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at the adjourned meeting, although the notice for such adjourned meeting does not state the purpose (1).
The acts of one vestry are not absolutely binding on a succeeding vestry; but the confirmation of a succeeding vestry is not necessary to make the acts of a preceding one valid (m).
Vestrymen incur no separate or individual responsibility for anything done in pursuance of a resolution of vestry signed by them (n); but it has been held that where they actually guarantee the expenses of an action, they are personally liable (o).
VESTRY CLERK is chosen by the vestry. He holds his office either under the common law or the Act of 1850 (p). There is no particular qualification (9). The duties are the usual ones of a secretary, and are very minutely defined in the Act. They include the keeping of the vestry books and churchwardens' accounts, and assisting the overseers with their accounts (r). The Act of 1850 only applies where the population of the parish exceeds 2,000. The vestry clerk is to be appointed at a special meeting convened for the purpose after seven days' notice, and he can only be dismissed with the consent of the Local Government Board. His salary is fixed by the Board, and paid out of the poor rate (p). No churchwarden or overseer is relieved of any duty by the appointment, nor is he obliged to avail himself of the services of such clerk (s).
VICAR. A vicar is a deputy or substitute; thus, anciently, all bishops were styled “ Vicars of Christ” (t). In English law the term is usually applied to the incumbent of an appropriated benefice, who receives only part of the emoluments (generally speaking, a share of the glebe and the small tithes), and who is supposed to act as the deputy of the rector, who receives the great tithes. This arose from the system of appropriation of livings by monasteries, who were wont to depute one of their own body to perform Divine service. The stipend and term of office of such deputy or vicar were entirely at the discretion of the appropriator, and consequently the parish priest, in appropriate livings, was in reality no more than a “curate” (u). And Blackstone says the parish work was done in so scandalous a manner, and the parishes suffered so much by the neglect of the appropriators, that the legislature was forced to interpose. So long ago as 1391 (c), it was enacted that the vicarage should be sufficiently endowed, and in 1402 it was ordained that the vicar should be a secular person, i.e., not a member of a religious house, and that he should be a vicar perpetual, not removable at the caprice of the monastery, and that he should be canonically instituted and inducted, and be sufficiently endowed, at the discretion of the ordinary, for these three express purposes—to do Divine service, to inform the people, and to keep hospitality (x). In obedience to this statute, some vicarages were fairly well, and others very scantily, endowed, but in all cases the appropriators kept a large share of the emoluments to themselves, which, at the Reformation, in some cases passed into the hands of laymen, who are called lay impropriators.
(1) Scadding v. Lorant (1851), 3 H. L. C. 418.
(m) Mawley v. Barbet (1799), 2 Esp. 687.
(n) Spratı v. Powell (1826), 3 Bing. 478.
(0) Hendebourck v. Langton (1829),
3 C. & P. 566.
(P) 13 & 14 Vict. c. 57, ss. 6—8.
(9) See Pedley v. Chapman (1891), 7 T. L. R. 396.
(r) 13 & 14 Vict. c. 57, s. 7.
Of parochial churches, therefore, some have been appropriated, others have not; in a non-appropriated living, there is no vicar, but a rector only, who must be a spiritual person, and has the cure of souls in the parish, with the exclusive title to all the emoluments; in an appropriated living there is generally, besides the appropriator, a vicar, and in churches so circumstanced (termed vicarages) the appropriator never (as appropriator) has the cure of souls within the parish, which
(u) In France a curate is still called vicaire.
(v) 15 Ric. 2, c. 6; and see Bla. Com.
(x) 4 Hen. 4, c. 12.
is committed to the vicar (y). The vicar, like the rector, is seised of a kind of freehold life interest (r), but the appropriator is also seised, subject to the vicar's interest, and as a general rule is solely seised of the chancel.
In some cases, however, the vicarages were not endowed at all under the statute of Henry IV., and these were called perpetual curacies. A perpetual curate was, however, of the same general description as an endowed vicar, and, since 1868, the incumbent of the church of every parish or new parish for ecclesiastical purposes, not being a rector, who is authorized to publish banns, and solemnize marriages, churchings, and baptisms in such church, and receive the entire fees for his own use, is, for the purpose of style and designation but not for any other purpose, deemed and styled vicar, and his benefice a vicarage (a).
The vicar or perpetual curate is entitled to officiate in, and have free access to, the chancel, except in certain cases where it may form a private chapel; but he has no right, strictly speaking, to fees for the erection of monumental tablets or for the construction of vaults therein. A faculty for that purpose may be legally granted without his consent, but he has a persona standi by reason of his spiritual position as incumbent to oppose the grant of the faculty (6).
Vicarages may be converted into rectories whenever the impropriator surrenders the rectorial property; and this applies to subdivisions of vicarages. The vicar becomes rector without any new induction (c).
As to the general rights and duties of a vicar, see Incum
VICAR-CHORAL, the assistant or deputy of the canons or prebendaries of cathedrals and collegiate churches in the discharge of their duties, especially, though not exclusively, those performed in the choir or chancel, as distinguished from
(y) 2 Ste. Com. 713.
(6) Rugg v. Kingsmill (1868), L. R. 2 P. C. 65. And see CHANCEL.
(c) 3 Geo. 4, c. 72, 88. 13, 14.
those belonging to the altar and pulpit (d). The term vicarchoral has now been generally superseded by that of minor canon for the clergy, and lay clerk for the laity. Their duties are chiefly musical. In some cases they form endowed corporations, and an Act has been passed to enable them' to obtain fixed incomes by transferring their property to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (e).
VICAR-GENERAL is much the same as a chancellor (f). The Archbishop of Canterbury and all the Irish bishops have vicars-general and not chancellors (g).
VISITATION, an inspection of clergy by a superior. Thus, the Crown, as supreme ordinary, visits the archbishops (1); the archbishops, the bishops and the inferior clergy (i); and the bishops and their officials and deputies, the inferior clergy. Formerly the visitations extended to the laity, as nominally they still do. The canon law states that the chief and principal cause and use of visitation is, that the bishop, archdeacon, or other assigned to visit, may get some good knowledge of the state, sufficiency, and ability of the clergy and other persons whom they are to visit; and therefore every clergyman must exhibit his letters of orders, institution, induction, and all his dispensations, licences, or faculties whatsoever at the next visitation after his admission to a living or curacy (;). Archdeacons' visitations are usually held soon after Easter, when church wardens (q. v.) and sidesmen (q. v.) are admitted.
Bishops' visitations should take place once every three years (k).
The fees payable at an episcopal or archidiaconal visitation amount to 188. (See FEES; CHURCH WARDEN.)
Some places, called peculiars (q. v.), are exempt from episcopal visitation, e.g., Westminster Abbey, St. George's,
(d) Hook, Ch. Dict.
(i) See Dean of York's case (1841), 2 Q. B. 1.
(5) Can. 137.
Windsor, and the Chapels Royal, of all of which the Sovereign is visitor. The Sovereign also “visits” all places of which the Pope was visitor in pre-Reformation times (1).
WAFER BREAD. The wafer, properly so called, is a composition of flour and water, rolled very thin and unleavened. It is used in the Church of Rome at Holy Communion, but is illegal in the Church of England (m). The bread to be used in our Church “must be such as is usual to be eaten, but the best and purest wheat bread that conveniently may be gotten” (n). What is substantially different will not "suffice," but it would seem that the shape of the pieces of bread is immaterial (m).
WALES, Church of, formed one province of the ancient apostolic British Church, being under the rule of the Archbishop of Caerleon, whose see was afterwards removed to St. David's (o). It had a continuous uninterrupted existence during those troublous times 400—700 A.D., when the bishops of the eastern provinces of London and York were frequently forced to flee for their lives from the persecutions of the Saxon invaders. On the arrival of Augustin in A.D. 596, the Welsh Church refused to acknowledge the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, or of the newly Rome-founded see of Canterbury; and it was not till about the middle of the 12th century that the Welsh bishops finally acknowledged the Archbishop of Canterbury as their primate. A similar state of things, therefore, exists in the English as in the Greek Church, where the most ancient sees in the world, those of Jerusalem and Antioch, acknowledge the primacy of the subsequently founded see of Constantinople. In both cases the result was due to political considerations.
The Welsh Church is said to comprise at the present time about one-fourth only of the population.
(1) 25 Hen. 8, c. 21.
(m) Ridsdale v. Clifton (1877), L. R. 2 P. D. 349.