§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Earl Beauchamp.)
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I desire to say a few words upon one point in this Bill before we give it a Third Reading. There has been some misunderstanding on the subject outside this House, though I do not know that there has been any within its walls. Your Lordships will remember—indeed attention has been called to it—that in the Bill as introduced buildings which are now used for ecclesiastical purposes were excluded from Part III, but under Parts I, II, and IV such buildings still fell within the provisions of the Bill so far as they were applicable. By subsequent amendment a change was made excluding buildings now used for ecclesiastical purposes from the purview of the Bill from beginning to end; but I am anxious to say a single word to avoid misapprehension as to the manner of that change.
I am very far from saying that buildings which are subject to the control of ecclesiastical authorities have always and invariably been protected in the most ideally perfect way, while other buildings were suffering which were not under ecclesiastical control. 793 Ecclesiastical authorities, like other people, have changed their views on these subjects very much for the better in recent generations, and though I believe that, speaking generally, the control exercised by the ecclesiastical authorities has been well exercised, I do not for a moment claim infallibility for them throughout the years that have gone. Nor do I maintain that at this moment the ecclesiastical authorities ought to be turning a deaf ear to criticisms which have appeared in the evidence before the Select Committee and elsewhere as to possible dangers which may arise in regard to the reparation or the alteration of ancient buildings of an ecclesiastical character which have historic and æsthetic value beyond all words. But while I maintain that we are prepared to give attention, increased attention if need be, to the needs of such buildings in consequence of criticisms which have now been, happily, made from many quarters as showing what different people think on this subject, I am not in the least disposed as things at present stand to believe that any change for the better would come about by transferring from the ecclesiastical authorities to public authorities or to Parliament the buildings which are now subject to that ecclesiastical control.
But in view of the criticisms which have been rife on the matter the Archbishop of York and I have been considering carefully whether we could profitably take any step which would be likely to be advantageous to secure additional protection when changes are made so that they may not be made rashly and harm may not be inadvertently done. We have requested our chief ecclesiastical officer, the Dean of Arches, before whom all questions of faculty go on appeal, to make inquiry throughout the dioceses of England as to what are the precautions taken at this moment by our different ecclesiastical judges or courts to secure that no harm shall arise to the ecclesiastical buildings whose value is so immeasurable, and my belief is that we shall collect sufficient information in a short time to show whether or no it is desirable that we should forms late for our courts any further direction with a view to additional protection or whether that protection is adequately given at present. All that I am anxious to say is that this is not a case in which the ecclesiastical authorities are simply trying to push aside as contemptible or as unworthy 794 of notice any criticisms made. We are prepared to give them the fullest possible consideration, while at the same time we believe, speaking largely, that the authority which at present controls these matters is the authority which can best control them in the years to come.
THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH
My Lords, I should like to express my pleasure at hearing those few words from the most reverend Primate. Strong feeling was expressed on this matter in the Joint Committee, and especially by the members of the Committee from another place. I welcome the remarks which the most rev. Primate has just made, for members of the other House and the public will now know that steps have been taken to institute an inquiry into the state of things, especially in reference to ecclesiastical buildings. While I entirely agree with what the Lord Archbishop said as to the advisability of not interfering with the jurisdiction and the authority of the ecclesiastical courts, I am very glad that he has been able to make the statement we have just heard, because I believe that it will make the passage of the Bill through the other House smoother and easier than would otherwise have been the case.
My Lords, I should like to say a word in support of what the noble Earl who was chairman of the Joint Committee has said. I feel sure that the action which the two Archbishops are taking will tend to conciliate a very strong body of opinion which feels that something substantial ought to be done to safeguard ecclesiastical buildings from misguided and ill-directed reparation which often means the destruction of the most interesting features. I think also that the assurance that the two most rev. Primates have secured the co-operation of a small committee, which probably will report in less than a year, will stave off opposition which otherwise would have made itself felt and might have led to a proposal for superseding the present ecclesiastical organisation, which we thought in the Committee, if properly set to work and properly guided, was quite adequate for the protection of those buildings which require a faculty for their alteration.
There was another matter brought very strongly before us which we thought 795 belonged to a slightly different category, but in connection with which we all felt that protection was needed. I refer to the chattels held in connection with worship—chalices, church plate, and things of that sort, in connection with which faculties for sale have been granted too freely in the past on the ground that the stipend was too small or that the church wanted repair. In this way these things, which are as interesting historically as structural details, have been alienated. I hope that the committee which the two Archbishops have appointed will consider that matter along with the question of structures.
But there was a point not mentioned by the most rev. Primate. I refer to the fact that those buildings which are pre-eminent in the eyes of the general public—namely, the cathedrals and the great collegiate churches—do not need a faculty at all when altered. They are very much in the power of their deans and chapters. There, too, the Joint Committee were very anxious, while securing the conservative preservation of these buildings, not to raise contentious matters of the province of the Church and the State, and as far as possible to work on the lines of the existing ecclesiastical law; and it was felt that if the most rev. Primate, after consultation with the Bench of Bishops, could promote legislation which might apply to cathedrals something of the law which applies to other churches—something in the nature of a faculty, with the two Archbishops as the body to consider and grant faculties for cathedrals in the same way as the ordinary Bishops now do in respect of parish churches—it would be a great improvement. Of course, the most rev. Primates would consult the whole Bench of Bishops, and probably try collectively to come to some common course of action; and I am quite certain that if they proposed legislation with the practically unanimous consent of the right rev. Bench such legislation would, especially if it met the very strong feeling as to the preservation of these buildings, have a great chance of success. As the most rev. Primates have taken in hand the question of faculties for parish churches, I hope that they will not overlook those buildings which, in the eyes of the general public, are considered the more important and which stand more conspicuously in the ecclesiastical history of this country—namely the cathedrals.
§ LORD EVERSLEY
I desire to congratulate the noble Earl the First Commissioner of Works on the passing through your Lordships' House of a measure so complete and so full as this one. Compared with the Act for which I was responsible, this is a complete measure. That Act, indeed, was a merely tentative and permissive one, and the wonder is that it has not been amended and extended before. I refer to that Act merely to say that the late Lord Avebury was really the initiator of all this legislation for the preservation of ancient monuments. Of the many subjects which that noble Lord was interested in, I think there was none which he had more at heart than that of the preservation of ancient monuments. Indeed, he took his title from an ancient monument which he bought in order that it might be preserved to the public. The noble Lord for many years introduced measures on this subject, which passed Second Reading but owing to want of time were not carried further. It was at his instance that I endeavoured to legislate on the subject in 1882, and although I was not able to adopt his method of dealing with the subject yet the noble Lord gave me his full support in the measure which I introduced and carried in that year; and I am quite sure that had he been alive to-day he would have given his cordial and earnest support to the measure now before us.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a.
§ Clause 3:
§ Power to constitute Commissioners of Works guardians of ancient monuments.
§ [1882, ss. 2, 9; 1900, ss. 1, 2.]
§ 3.—(1) The owner of any monument which appears to the Commissioners of Works to be an ancient monument within the meaning of this Act may by deed, with the consent of the Commissioners, constitute them guardians of the monument.
§ (2) The owner of any monument which appears to a local authority to be an ancient monument within the meaning of this Act, and is situate in or in the vicinity of their area may, by deed, constitute time local authority guardians of the monument, if the local authority consent:
§ Provided that the Commissioners of Works or the local authority, as the case may be, shall not consent to become guardians of any structure which is occupied as a dwelling-house by any person other than a person employed as the caretaker thereof or his family.
§ (3) Every person deriving title to any monument from, through, or under any owner who has constituted the Commissioners of Works or a local authority guardians of the monument under this section shall be bound by the deed executed 797 by the owner for that purpose, and where the owner of any land being the site of a monument is a tenant for life or in tail, or heir of entail in possession in Scotland, having a power of sale of the land either under the terms of a will or settlement or under any Act of Parliament, the deed executed by the owner in respect of the site of which he is so tenant for life or in tail or heir of entail in possession shall bind every successive owner of any estate or interest in the land, and the execution of any such deed by the tenant for life or in tail or heir of entail in possession shall not render him subject to any liability on account of any depreciation of property attributable thereto.
§ (4) Where the site of a monument is, at the time of the execution of the deed, subject to any incumbrance not capable of being over-reached by the tenant for life under the powers conferred on him by the Settled Land Acts, 1882 to 1890, or by the instrument creating the settlement, the deed shall not bind the incumbrancer.
§ (5) Except as provided by this Act, the owner of a monument of which the Commissioners of Works or a local authority become guardians under this Act shall have the same right and title to, and estate and interest in, the monument in all respects as if the Commissioners or local authority, as the ease may be, had not become guardians thereof.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Earl BEAUCHAMP)
The first two Amendments standing in my name are intended to make the drafting of subsection (1) of Clause 3 correspond with the Amendment moved by Lord Curzon at the last stage. The noble Earl moved an Amendment which does not seem to have been carried out in the print of the Bill, and the two Amendments standing in my name are designed to make the wording of the subsection correspond with the Amendment as it appears in Hansard and as it was the general wish of the House it should be inserted in the Bill.
Clause 3, page 2, line 10, leave out, ("by deed"); line 11, after ("them") insert ("by deed").—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
The object of the next Amendment is to make the wording of subsection (2) correspond with that of subsection (1).
Clause 3, page 2, line 14, leave out from ("may") to the end of line 16, and insert ("with the consent of the local authority, constitute them by deed guardians of the monument").—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.798
§ Clause 22:
§ Definition of ancient monument.
§ [1882, s. 11; 1900, s. 6 (1).]
§ 22. In this Act the expression "monument" includes any structure or erection, other than an ecclesiastical building which is for the time being used for ecclesiastical purposes; and the expression "ancient monument" includes any monument specified in the schedule to the Ancient Monuments Protection Act, 1882, and any other monuments or things which, in the opinion of the Commissioners of Works, are of a like character, and any monument the preservation of which is a matter of public interest by reason of the historic, architectural, traditional, artistic, or archæological interest attaching thereto, or any part thereof, or any remains thereof, and includes the site of any such monument, or of any remains thereof, and any part of the adjoining laud which may be required for the purpose of fencing, covering in, or otherwise preserving from injury the monument, structure, or erection, and also includes the means of access thereto.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I move to leave out from "and" ["for the time being used for ecclesiastical purposes; and"], and to insert the words in my Amendment. The object is to carry out the suggestion with regard to drafting which was made on Report by Lord Curzon and which we agreed to insert at this stage.
Clause 22, page 11, line 36, leave out from ("and") to the end of the clause and insert ("the expression ancient monument includes any monument specified in the Schedule to the Ancient Monuments Protection Act, 1882, and any other monuments or things which in the opinion of the Commissioners of Works are of a like character, and any monument or part or remains of a monument, the preservation of which is a matter of public interest by reason of the historic, architectural, traditional, artistic, or archæological interest attaching thereto, and the site of any such monument or of any remains thereof; and any part of the adjoining land which may be required for the purpose of fencing, covering in, or otherwise preserving the monument from injury, and also includes the means of access thereto").—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I understand that this Amendment introduces no substantial alteration, but merely carries out in rather better drafting the clause as it stands?
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
That is so. Lord Curzon's complaint was that the present drafting is cumbrous to a degree. The object of the Amendment is to improve the wording of the clause. There is no substantial alteration.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.799
§ Second Schedule:
|Session and Chapter.||Short Title.||Extent of Repeal|
|45 &46 Vict, e. 73.||The Ancient Monuments Protection Act, 1882.||The whole Act except so far as it relates to Ireland.|
|63 &64 Vict, c. 34.||The Ancient Monuments Protection Act, 1900||The whole Act except so far as it relates to Ireland.|
|10 Edw. 7 &1 Geo. 5 c. 3.||The Ancient Monuments Protection Act, 1910.||The whole Act except so far as it relates to Ireland.|
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
The next Amendment makes it quite certain that the Schedule of the Act of 1882 for England and Scotland is kept alive as well as that for Ireland. It is a small point to which I hope I shall get your Lordships' agreement.
Second Schedule, page 14, line 17, after ("Ireland") insert ("and except the Schedule").—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I have no objection to the Amendment, but I do not think it is an achievement of drafting. What we objected to at the last stage was that the Schedule for England and Scotland should be referred to after the Act, except so far as it relates to Ireland, had been repealed. That was so remarkable a performance that we thought it ought to be changed. The noble Earl has tried to meet us, and has done so by providing that, although the Act of 1882 is not repealed so far as Ireland is concerned, it is repealed for England and Scotland except the schedule. I know that wonderful things are done by draftsmen and by lawyers, but I must say I think this is a very strange method of making the law of this country. I should have thought that the combined wisdom of the noble Earl and his advisers might have produced something a little less Irish—may I say?—than the actual proposal which has been made. But so far as we are concerned we do not object to it. It does not do anything to carry out the Bill in any shape other than we would have it.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.
§ House adjourned at twenty-five minutes before Six o'clock, till To-morrow half-past Ten o'clock.