southwark, and it might exist elsewhere. In such a case indirectly the dean would be appointed by the Crown. I can see no objection to the statement being explicitly made that deans, when they are separate from the bishop, should be appointed by the Crown; but I would press very much that the appointment of residentiary canonries should be left open. It has happened in the case at least of one new diocese that large benefactions and endowments were made for the formation of residentiary canonries with the express stipulation that the patronage should be in the hands of the Bishop.


I wish the noble Lord would specify the Amendment that he proposes to move, because I do not think the Amendment as indicated would read.


There seems to be general agreement that this ought to be done, and I think it is safer to insert it in the Bill. Even if the Amendment does not read and the noble Viscount thinks the language inartistic, it could be put right between now and the Third Reading.


Will the noble Lord read his Amendment as he now proposes to move it?


I propose that the subsection should run. "Any Order made tinder this clause for the foundations of deans shall provide for the nomination and appointment of such deans by the Crown."


Can you make an Order for the foundation of a dean?


It should be deaneries.


I am not responsible for the wording of the Bill. I took the words from the Bill. If they are clumsy, the people who drafted the Bill are responsible. I move the Amendment in that form, and if it is badly expressed I am not responsible.


My Lords, I would point out that the giving of the appointment of cleans to other persons than the Crown is not new. In all the Welsh dioceses the Bishop has the appointment of the deans.


I confess that in regard to this point the Amendment of my noble friend has my sympathy. An instance occurs to my mind of a Bishop who is anxious to subdivide his diocese and has selected a collegiate church to which he has appointed a number of canons and a sub-dean. When the moment arrives and the actual division takes place these people will have something of a claim to the position to which they have already acquired a titular claim. I venture to hope that for the moment, at any rate, we might find a way out on the lines suggested by the most rev. Primate the Arch-bishop of York—that this Amendment should apply to those cases where the dean is not to be the same person as the Bishop. 'That, I think, would be a reasonable Amendment, and your Lordships might be well advised in accepting it.


After what the noble Earl who represents the Government and the most rev. Primate have said, I do not wish to raise any objection to the Amendment in its modified form. It may require sonic verbal alteration, but that can be made later.


I think it would be better that I should put the Amendment in this form— Any Order made under this clause fur the foundation of a deanery shall provide for the nomination and appointment of the dean by the Crown.


I accept that.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

The Report of Amendment to be received on Monday next, and Bill to be printedas amended.(No. 148).

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