[pages 141ff of the full report]
Evidence of Rev G.H.McGill
to the Select Committee on the Ecclesiastical Commission, 27 May 1862
The Rev G.H. McGill, incumbent of Christ Church Watney Street, was
chosen by the clergy of Stepney deanery to give evidence to the
committee, particularly in relation to the hotly-debated issue of the
Finsbury prebendal estates, but also on a range of other matters,
including the size and modus operandi of the Ecclesiastical Commission,
which had been created by statute in 1836 (amended 1840) to create a
national fund, shared across dioceses, from moneys gathered as a result
of the reforms of that and following decades. (It was merged with Queen Anne's Bounty in 1947 to form the present-day Church Commissioners.)
The leases of the Finsbury estate
(attached to a prebendal stall at St
Paul's Cathedral, and some dating back to the 15th century) became a
test case of the principle of national rather than local support. They
had become valuable, and were due to 'fall in' in the 1860s. Acts of
Parliament in 1843 and 1859 had previously regulated the apportionment
of their rents and profits. Should
the proceeds be put into the national pot, or was there a special case
to be made for local distrubution, to benefit not just the local
in which they were situated, but the nearby, destitute, and
inadequately-endowed parishes of the East End?
McGill argued robustly for a special case, on the grounds of the huge
populations and severe poverty of the local churches, their lack of
proper endowment, and the fact
that it was local people whose presence in such numbers, and their
labour, had made these estates so
valuable. The Committee were equally robust in their questioning, and
in their defence of the principle of a national fund which would be
undermined by exceptional local grants; but despite the
formalities of the committee procedures they come across as not wholly
unsympathetic, even though some seemed to have a limited
understanding of the harsh realities of East End life, and feared that
proper endowment of its parishes would undermine charitable support.
Comparisons were made with other deprived parts of the country,
including the mining districts of Durham, which diocese at that time
also had large historic assets which were put into the national common
fund. The debate has interesting parallels with the contemporary scene,
with tension between the principles of mutual support across dioceses
In the event, a special case was established, and the 1866 Finsbury Estate Bill was passed to Appropriate
a Portion of the Income of the Estate lately belonging to the Prebend
of Finsbury in the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul London for the Relief
of Spiritual Destitution in the Metropolis [click on image for
full text]. A moiety of the estate's annual income of £40,000 created a
'Metropolitan Curates Fund' which provided clergy appointed under the
Act with a stipend of £200.
McGill's evidence gives full details of all the sources of income for
Christ Church (which despite his meagre stipend was better-placed than
some others, because of generous private benefactors to support his
staff), and shows the reality of the daily
struggle for survival. It makes depressing reading!
[See also the evidence, given a few days later, by the Revd R.E. Bartlett, Vicar of St Mark Whitechapel, sharing many of the same concerns and adding some others.]
Martis, 27 die Maii, 1862.
Mr. Edward Pleydell Bouverie, Mr. Cardwell, Mr. Alderman Copeland, Mr.
Deedes, Mr. Fenwick, Mr. Freeland, Mr. Kinnaird, Mr. Lowe, Mr.
Newdegate, Sir John Pakington, Mr. Philipps, Mr. Selwyn, Mr. Henry
Danby Seymour, Mr. Tite, Mr. Walpole.
HENRY DANBY SEYMOUR, Esq., in the Chair.
The Rev GEORGE HENRY McGILL, M.A., called in; and Examined.
2832. Chairman] You are an Incumbent, I believe, in one of the parishes in the east London? — Yes.
2833. Will you state what parish? — I am the Incumbent of Christchurch, in St. George's in the East.
2834. What is the population of that district? — 13,145.
2835. What is your remuneration from all sources? — About £240 a-year.
2836. From what does that come principally? — From pew rents and fees, exclusively; there is no endowment whatever.
2837. How much do you receive from rents? — About £180 or £190. They vary much, and are considerably diminishing at the present time.
2838. Do you expect that they will go on diminishing?
— I am afraid so, for the character the population is gradually
deteriorating; the respectable families are leaving the neighbourhood,
to live in the suburbs. I have, at the present moment, four families
who will leave within the next six weeks, who have been attending my
church, some of them for a considerable number of years.
2839.You are not the Rector of the parish, but are the Incumbent of the district? — Yes; I think that my proper title is Perpetual Curate.
2840. Have you
been chosen by some of the clergy of the east of London to represent
their case before the Committee? — Yes, I have been asked to do
2841. By what clergy? — By the clergy of the deanery of Stepney, in which my parish is situated.
2842. By any other clergy? — Not any other.
2843. What is the population of the deanery of Stepney? — The population of Stepney is 270,558.
2844. I thought
that you also were to represent the clergy of Shoreditch and
Spitalfields? — I have not been selected by them to do so, but I
have some information which perhaps may be valuable to the Committee
with regard to the adjoining deaneries, especially with regard to the
population of them.
2845. How many
parishes are there in the deanery of Stepney? — There are 23 in
the deanery of Stepney; there are 30 in St Sepulchre's deanery, which
includes Shoreditch, which is close to us; and in Spitalfields, which
is also an adjoining deanery, there are 20 churches.
2846. What is
the population of those three deaneries? — The total population
of the three deaneries is 747,842; nearly three quarters of a million.
There are in the three deaneries 73 churches, and probably about two
clergymen to each church. We are not quite certain about the number,
because they vary somewhat, but probably there are 140 clergymen.
2847. That would
give one clergyman to how many thousands of the population? — It
would give one clergyman to between 5,000 and 6,000 of the population,
and one church to over 10,000 people; 73 churches for 747,000 people.
2848. What would
be the emoluments of the clergy from all sources in those three
deaneries? — I should say that in our own deanery, which I am
better acquainted with than I am with the others with regard to
emolument, the income from endowment is about £3,200 a year; probably
of the 23 parishes, the emolument would be about £5,000 altogether,
with pew rents and fees.
2849. You say
that pew rents are diminishing? — Pew rents are decidedly
diminishing in almost all the East-end parishes. There is one case
adjoining me, which is really a most melancholy one; it has no
endowment, and the pew rents, which formerly brought in a very
considerable income, some £200 or £250 a year have now diminished, so
as to be almost nothing. I may state that last quarter they amounted to
£6 only for the quarter, and that the clergyman did not receive one
shilling of that £6, for some alterations had been made, or repairs
done to the church, and the churchwarden impounded the £6, and paid the
bills with it, instead of handing it over to the clergyman. The
clergyman was a member of my own college, who has recently been
appointed to that church, and he has found the difficulty in carrying
it on so great that his health has given way, and he has been obliged
to leave, and I hear to day that he has placed his resignation in the
hands of the bishop.
Walpole] Is that a new district? — It is not a very new one; it
has been in existence some 30 years at least, I should think; it is St
2851. Has it
been in existence for that time without any endowment being given to it
at all? — Yes; the entire income, I believe, amounts to about £60
which is almost all of it from fees. There is a population of
14,805 souls in that district by the recent census, and the church
accommodation is about 1,500, giving 1 to 10.
2852. Chairman] What is the name of the incumbent? — The Rev. T.H. Clark.
2853. Mr. Walpole] There is a church there, I suppose? — Yes.
Alderman Copeland] Was that church built upon the Mercers' Company's property? — I think not; it is just behind the London
Hospital; I do not know whether it is on the Mercers Company's estate
or not, but it is close to it, if not on the property. [The Mercers' Company was, and is, the richest of the City livery companies.]
Chairman] Are there many instances besides your own, of this
destitution? — Almost all the incomes in the east end of London
are very much below what they ought to be, to support a clergyman, and
to support the different charities which we have all of us to provide
for, such as schools and district visiting societies. My own district
has a population of 13,145; 11,000 of them are very poor people, most
of them being dock labourers, or costermongers, or needlewomen, living
from hand to mouth, and we are continually called upon to help them out
of our pockets, to save them from starvation. Three persons have been
starved to death in the parish of St. George's in the East since the
1st of January last, two in Whitechapel, three, I think, in St Luke's,
one in Bethnal Green, and others in the neighbourhood. There have been
26 deaths from starvation in London altogether since the 1st of
January, and nearly half of them have been in the three deaneries to
which I have been alluding been alluding.
2856. Mr. E.P.
Bouverie] When you speak of people being starved to death, do you mean
that there have been verdicts of starvation returned by coroners
juries? — Not in all cases verdicts, but that has been the report
from the medical officers to the registrar and the Board of Guardians.
How do you account for the incomes of the clergymen diminishing in
these cases? — As soon as persons are able to have a house in the
country they generally go into the country, still continuing their
business, perhaps, in the east end of London. We have a large number of
cases of that sort in my own parish; they take a house in the suburbs,
and go out at night and return in the morning; they, of course, have
their families away from their places of business, and spend their
Sunday in the place where their families dwell. The consequence is that
they give up their seats in the churches in the parish where their
business premises are, and we lose the advantage of their support and
2858. Do you
find that they diminish their subscriptions when they change their
residence? — Yes, certainly. I have an instance which perhaps may
be interesting to this Committee, as showing the small amount of
subscriptions which we shall be able to obtain from local sources. We
are now rebuilding some schools in my own district, and the total
expense of those schools is £2,000. An appeal has been recommended very
strongly by the Bishop of London, and we have applied to all the
landowners in the parish, without, I believe, a solitary exception; and
though we wrote 70 letters, I myself and the vestry clerk having
written to, I think, every landowner, we only received one guinea in
reply to all our applications, and the applications which we have made
to persons resident in the parish, sugar bakers, and other persons of
the more respectable class, have been met with donations to the amount
of £174.6s. We have collected £1,700, and the local amount is £174.6s.
2859. Where have
you got the rest of the money? — The Committee of Privy Council have
given us £776.4s., and the National Society have given us £65. The
Marquis of Westminster has given us £100, and others have contributed.
Walpole] Have you any large companies in your parish? — We have
some; the London Dock Company are the chief proprietors there, but
their shares and their property are not in anything like the
flourishing condition in which they used to be, and they have been
recently withdrawing most of the grants which they have made to
2861. Do they not employ a great many of your poor? — Very many.
2862. And do
they subscribe nothing? — They subscribe nothing to these
schools; they have subscribed to my church for many years (I believe
ever since it has been built) £20 towards the annual expenses, and they
have also given 20 guineas to the schools. I have very large and very
poor schools; but last Christmas I had notice from the secretary that
they intended to withdraw the subscription. I, of course, was very much
put out to think that we should lose £40 a year when we wanted it most;
and, having some personal friends among the directors, I went and saw
the treasurer who is a personal friend of my own, and only by dint of
personal friendship the grant was renewed.
I believe that your schools are the largest in the east of London?
— Yes, I believe that they are; they are very large.
2864. Do you
find that property has changed hands in the districts which you know in
the east of London; that it has gone out of the hands of rich people,
and become subdivided in the hands of small holders? — That has
been the case with the houses. I do not know whether the original
owners have changed so much. We have two large freeholders in my
district, namely the Mercers' Company and Miss Chapman, who is very
liberal to me, and anything that I ask her for she generally
contributes; she has contributed to these schools.
2865. But is not
a great deal of the property in the hands of very poor persons? —
Many of them are very poor persons; many of them have deeply mortgaged
their property, and they are unable to assist in any way.
2866. And practically you can get nothing from them? — Practically, we can get very little indeed from them.
2867. When you
say that you have been deputed to state the case of the clergy of the
east of London before this Committee, will you explain what you mean by
that? — The clergy were summoned some little time ago by the
rural dean, Mr. Jones, the rector of Limehouse, to take into
consideration the prospect of the Finsbury prebend falling into the
hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and it was thought by most
of the clergy, that we who live upon the parishes adjoining that parish
of Shoreditch in which the property is situated, had a much stronger
claim to a share of it when it came into their hands than any other
persons throughout the kingdom. We were of opinion, that the value of
that property had been enhanced by the labour of the people living in
our respective parishes, and that we had from our very limited incomes,
and our very great dearth of church accommodation, not having on the
average more than one seat for every 10 people, a prior claim in the
distribution of that fund to other persons living at a distance. We
considered that it had been left for the benefit of the diocese of
London, and we thought that we had the strongest claim by our enormous
population, by our great poverty, and by our great want of church
accommodation. A meeting was called, and we decided to call the
attention of the Bishop of London to the subject; we called upon him,
and he referred us to the chairman of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners,
Lord Chichester. Lord Chichester said that he could not do anything for
us in the present state of the law, that the Commission had decided to
assist the parish where the property was situated, but not adjoining
parishes, and that therefore the law must be altered. We thought that
it was a proper thing that the law should be altered, because if the
cathedral property has been from its original purpose for the benefit
of whole of the country, the poor people especially, we think that we
have the strongest claim could possibly be made out anywhere within the
length and breadth of the land.
2868. Mr. Walpole]
Why do you say that original purpose to which that property was devoted
was for the diocese of London? — Of course I speak under
correction with regard to that; it was left, I suppose, by the person
who founded the prebend of Finsbury, and has become enhanced in value
in consequence of houses built upon places which were formerly green
2869. How does
that make it out to be to the diocese of London more than to any
diocese? — Because it is attached to St. Paul's.
Was not the cathedral originally considered as the parish church of
diocese? — We as clergymen always look up our cathedral as the head
of our diocese, and always look to it as the centre from which diocesan
2871. Sir John
Pakington] If that property does not belong to the diocese of London,
it does not belong to any other diocese? — Certainly not.
Were not the clergy sent out from the cathedral church in ancient times
to serve the spiritual wants of the people, making the cathedral the
centre? — I should think that that was the original formation of
the cathedral; I know that that was the nature of the abbeys, but not
having recently read up my ecclesiastical history, I should rather
hesitate to give an absolute opinion upon a matter of that sort.
Cardwell] Do you found your expectation rather upon something in the
nature of a local claim, because the property is situate in your
neighbourhood? — Yes.
Have you finished the statement which you were making? — There are
other churches close to my own; I have given the statement with regard
to St Philip's, Stepney, and I would now say a word or two with regard
to St. James's Ratcliffe; the incumbent is the Rev. R.H. Atherton.
2875. He is here, I believe? — Yes.
2876. You had
therefore better omit that case? — There is another church in the
same parish as my own of St George's-in-the-East, namely St. Matthew's,
Pell-street; the Rev. Thomas Richardson is the incumbent; the endowment
amounts to £40 a year; there is no house; the population is 3,245; the
church accommodation is 600; the character of the population is like my
own, very poor, consisting chiefly of dock labourers; the church has
recently been consecrated, and I believe that the income of the
incumbent is partly made up by a chaplaincy which he holds in one of
the large warehouses of the City, and by private subscriptions.
2877. Mr. E.P.
Bouverie] What income does he get altogether? — I think about
£200 a year altogether; then there is St. Leonard's, Bromley, which is
one of the out parishes; the incumbent is the Rev. A.G. How, and the
population is 23,849.
2878. In one district? — In one district; a
school church has been opened within the last few months, but till the
last few months there was only one church for 23,849 people, and that
church only holds 900; the new school will hold 800; making a total of
1,700 seats for 23,849 people; there is no endowment; the pew rents
amount to about £200 a year, and the church expenses are paid by a
Church rate; the incumbent states that his collections have fallen from
£45 on the average to £15.
What collections? — The collections for any object of charity, the
curate's aid, or whatever it may be for the benefit the church; he
states that in the last 20 years they have fallen from £45 on the
average to £15.
2880. Are there many Dissenters or Roman Catholics in that district? — Not I think more than the average.
2881. Are there
many in the East of London? — Certainly not; I do not think that
in my own district out of 13,000 I have more than 30 per cent who are
not Church people; I think that we have 70 per cent nominally Church
people; in my district we had last year 460 christenings, 106
marriages, and about 420 churchings; that would be quite up to the
birth rate; 460 would be more than the birth rate on my population.
2882. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] How many chapels are there in your district? — Four, but only one of them of any very great size.
What proportion of the population in your district would you say are
Dissenters, and what proportion are Roman Catholics? — I should
say about 5 per cent. Roman Catholics [this is surely an under-estimate], and 25 per cent. Dissenters of
various denominations, chiefly Wesleyans and Independents, and there
are some Scotch Presbyterians; the rest, namely, 70 per cent, would be
nominally Church people.
2884. That is to
say they bring their children to be christened at the church? — Yes,
and they are married there, and in fact very many of them attend
church; I have a very large congregation; we have seven services every
Sunday, and we have at least 2,500 persons present at those services.
2885. How many curates have you? — Two curates, and I have one service conducted by a missionary of the Home Mission.
2886. In the
district which you have mentioned as having a population of 23,000, are
there there many Dissenters or Roman Catholics? — I do not think
more than the average, unless it may be, possibly, from the fact of not
having room at the church, for the church is full, and I believe that
there are very few free seats in it; probably there may be more
Dissenters than the average.
2887. Is your
church always full? — Not always full; but it is a very large
church; it is the largest in the East end of London; it holds 2,000
people, and we have 1,400 or 1,500 there.
2888. How many free seats are there? — Seven hundred.
2889. How do you
account for St. Leonard's, Bromley, having no endowment at all, although
it is an old parish? — I am sure I cannot say.
2890. Are the
tithes in lay hands? — I believe that they are. Then there is St.
Thomas's, Arbour-square, which is close to me. That also has a very
large population, namely, 16,433. The endowment is about £30 a year; I
think it is the interest of £1,000, and the total value is about £180,
chiefly from fees. There are pew rents; but not very many of the pews,
I am afraid are let.
2891. Are the
fees burial fees? — No, they are chiefly marriage fees [by 1862, no local parishes had open churchyards, and Christ Church never had one]. That, I
believe, is on the Mercers' Estate; but the population is exceedingly
poor, and I am sure that the incumbent has very great difficulties in
keeping up his charities.
2892. Has it had
any assistance from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? — I believe
not; I do not know whether it had any at the endowment of it.
2893. Have you received any assistance from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? — No.
2894. Has St. Leonard's, Bromley, received any assistance from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? — No, I believe not.
2895. Mr. E.P.
Bouverie] Have you ever applied? — Not that I am aware of. The reason
why many of us at the East end of London would not be able to apply
would be because the Ecclesiastical Commissioners require a certain
amount of benefaction to meet their donations, and it is next to
impossible for us to obtain that from our own sources.
2896. You raised
£2,000 for your schools, as I understood you? — We shall do so;
we get over £800 from the Privy Council and from the National Society.
They will not give you any assistance unless you have raised a certain
proportion, will they? — We undertook to raise it for the schools.
2898. Can you
make the same agreement with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? —
I do not know; a portion of the amount which we have raised we have
been permitted by the Charity Commissioners to sell out, namely, £500,
towards the building of that new school, in order to increase the
accommodation for the teaching of the children.
2899. Was there
a charity in the parish? — There was a charity in the parish, and
a small endowment; and this is a school which has been rebuilt.
2900. Have the
Committee of Privy Council accepted that as a benefaction towards the
new schools? — The Committee of Council required a certain portion to
be given absolutely in subscriptions; that portion we have raised.
2901. Did they allow the money which was sold out by the Charity
Commissioners to count as a donation? — We stated that in our
application. They required a certain sum to be raised, which we have
raised by private subscriptions, and then we voted the other by consent
of the Charity Commissioners.
2902. And by the
time that you have done that, you would find it impossible, I suppose,
to raise more for the church or for the endowment? — I am afraid
that it would be very difficult indeed.
2903. Mr. E.P. Bouverie] Have you ever tried? — No.
Walpole] Are you aware that in other dioceses, and, if I understand
rightly, even in the diocese of London, the different diocesan
societies have tried to raise for the poorer parishes subscriptions to
meet benefactions? — I am a member of the Diocesan Church
Building Society, and I know that we vote grants towards that object.
2905. If one of
these poorer places in the neighbourhood of London were to apply to the
Church Building Society to get money raised for their purposes so as to
meet grants by the Commissioners, they might succeed, might they not?
— I do not think it at all impossible that they might.
2906. Do you not
think it advisable for the parishes to make that attempt in the first
instance? — There seems to be a very strong feeling with regard
to education and schools, and I think that men would make greater
sacrifices for education than for endowments.
2907. Would it
not be better for you to try that before you took for granted that the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners would not give you anything? — I do
not think that they could give me anything, because they do not give to
any clergyman who has more than £200 a year.
2908. I allude
to the poorer parishes? — There is this difficulty with regard to a
clergyman asking people to help him to endow his church because he has
there a direct interest in the money. Now I can ask people for money to
educate my poor by enlarging my schools. but I could not have the face
to ask people for £100 to increase my income.
2909. But still,
as a matter of fact, the clergy in the neighbourhood of which you speak
have not yet tried that plan? — I do not know that they have, but
I think that there would be a very strong objection to their attempting
it, knowing that they would have to beg for themselves. We do not mind
begging for other people, but we have a very strong objection to
begging for ourselves; and I myself think that there ought to be a
power vested in the Commissioners to do away with that absolute
requirement of a certain percentage to be raised by benefactions. We
have to keep our people from starvation, and all that we can do is,
when we are compelled to do it in the winter, to ask our people to give
us bread and clothes, and subscriptions to our District Visiting
Society, and so forth.
looking prospectively to the general purposes of the Church, and not
looking at the present moment to the particular neighbourhood, do you
not conceive that for the general purposes of the Church, one of the
greatest advantages of all in the rule of the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners is, that there will be a permanent fund, to be
permanently applied to meet benefactions in different parts of the
country, by means of which the incomes of the clergy will be raised;
whereas, if if it is granted at once, that income will soon exhausted?
— I do not think it desirable to give it at once; but we
understand that there will be about £50,000 a year from the Finsbury
prebend, and we think that some of those clergymen who have no
endowment whatever have a very strong claim upon it.
2911. That is
another point. I wish to call your attention, in the first place, to
the rule the Commissioners requiring benefactions from different places
before they make a grant? — In the abstract I think that it is a
very proper rule, but that every case should be considered upon its own
2912. Then you think that the rule in itself is a good rule? — Yes; but that it ought not to be without exceptions.
exceptions would you wish to introduce into that rule of the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners? — Where a parish was too poor to
raise a sum in the way of benefaction, to meet the donation of the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners, I would dispense with that rule. I would
give the donation without requiring the benefaction.
2914. How would
you judge of whether a parish is too poor for it? — I would judge
partly by the poor rates. I would ascertain their incidence and their
amount. We are now paying 3s. 3d. in the pound in my parish, and other
parishes are paying almost as much, and I think that that is about the
best test of poverty.
2915. Are you
aware that in many cases where parishes are so poor, other people have
come forward; that the diocesan societies have come forward to relieve
those parishes by giving them the money through subscriptions of their
own raising, so as to get benefactions from the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners? — Yes, I have no doubt of that.
2916. Do you not
think that if you laid down that rule simply as a test, having regard
to the poverty of the parish as you describe it, you would discourage
people from making those voluntary exertions by which the funds of the
Church are so much increased? — I do not see my way to obtaining the
amount required. I quite admit that in the abstract it is quite right
to help those who help themselves, and that has been always my
principle through life; but I can quite understand (and the east end of
London is a case in point) cases where it is impossible, or next to
impossible, to raise a benefaction, and in those cases I should say
that the law should be such as to permit the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners to waive any general requirement.
2917. Are you
aware that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have the power of altering
their rules to meet those exceptional cases? — I believe they
2918. They have
that power? — I was not aware of it; I understood that they
had not the power with regard to the Finsbury prebend.
2919. That is
another point. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have the power of
relaxing the general rule which they have laid down, and which, as I
understand you, you approve of? — Yes.
that generally speaking donations should be given by the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners to meet subscriptions and contributions from others?
— As a general rule.
2921. You are aware that that money comes out of the common fund? — Yes.
2922. What is
the kind of exception which you would wish the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners to lay down to that rule, so as to make the distribution
of the monies out of the common fund. in your opinion, more equitable
and more beneficial to the church? — I would take the quality of
population. We will take, for example, a population at the east end of
London; my own population, 13,000 persons; I think that population
ought to be cut up into two or districts, and that a properly endowed
ought to be erected in each of them. I think that my own church,
instead of being supported by pew rents, should be free. There are many
people who cannot afford to pay the pew rent, and in consequence of
their not affording to pay, they stay away from church. I believe that
my church were made free, if it were endowed with say £200 a year, as
an equivalent for the present pew rents, the church would be
immediately crowded, which it never will be as long as they have to pay
pew rents I think that the district should be divided, and two other
churches erected, and two clergymen appointed to each, in order to work
the district properly; and I think that nothing can be raised, or very
little indeed, if anything, in the district, to meet the endowment
which ought to be provided by the Ecclesiastical Commission.
2923.You would divide your parish into three districts and would endow those districts with £200 a year each? — Yes.
2924.That would be £600 a year, taken the common fund, for that parish alone? — Yes.
2925. How many
other parishes round suburbs of London, do you think, would be
similarly circumstanced to your own? — I think there are about 50
which are inadequately endowed at present.
2926. Would those have to be divided? — Many of them would.
putting them at £200 a year each, you would get, if each was divided
into two, £20,000 a year, which would be required those churches in the
neighbourhood of London? — Yes.
2928. We will go
to another neighbourhood, we will go into Lancashire and into Cheshire,
where there is a very dense population with few endowments indeed. I
conclude that you would ask the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to those
parishes in the same way as they your own? — Not from the
2929. I am not
speaking of the Finsbury prebend; I am talking of the common fund;
would you apply the same rule to all parishes in Lancashire and
Cheshire? — Certainly.
2930. Have you
at all gone into the calculation whether the whole of the common fund
would not be exhausted at once if you did that? — No, I do not know the
amount of the common fund.
Have you looked at the returns which were given to the Lords' Committee
of 1858 of the state of spiritual destitution in each of the dioceses
of England, as put in by the bishops? — No. I am not competent to
answer upon that point; but with regard to Manchester, which we
understand to be one of the most destitute parts of England, I consider
that the statement which I have made with regard to the east end of
London, is infinitely worse than anything in Manchester.
Walpole] Supposing I could show to you by the sort of information which
I have tried tried to elicit from you, that the effect of your
relaxation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' rule, would be at once
to exhaust the £100,000 a year which they now give away without any
benefaction being given in return, would that be a good thing for the
church at large? — No, I do not think that it would.
Have you looked sufficiently, and compared what the income of the
common fund is, and what the state of spiritual destitution is, to
enable you to give an answer to that question? — No I have not.
Walpole] With regard to the Finsbury fund, will you explain exactly
what you think ought to be the rule to be laid down, not now by the
Commissioners, but by Parliament, as to the distribution of any
ecclesiastical revenues which come to the Commissioners either in
London, or in Lancashire, or in Durham, or in any other part of the
kingdom where the property, or near where the property is supposed to
be situated? — I would give a larger definition of the term
"place", which I believe occurs in the Act, and would make it
comprehend in London, for example, the whole of London.
2935. We will
take it as comprehending the whole of London; with regard to the
revenue arising from the Finsbury fund, we will assume that they will
ultimately amount to £50,000 a year when they all fall in; you would
apply those revenues coming from the Finsbury estate to the whole of
London? — Yes.
2936. What do
you include first of all in "the whole of London"? — I should
include the diocese of London within the metropolitan limits; I do not
include those parts in the diocese of Winchester on the other side of
the river, but all the rest I would include within the metropolitan
2937. Your view
is, if I understand you, that as that property was given to the
metropolitan church of the diocese of London, the whole of the diocese
has a prior claim to a portion of it, as compared with any other
diocese in the kingdom? — Yes taking them cæteris
paribus. I do not say that a place at Hendon, for example, with a small
population, and so on, would have a prior claim to a place in
Manchester, with a larger population. I look at the common sense view
of the question. This property was left for the spiritual benefit of
the people of this country, and Parliament, no doubt, intended that it
should be distributed in the best manner for the spiritual benefit of
the people of this country, and therefore I think that no small place
should take precedence of a larger populated place, in its wants. You
have here an enormous population of three quarters of a million of
people, at the east end of London, with an income probably of not
£20,000 a year, and that population has the first claim upon the
Finsbury prebend, which was given for the benefit of London.
2938. Because of
that locality lying in the diocese of London? — Yes, and because
of its enormous population, and because of the results which will
happen to the country, looking at it in a statesman-like point of view,
if those people are permitted to grow up in ignorance and vice, and the
want of the means of religion.
2939. I think
you have stated that in some of the parishes to which you have
referred, the tithes or revenues coming from those parishes are in the
hands of lay impropriators? — I believe some of them are. In Aldgate,
and many other places in our neighbourhood, they are.
2940. Would you
not think that in those cases incomes of those parishes should not come
out of the general fund which is for the general benefit of the church,
but that application should be made to those who are actually deriving
the fund intended for those places? — I am afraid that that would
not come within the power of Parliament, or of this Committee. I wish
it did. I think that it is one of the greatest disgraces to England
that these alienations should have taken place, and that men should
receive, as we know is the fact now, in one case, £2,000 a-year in the
shape of tithes, without any equivalent.
2941. I will
suppose one of those parishes, where the tithes or the ecclesiastical
revenues are going into lay hands, and I will suppose that parish to be
one of the poorest in London. I will assume that you have the Finsbury
fund to distribute among the different parishes. In the case of that
parish, where there clearly was a fund which ought to come from the
landowners of that parish according to your own view, for the benefit
of the ministration of the religious services in that parish, would you
give to that parish out of the common fund, what ought to go for the
general benefit of the Church, when there was another fund out of which
some prior provision ought to be made? — If I found that there
was no legal claim upon the other fund, I fear that I should be obliged
to give the money out of the common fund, because the interests of the
parish must be provided for; and if there is no legal claim upon the
tithe impropriator, I think that the interests of the parish should be
2942. But to
that extent you are injuring the other parishes, who would have a sum
out of the general funds of the Church, and who have no special fund to
which they can apply? — I can quite see the abstract justice of
taking the money from the lay impropriator, but I do not think that
there is any legal power of enforcing that justice.
adhering, more or less, to the rules which have been established, do
you not put more pressure upon those who are the owners of the fund in
the particular parish, and who are deriving emoluments from the parish
which formerly belonged to the Church, instead of releasing them from
that liability which they otherwise would feel themselves to be placed
unde,r by having recourse to the common fund? — I am sorry, so far as
my own experience has gone, to find that owners of tithe property are
generally the most difficult to get anything out of.
understand you to say, that you consider that the parishes in the
diocese of London have a prior claim to parishes which are in the
diocese of Winchester, though they may be as near to Finsbury? — Upon
the Finsbury prebend.
2945. Upon what
principle would you wish that to be laid down? — On the principle
with which I first started, that that property was given to found a
prebend at St. Paul's, and, consesequently, given, I apprehend, for the
general benefit of that diocese, of which St. Paul's is the centre. The
other parishes have a claim upon Winchester, in the same way as these
would have a claim upon St. Paul's.
2946. Then you
do not rest the claim to that Finsbury estate upon the contiguity of
the parishes, so much as you do upon the fact that the the parishes
which ought to have a portion of fund lie within a particular diocese?
— I did say that; here you have first of all the property left;
if a man gives me money for a certain purpose I consider it my duly to
apply that to that purpose; and though I may have purposes to which it
would be desirable, perhaps, to apply it, I do not consider that I
should justified in doing so.
2947. Do you not
think that the other lying as near as or possibly nearer to the
Finsbury estate than the parishes to which yon referred, would think
that they had some reason to complain if they did not get a share the
Finsbury property? — No, I think clearly not.
2948. Are you
not aware that it has been argued repeatedly in the House of Commons,
that the whole of the metropolis is entitled to Finsbury estate without
distinction of the diocese? — I believe it has been said so, but
I do not agree with it.
2949. Put it in
another point of view; the Finsbury estate will be a very large slice
of ecclesiastical property, which will come into the Commissioners'
hands; there other properties in different parts of the kingdom
situated in the same way; would you all those properties to the
different dioceses? — I would make them responsible for the absolute
wants of the particular diocese in preference other dioceses, cæteris paribus; I am putting it on that ground.
2950. London and
Durham being two of the richest of the ecclesiastical dioceses in
England, and Lancashire and Cheshire, and some of the manufacturing
districts in Yorkshire being the poorest, would you contemplate with
satisfaction the exhaustion of the whole fund to be given to those two
dioceses, without giving any portion the fund to districts which
required it quite as much, and which had no ecclesiastical property to
have recourse to? — If they required it more they should have it,
but if they required it just as much, I consider that the diocese would
and ought to have the preference.
2951. You would measure it more or less by the poverty of the population? — Yes, and by the spiritual wants of the people.
2952. Mr. E.P.
Bouverie] As I understand you you would test the poverty in any
district by the rate in the pound of the poor's rate? — I do not
say so absolutely, but I think that that is a very good criterion to
2953. What other
criterion would you take? — I have not thought particularly upon
that point; there would be the kind of occupation in which persons were
employed who were permanently engaged as labourers, or whatever it
ascertainable test of the poverty of a district would you give, which
would enable the Commissioners, or those distributing this fund, to
arrive at the relative poverty of the district? — I think that
there would be a great many things to be brought in before a
satisfactory answer could be given to a question of that sor,t but I
think that the first and most feasible one would be the incidence of
2955. Do you
mean the rate in the pound or the total amount of the poor's-rate?
— The total amount of the poor-rate, compared with the absolute
amount of the property.
might be the amount of the property in the parish upon which that rate
was levied? — Yes; for example. I should think that St.
George's-in-the-East is very much poorer than St. George's,
Hanover-square; for in the one case they pay 3s. 3d. in the pound
poor-rate, and in the other case they pay 6d.
2957. If St.
George's-in-the-East had a rateable value of £300,000 a year, and there
was a poor's-rate of 3s. 6d. in the pound, and if St. George's,
Hanover-square, had a rateable value of £100,000 a year with a
poor's-rate of 6d. in the pound, should you say that St.
George's-in-the-East was the poorest parish of the two? — I think
that there is an element wanting in the question.
2958. Do you
consider the net rental of the property, or only the amount of the
poor's-rate levied upon that property, as the test of the poverty or
wealth of the district? — I should take the rate upon the property as
an indication of the amount of destitution.
2959. Whatever was the amount of the property upon which that rate was levied? — Yes.
Newdegate] Among other tests, would not the prevalence of the
application of the Small Tenements Act be a very fair criterion; that
is to say, where the inhabitants are so poor that they have been
excused paying rates for themselves by Act of Parliament, and the rate
has been thrown upon the owner? — Certainly I think it would,
because it would indicate a very poor class of population, such as that
which prevails in the districts which I speak of, in the East-end of
2961. The result
of your evidence is this, that there should be an inquiry and a
combination of tests in order to ascertain those cases in which the
rules of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should be departed from?
2962. Are not
the lay impropriators of tithes the result of bargains, sometimes
improvident, made by the Church and the ecclesiastical bodies? —
I believe that a very large number of those cases have been alienations
from ecclesiastical bodies in the time of Henry the Eighth. The tithes
had been given away by the Crown when they were given up into its hands
by the abbeys, and so on; and very little, I believe, ever came to the
Crown in return for valuable properties, as far as my reading goes.
therefore include property of the monastic bodies? — Yes, I think
so. I think that a great deal of the alienation of the lay
impropriations of tithes emanated from the dissolution of monasteries
in the time of Henry the Eighth.
2964. And the
Poor Law of Elizabeth was passed to replace the purposes of those
alienations? — I am not quite prepared to say absolutely, yes,
but I should not think it at all unlikely that that was the case.
2965. Are you or
are you not aware that, historically, more than one-half of the real
property of England was at one time possessed by ecclesiastical bodies?
— Not more than one-half, surely; I understand about one-third.
all that had ever been held by monastic bodies as well as the Church
property? — I am not prepared absolutely to say but I should say
quite one third.
When was the meeting held of which you spoke of the clergy of the
deanery of Stepney, upon the subject of the local claims; was it before
the Local Claims Act of 1860, or afterwards? — The rural dean
called the clergy together together to consult respecting the City
churches; that was the first reason why they were called together.
2968. When was
that? — In October last. I read a paper on the City churches, many of
which were about to be consolidated, and there were 17 schemes, I
think, for erecting new churches in the suburbs, several of them in my
own immediate neighbourhood. I also read a paper before the meeting on
the propriety of something being done with the endowments in the City,
to provide for the wants of the suburban parishes, particularly in the
deanery of Stepney.
2969. Will you
explain what you mean by 17 schemes; were they general schemes put out
by different people? — An Act of Parliament was passed last
Session, by which the Bishop of London was empowered to consolidate
certain contiguous parishes in the City of London, and to remove those
churches and endowments to large populous places in the suburbs. A
paper was read upon that subject by myself in October, and a
conversation resulted afterwards in which it was stated, that we came
to the conclusion that none of the East-end parishes could possibly be
benefited by the new Act obtained by the Bishop of London for the
removal of the City churches, and that we ought to endeavour, if
possible, to obtain some of the property arising from the Finsbury
prebend when it fell into the hands of the Commissioners.
2970. Why could
not you be benefited by that Act? — Because that Act insisted
upon a new church being built in the room of every one that was pulled
down; consequently, it could not benefit those churches which were
existing at present in London, such as those that I have alluded to.
2971. If you
divided these large parishes into districts, and built a new church in
one of the districts, would not it be an advantage? — It would be
an advantage certainly, but not to the existing church.
2972. Do you
mean to say that it would not benefit the parish? — It would be, of
course, an advantage to the parishioners, but it would not benefit the
existing holder of the living, because the probability is that it would
take away some of those who paid pew rents, and a certain amount of his
fees, and if he had no endowments as an equivalent, he would lose, in a
temporal point of view, by the spiritual improvement of his
represented the result of that meeting to the Bishop of London, did you
not? — Yes; and the Bishop of London gave us every encouragement
that we had a right to expect from him. He knew that the case was a
very sad one, and said that he would do all he could to meet our
wishes, but recommended us to go to Lord Chichester, the head of the
Ecclesiastical Commission, and state the case to him. We did so, and he
said that it was impossible for him to do anything for us as long as
the Act existed in its present state; that the word "place" had been
defined to mean the parish in which the property existed, and that they
were uninclined to put a more extended meaning upon the word.
2974. Did the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners interpret the word "place" as meaning
"parish" or "ecclesiastical district"? — "Parish". After that we
went to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as being one of the
Commissioners,, and he Baid that he would do all he could to meet our
views; that he thought we had justice on our side, and that as long as
our wants were so great, we had a prior claim to any other place.
2975. You said
that the Bishop of London expressed an opinion that the law should be
altered, did you not? — I do not know that I have a right to put
it in so strong a light as that, but he certainly sympathised very
strongly with us upon the matter.
alteration of the law would you suggest? — I would suggest with
regard to the word "place", that you should take in adjoining parishes;
that you should not be absolutely confined to the original parish. Take
the case of Clerkenwell, for example, with which the Committee are
acquainted; it illustrates precisely what I mean. I would extend it to
such places as Clerkenwell, and other places bordering upon
ecclesiastical property. Take the ancient parish of Stepney, which
borders upon Shoreditch. I believe that a portion of Shoreditch
churchyard is in the old parish of Stepney, which includes all these
distressed parishes that we now speak of, and if that were included I
think that the destitution of the East-end of London would be amply met.
2977. You said
that you would relieve the spiritual destitution in the various
parishes of the diocese of London with the proceeds of Church property
in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners within that diocese,
did you not? — Yes.
2978. As a first
claim upon it? — Yes; but I do not wish to be misunderstood; I do
not that all the Church property of London should absolutely confined
to London, because I quite understand what has been said before, that
there may be parishes in other dioceses - in Winchester, for example,
which may have claims than many parishes in London, but I would take
the parishes according to their wants, cæteris
paribus, giving a preference to the diocese of London.
2979. Do you
think that the parishes in of London are the most destitute at all the
means which you have had of ascertaining the respective spiritual
destitution in of England? — I have not the slightest that they
are in a more destitute any parishes in the kingdom.
2980. Do you
think that if you adopted such as you propose you could, with a wise
discretion, separate the very destitute parishes of the east of London
from those other parishes in the neighbourhood of London which are not
the same destitute condition? — Yes, certainly.
2981. And that
if these parishes in the east of London, where the rich population has
left, and nothing but the poor remain, were relieved, all this question
about the local claims of places would be put an end to? — I
think that it would certainly tend to put an end to it.
asked what you meant by a poor parish - would you give as one item in
your definition of a poor parish the small amount of property possessed
by each proprietor of houses or land in the parish? — I think
that the number of proprietors generally increases the poverty of a
2983. Is not
property more subdivided, and are not the proprietors poorer in the
east of London than in other parts? — I think so, certainly.
2984. Do you not
think that the fact of the rich population having left those parishes
to reside in in the outskirts of London and the poor remaining,
constitutes a special claim? — Yes, certainly.
2985. And that
whatever may be the abstract justice of the case practically, you have
parishes very destitute, and that those who draw large revenues from
them do not feel themselves called upon to act as proprietors in other
cases act? — Yes.
may be the abstract justice of the case, the poor population which is
left is in a very miserable condition? — No doubt of it.
2987. And you do not see the means of relieving it? — I do not.
that some portion of the funds arising from ecclesiastical property may
properly be applied to those parishes though even without receiving
benefactions? — Yes.
2989. The Right
Honourable Member on my right asked you whether if such grants were
made it would not have a tendency to dry up the sources of private
charity? — Yes.
2990. Has not
that argument been advanced against the system of the grant in aid by
the Privy Council for education, namely, that if you give public money
it dries up the sources of private charity? — I do not know; if it has
been advanced I do not agree with it.
2991. Do you
think that if grants were to the East of London it would have the
effect drying up the sources of private charity? — I certainly
2992. Have you seen the rules of the Commissioners for the distribution of the fund? — Yes.
2993. Have you
seen a paper containing the particulars of the different destitute
livings which the Commissioners distributed the fund last year? —
Yes, I have it in my hand.
2994. Do you
think that that is a satisfactory scale to put forward? — I
scarcely think it is; I think that there are many parishes with £200
year that are infinitely worse off in point of spiritual destitution and
where the clergyman is infinitely worse off than if he had £100 a year
in other places. With regard to my own parish, and with regard, I am
sure, to many of my brethren in the East-end of London, we should be
very much better off, in a temporal point of view, if we had a curacy
in the country with an income of only £100 or £120 a year. The demands
upon us are very great in every way to support schools and various
other charities of the sort; I believe that every year of my life my
charities cost £1,500, and I have to beg it, or to give it in some way
or other. Therefore I am strongly of opinion that actual income is not
an absolute test of the position in which a clergyman stands; that if
there is an enormous poor population he is worse off with £200 a year
than if he had a small country place with £100 or £120. Then I think
that the scale of population adopted by the Commissioners is not
sufficient in point of classification, because they put £2,000 and
upwards, and no other gradations beyond that.
2995. That is the first class, is it not? — Yes.
2996. So long as
there are undivided districts of 30,000, 20,000 and 10,000 inhabitants,
with a very small endowment to the clergyman, do you not think that
those districts should be specially placed at the head of such a
classification as that? — Yes, I think so; in my immediate
neighbourhood we have Poplar, with a population of 34,950 souls.
2997. Undivided? — Yes; and with one church only.
2998. How many
clergymen are there? — I think three; we have Stepney parish
church, with a population of 27,607, with only one church; and there is
St. Mary's, Haggerstone, with a population of 30,436. I think there are
three churches at the East end of London, and only three, with an
income of £500 a year; Poplar is one of them; it is a Brazenose living,
and, I think, has about £500 or £600 a year.
2999. Do you
think that that paper to which I have called your attention agrees with
one of the rules of the Commissioners, namely that "In selecting cases
priority will be given to those which, having regard to population,
area, and income, shall appear to be the most necessitous"? — My
own impression is, that the most necessitous are those at the East-end
of London, and those on the other side of the water, namely, in
Lambeth, and they have not received any assistance; I think that they
require it, because many of them have £200 a year, and others are
unable to meet benefactions.
3000. Mr. E.P.
Bouverie] When you that they have not received any assistance, are you
certain of that? — I am not saying that none of them have received any
assistance; but those that I have alluded to have received no
Do you think that the of the Ecclesiastical Commission in the
distribution of the surplus revenues of the Church has been
satisfactory with regard to the of these large populations? — I
suppose that Ecclesiastical Commissioners have not had large funds as
yet in their hands, and it is not for me to say anything against the
distribution of the funds that they have had; I would rather press upon
them, or whoever may have the management of the ecclesiastical funds,
that they should look to the interests of the large populations more
than they have done as yet; I do not wish to find fault with the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners, nor to blame them, but I do think that
attention should be specially paid to large and poor populations with
3002. You are
aware that when the Ecclesiastical Commission was established in 1836,
a considerable portion of our capitular establishments were suppressed
with a view to relieving the spiritual destitution of populous places?
— Yes, I believe so.
3003. In these
26 years which have elapsed, you think that the result is as
satisfactory as might have been expected? — I scarcely think it
has been satisfactory.
3004. Are you aware of the amount of the fund distributed this year? — No.
3005. Are you aware that it was £100,000? — No.
3006. Is it your
opinion that the action of the Commissioners has been satisfactory
regard to the distribution of the common fund, whatever it may be?
— I think that it might improved; I should not like to give an
opinion that point, not having myself applied; I never applied to the
Commissioners, and many of those whom I represent have never applied to
them, and therefore it would be hardly fair to them for us to say that
we have not been properly used when we have not made any application.
3007. You can
only speak to the fact of these large masses of population being left
with very inadequate means of spiritual instruction? — Yes.
3008. Do you
think that the constitution of the Commission is satisfactory to the
clergy at present? — I believe that many of the clergy think that
the numbers of the Commissioners are too large, and that possibly it
might be an advantage to have a smaller body regulating the
distribution of the fund. Very often in the case of large bodies of
people, they are carried by one or two leading individuals, and the
whole of the responsibility is thrown upon one or two I think
responsibility ought to be taken by those who perform the acts of the
body, and if a secretary, or any single person, takes the
responsibility of advising this, that, or the other, I think that he
ought to be answerable for that responsibility, and I cannot see how so
large a body can be held responsible. That is the notion of the
Chancellor of the Exchequer; he said that he was only one out of a very
large body of persons; and I think that where there are so many members
of a body, the responsibility almost vanishes and becomes nothing
think that the ought to be reduced in number? — I think might
possibly be an advantage to the fund, if the body were reduced in
3010. Do you
think that the parochial clergy should be at all represented upon the
Board? — I have not turned my attention to that point.
3011. Mr. E.P.
Bouverie] Have you deliberated upon the subject at all, so as to form
opinion with regard to the constitution of the Commission? — I am not
competent to give of an opinion upon it, but as I have said, I heard it
stated that the clerk to the Board manages the whole of the business. I
am answering now from my own knowledge, but is only lair that I should
state honestly and distinctly what many clergymen believe, namely, that
the clerk to the Board does just as he with the whole of the
Commission, and makes arrangements as he sees fit, and that the
Commissioners endorse everything that he places before them. Whether it
is true or not, it is for Commissioners to say, and not for me.
3012. Mr. Selwyn] Do you mean the clerk or the secretary? — The secretary.
3013. Mr. E.P.
Bouverie] Have you at deliberated upon the general principle upon the
Commission distribute the Surplus Fund, or have you discussed the
subject with your brethren? — No.
3014. You said
that you thought you had prior claim to divide the proceeds of the
estate before anybody else? — I said, cæteris
paribus; that is to say, the population being equal, the destitution
equal, the small income equal, and other things equal, I consider that
a parish in the diocese of London has a prior claim to a parish
3015. And you
consider that there should be attempt, I suppose, when those elements
are in different directions, to compound a ratio? — Yes; I should
take the whole circumstances of any parish in the diocese of London,
and if they were equal to those of any other parish, I should that the
parish in the diocese of London would have a preference of claim upon
the Finsbury prebend.
3016. I rather
gather from what you say you and vour brethren in the East of London
have had your eyes set upon this property in the Finsbury prebend, and
have not directed your attention to augmenting your income from other
sources, such as benefactions out of the common fund of the Commission?
— I do not think that many of us have applied; the great
difficulty is in raising money to meet those benefactions; I am
satisfied that in most instances it is next to impossible.
difficulty having been overcome throughout the greater portion of the
country, is there anything fatal to the attempt being made in the East
of London? — There are more claims upon a clergyman in the East
of London than in other places.
3018. You said
that you thought that your incomes ought to be made up to what they
should be; what do you think should be the income of the clergy in the
East of London? — I should say about £300 a year; not less than
£300 a year.
3019. Have a certain number of the clergymen houses? — The majority have houses; others have not.
3020. Do you
think that the reasonable wishes of the clergy would be satisfied if
their incomes were made up to £300 a year? — I think they would.
3021. With or without a house? — I think that they ought to have £300, and a house.
3022. If you
were told that where the Ecclesiastical Commissioners admit a local
claim their object is to make an income of £300 a year, with a house
for the incumbent, do you think that that is a satisfactory provision?
— Yes, I think so.
Newdegate] Do you not think that if a clergyman were established with
an endowment he would be a useful agent for procuring benefaction in
the form of a site for a parsonage house, and a site for a church, and
for building both? — Yes, I think he would.
3024. Is it not
your opinion that that would be employing a natural agency in order to
bring private benefactions to meet benefactions given by the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners? — Yes; I think it would be a very
satisfactory mode of proceeding.
Philipps] Have you had any assistance from the Curates' Aid Society?
— Yes, I have two grants from them, one of £80 for my senior
curate, to which I give £20 out of my own limited income, to make it
£100, and another of £40 for the junior curate; and I have to raise £60
to meet that.
[Diocesan Curates' Aid
Societies are not to be confused with the national Church Pastoral Aid
Society, which only financed evangelical curates.]
3026. Has the
rateable property of the parish diminished materially of late? —
No, I think not; there has recently been a valuation of the parish, and
I think that the diminution has been upon the property of the London
Docks, and that there has been an enhancement rather than a diminution
on the other property of the parish; not very much, but still some
3027. You say
that you have great difficulty in getting subscriptions from the owners
of property in the parish? — Very great difficulty indeed.
3028. I think
you have also stated that many of the properties are mortgaged? —
Many of the properties are in the hands of poor people who have built
houses and collect the rents themselves; and they have very great
difficulty in obtaining the rents, and many of them are very poor. I
know an instance at the present moment which led to that observation;
there are four or five houses now in one of my poorest streets which
are absolutely empty; I believe that they are leasehold property. The
owner of the lease died some little time ago; a person whom I know the
parish had lent money upon that lease, and he has not received his
money, and I believe that the houses are all tumbling down, because it
is not worth his while to repair them.
3029. Do you ever get any assistance from the mortgagees? — Very little.
Deedes] Are you aware that evidence with regard to the spiritual
destitution these parishes in this part of London has been before
submitted to Parliament? — I believe has, before a Committee of
the House of Lords.
3031. Commonly called the Spiritual Destitution Committee? — Yes.
circumstances, I apprehend, remain much the same as they were then?
— They are quite as bad, and gradually becoming worse, because
the more respectable part of the population is moving off to the
suburbs, and leaving the very worst for us to look after; we
unfortunately cannot move.
3033. Is not
that really one of the great causes of the increased and increasing
destitution, namely, that the better part of the population, after the
fashion of the day, is removing from the locality where the property is
situated, and therefore you have not that hold upon them which you had
before? — Yes.
3034. I believe
that since that evidence was given nothing has occurred to alter the
state of things for the better, but that on the contrary it has rather
been aggravated? — Yes.
3035. I collect
from your general evidence that one chief object which you have in view
is to prove that these parishes, being so destitute, ought to have a
very large share of the Finsbury prebend? — Yes.
3036. Are you aware when the Finsbury prebend will come into hand? — In 1866 or 1867, I think.
3037. Therefore a period of four years would elapse before your principle could be applied? — Yes.
3038. It is the end of 1867 or the beginning of 1868, in fact? — Yes.
3039. Therefore a period of more than five years must elapse before your principle can be applied? — Yes.
3040. You spoke,
though not very confidently, of some applications, I think, having been
made to the Commissioners for aid; you have no fault to find, or
complaint to make on the part of those whom you represent, of the
manner in which their applications have been met, have you? — No;
I believe that there is one of the incumbents in the deanery which I
represent, who made some complaint with regard to an application for a
parsonage house; but I do not know the exact particulars of it, and
therefore cannot state them.
3041. You said,
I think, in answer to a question from the Honourable Chairman, that you
thought, looking at the time the Commission had been formed, namely,
since 1836, that as much had not been produced as should have been done
up to the present time? — I think so.
3042. Are you
prepared to state in what way you would have altered the course of
action, so as to have brought about a better state of things? — I
would have given more consideration to the wants of large and poor
parishes. I think that rules are very good, and, in fact, they are
essential for the carrying on of any establishment, either the
Ecclesiastical Commission or any other; but I do think we may stretch
rules too tightly, and that they will defeat their own objects if too
strictly adhered to; and I think that the case of the East-end of
London, the spiritual destitution of which has been before the public
for a considerable number of years, ought at once to have been met by
the funds in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. When the
report of the Spiritual Destitution Committee was laid before
Parliament, I think that immediate action ought to have been taken to
remedy the worst cases therein delineated by the clergy who were
examined and others.
although the result of that might have been the appropriation of nearly
the whole of the surplus fund from year to year in the hands of the
Commissioners, to distribute as they are directed to do by Act of
Parliament? — Yes.
Alderman Copeland] I understood you to state that the London Dock
Company had intimated their intention to withdraw their subscriptions
to your schools, but that by your influence with a friend of your own
connected with the Company, they had continued them for a time? —
Yes; that was the case last Christmas. They have subscribed ever since
my church was built, and my schools were established, £20 a year to the
one, and 20 guineas to the other. We had some difficulty two years ago
in obtaining the subscription, and last year I had an intimation from
the secretary that it would be discontinued. I then went and saw the
treasurer, whom I knew personally, Mr Entwistle (and I must say that
the Company generally are always exceedingly kind to me), and he said
"I will do what I can"; and two or three days afterwards he wrote to
state that he had succeeded in obtaining a continuance of the grant.
3045. Did they
give you any reason why they should decline to subscribe for the
future; was it in consequence of the badness of trade and because
their revenues had decreased? — Their revenues have fallen 50 per
cent.; their shares, I think, are now about £56, and some two or three
years ago they were £98 or £100.
3046. They did pay 4½ per cent., and are now paying about 2¼? — Yes.
reference to your parish, did I understand you correctly, that a
portion of it is built upon the estate of the Mercers' Company? —
Yes, they gave the ground for the church and they gave a freehold for
3048. Did they give any endowment? — No; there is not a shilling of endowment at all.
description of property is generally built upon that estate at Stepney
belonging to the Mercers' Company? — They are small houses; the
streets are very nicely laid out, but the houses are small, and let
from £20 to £24 a year.
3050. They are
erected, I suppose, for the accommodation of the labouring and working
population? — Yes, and for the clerks of the dock and so on;
persons receiving perhaps £60 or £80 a year, a guinea a week, and so on.
3051. Do the
Mercers' Company contribute at all to your schools? — They give
me five guineas a year for my schools. When we made some improvements
in the church four or five years ago, they sent me £50.
3052. Have you
any idea of the rental of the Mercers' Company's estate at Stepney?
— No; there is a considerable amount in my parish but I do I do
not know the rental; it is some thousands a year. I might perhaps be
permitted to state that the property in my district does not belong to
the Mercers' Company quâ Mercers' Company, but as trustees for
St. Paul's School; that is to say, as Dean Colet's trustees, the founder
of St. Paul's School.
Freeland] Do the Mercers' Company give much to your other charities?
— Nothing; I wrote to ask them to give to the school which I have
mentioned, and they say that they cannot entertain the application.
3054.They give five guineas to your schools? — Yes.
3055. And nothing else? — And nothing else.
3056. Do you
know whether companies, when they are owners of estates of that kind,
generally give as other landlords do, or not? — They generally give
less than other landlords, for the argument which they bring forward is
this, that they are representatives of very poor persons, and that,
therefore, they must take care of the interests of their shareholders;
and very often, with regard to Church contributions, they say, "Why
should we give this money to a Church contribution, when many of our
shareholders are possibly Roman Catholics or Dissenters, who would get
up at the annual meeting and find fault with the money having been
given for Church purposes?"
3057. Is that
generally the case with companies like the ' Company, holding
large estates, as far as your experience goes? — I believe so.
3058. Do you
find that the trustees of a charity property, such, for instance, as
Greenwich, if there are any within your knowledge, contribute or not?
— I have not any within my immediate knowledge.
3059. I think
you said that the owners of tithe property were the most difficult to
get anything out of? — I do not know that I can say from personal
experience; but I have friends among the clergy who live in parishes
where such things as the alienation of tithes exist, and they tell me
that they cannot get anything.
3060. Do you
know anything as regards the tithes of Aldgate; in whose hands they
are? — I believe they are in the hands of a Mr. Kynaston.
3061. I think
you said that many of the clergy thought that the number of the
Commissioners was too great? — Some of them do think so, I know.
3062. That the responsibility vanished? — That the responsibility becomes smaller in consequence of the number.
3063. Do you
think that ecclesiastical persons generally, consistently with the
other claims upon their time and their spiritual avocations, would be
able to attend properly to the business of so large a Commission? — Not
exclusively, I think but in my opinion they ought to be represented on
the Board I think that there ought to be a certain clerical element on
3064. Do you
think that it ought to be in the persons of the ecclesiastics
themselves rather than of lay delegates, or commissioners appointed by
them to represent them? — Of course qui facit per alium
facit per se, and it would meet my view whether a bishop sat upon the
Commission in his own person, or by his commissary appointed by him.
3065. Do you
think that the ecclesiastics should be withdrawn for such purposes from
their spiritual avocations? — I do not think that a bishop is
absolutely and altogether employed in spiritual avocations. I think
that the Church being endowed ithas its temporal possessions to be
looked after as well as spiritual things; and though of course
spiritual things should occupy our chief time and attention, yet I
think also that we ought to look after, for the interests of our
successors, as well as of ourselves, the temporal possessions which
have been handed down to us from our forefathers. Therefore I should
certainly not exclude ecclesiastical persons because their chief object
was spiritual instruction.
3066. Would you
prefer to be represented by lay commissioners, or would you rather have
the Church represented in the persons of ecclesiastics? — I think
that I would prefer that it should be represented in the persons of
Fenwick] You are aware of the clause in the Act of 1860. giving a
priority to places where ecclesiastical revenues arise belonging to the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners? — Yes.
3068. Have you ever made application to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for assistance grounded upon that clause? — No.
3069. Do you
know what interpretation the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have put upon
that clause as to the construction of the word "place"? — I do
not know of my own knowledge, but I have heard that they interpret the
word "place" to mean parish, that is to say, the original parish,
whatever its extent might have been, in which the property exists.
3070. If they
gave a more liberal interpretation to the word "place" as something not
necessarily co-extensive with the parish, you would have a priority of
claim upon the common fund under that clause? — Yes we should. If they
took in Stepney, as being contiguous to Finsbury, we should have what
3071. But you have not made any application grounded upon that clause? — We have not.
3072. Sir John Pakington] Your church is not the mother church of St. George's-in-the-East? — It is not.
3073. It is a district church? — It is a district church. It is the oldest of the districts.
3074. Have you
more than one church in the district? — Not in my own district. I
have a school service. I have three school services on the Sunday, but
there is not another church in my district.
3075. That is to say, you perform Divine service in your school? — In the school rooms.
as to locality, how far is your school from the church? — The
church is at one end of the district, the north-east, and the schools
are at the very opposite end of the district, the south west. I have
also another service in about the centre of the district, at the Ragged
School, which is attended by poor people.
3077. When you
told us that you had seven services a-day, does that number of services include
the services in the school? — Yes, we have only three services in the
3078. I presume
that that number of services includes the services in both the school and the
ragged school? — Yes, and also in the workhouse. [McGill was also chaplain of St George-in-the-East workhouse, a post later held separately.]
3079. I think you said that the population your district was upwards of 13,000? — 13,145.
3080. What is the area of your district? — About 43 acres.
3081. I think you
said that you had two clergymen men besides yourself? — Two clergymen,
and a home missionary who takes the ragged school service on a Sunday
3082. Your own income is somewhere about £200 a year? — £240.
3083. And it is diminishing? — It is diminishing.
3084. In what
ratio? — In the next six weeks I shall lose £13 a-year by
families going away who are paying pew rents to that amount at the
3085. How much less is your income at the present time than it was two years ago? — About £25.
3086. Judging from past experience, what do you suppose your income will be two years hence? — Perhaps £220.
3087. How are
the two curates paid? — The Curates Aid Society give £80 to the
senior and I give £20; the Curates Aid Society give £40 to the junior
and I provide £60 which I raise by subscriptions.
3088. Then is
the £20 which you give to the senior curate deducted from your gross
income of £240? — No, £240 is the net income.
3089. After deducting the £20? — After deducting the £20 and £10 for the clerk.
3090. What is your gross income? — About £270.
3091. When you
state that £240 a year is your net income, I presume that all your
charities and subscriptions are to be deducted from it? — Yes
there is nothing put for that at all.
3092. The £60 a-year for the second curate you collect by subscriptions? — Yes.
3093. Do you
find practically that with a population of 13,000 and upwards over the
area which you have mentioned, yourself and two curates can properly
attend to the spiritual interests of 70 per cent. of that population?
— We have very great assistance in the shape of district
visitors; I have also a Scripture reader paid by the Scripture Readers'
Society; I have also a nurse for my sick poor, who is paid by a lady at
the west end of London, Mrs. Stuart Wortley, and I have a parochial
mission woman, who is paid by Lady Wood and the ladies of the Parochial
Mission Society, so that I have a very large staff continually at work
in the district; therefore I may say that my district is well in hand,
and well worked.
3094. Do you
think that by the help of those aids which you have now enumerated you
can properly attend to the spiritual interests of the Church of England
portion of your population? — I think that I can.
3095. Is that
case peculiar to yourself, or should you say so far, as is within your
knowledge, that those adjacent districts which you have mentioned are
equally well off as regards those extraneous aids? — Not one, I
think, in the east end of London is so well off in that respect as I am.
3096. But you
complain that you have no endowment, and that your income is
insufficient to maintain your position? — Certainly.
understand from your answers to the questions which I have just put,
that you do not think it desirable for your district to increase the
number of clergy? — It would not be desirable certainly to
diminish the income of my church by taking away a portion of the
population who are now married and christened, and so on, at the
church, and pay fees; it would not be desirable either for myself or my
question had no reference to any pecuniary consideration. I ask you
whether. looking only to the spiritual interests of the 70 per cent. of
your population who belong to the Church of England, it is desirable
that there should be more than three clergymen of the Church of England
in the district? — I certainly think that there ought to be more.
3099. How many
more do you think that there ought to be? — I think that there
ought to be one clergyman for 3,000 at least. or 2,000.
3100. Therefore that would give two more churches? — Yes. with two clergymen in each of them.
3101. Then you
do not think that the spiritual interests of your district are attended
to satisfactorily. notwithstanding the aids which you have I think that
it would be very well cared for if more clergymen visited the sick?
— We have had 70 cases of sickness at one time within the last
eight weeks on our own list; and if three clergymen can visit them as
they ought to be visited, I think that it is doing a great deal.
3102. Is your
district one in which you think that a sufficient benefaction could be
raised to entitle you, under the rule of the Commission, to a grant ? —
It certainly is not.
3103. I think
that you have expressed in your former evidence a strong opinion that
that rule, on the part of the Commissioners that they will give no
grant without a corresponding benefaction, ought not to be a rule
universally applied? — Yes.
3104. And I
think that you were asked by a Right honourable Member of the
Committee, whether the Commissioners were not at liberty to relax that
rule if they chose; have you ever heard of any case in which that rule
was relaxed? — I cannot charge my memory with having heard of any.
3105. Have you
ever heard of any case in the east of London where a grant was made by
the Commissioners without a benefaction being provided? — No I have
not; I do not say that it has not occurred; but it has not come within
3106. You have never heard of it? — I have not heard of it.
3107. Is not the
obvious result of the strict application of that rule to prevent the
poorest places from getting the aid which they require more than the
rich places? — I think so, certainly.
Cardwell] The immediate object of your coming to give evidence is to
represent the claim of the districts in the east of London upon the
Finsbury prebend prospectively falling in, is it not? — Yes.
3109. Though the
rule with regard to local claim might not recognise you at present, you
think that in equity and moral justice you ought to be recognised as
having a local claim upon the revenues to arise from the Finsbury
prebend? — Yes.
3110. You are aware that the grants which made are made from a fund called the Common Fund? — Yes.
opinion is, that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners ought to favour in
the distribution of that Common Fund the most populous? —
Provided they are also the poorest.
3112. So that,
as a general principle, your view would be, that the necessity of the
particular district should be the strongest argument with those who
have to distribute the money? — Certainly.
3113. At the
same time it is obvious that those who have to distribute the money
must be ultimately limited by the amount of the money which they have
to distribute? — Certainly.
3114. But the
more local claims are recognised the smaller will be the Common Fund,
which is the result of contributions from which local claims are to be
deducted? — Yes.
3115. It is,
therefore, necessary for those who have to administer this money for
the relief the Church, to draw a line and to determine how much they
will give to local claims, and how much shall be carried to the Common
Fund? — Yes.
3116. And the more which is allowed to local claims, the less will go to the Common Fund? — Yes.
3117. The less,
therefore, will remain to be applied to these populous districts, which
as you justly say should have the first claim upon the Commissioners?
3118. Is it then
chiefly on the ground of claim that you seek to stand, or on the ground
that your districts are extremely populous, and your necessities very
urgent? — On both grounds; first, because our necessities are urgent
and populations large; and, secondly, because we have what I regard as
a local claim. I look the general purpose for which this money left,
and the general object for which the Commission was appointed. I
consider that the of this money was intended for the benefit of the
people of this country; and therefore when the people of this country
are without these means of grace, I say that that is primary and the
most obligatory of all the obligations upon this Commission, or upon
any commission. But, secondly, we put it upon the ground of contiguity
to the neighbourhood the property has become so very much enhanced in
value. We consider that our poor people have made that property what it
is; we consider that the Finsbury prebend would not been worth more
than some £200 or £300 year; as it was when it was first given to St.
Paul's, if it were not for the enormous population which has gathered
together in London, and has now made it worth £50,000 or £60,000 per
annum; and we say that the people who have done that are the people who
in all matters both spiritual and temporal, ought to first considered;
therefore, in answer to your question I say that on both grounds, on
the ground of our enormous population, and our enormous destitution
spiritually, and also on the ground that we ourselves have been the
architects of this fortune, whatever it may be, we have the first claim
to have our wants relieved.
3119. It is
quite possible that your district, or any particular district, may be
so situated as that its claim ought to be recognised by the
Commissioners, whether it be upon the ground of local claim, or whether
it be as a charge upon the Common Fund; but what I want to direct your
attention to is this, the more the local claim is acknowledged, the
smaller becomes the Common Fund? — Yes.
3120. It is,
therefore, not possible to give advice to the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners or to Parliament, which shall at the same time authorise
them to allow more to local claims, and also to distribute more from
the Common Fund? — Certainly not.
3121. I want to
call your attention to that impossibility, and to ask you upon which
ground it is that you particularly seek to rest your claim; that of
local claim, or that of a claim from your necessities constituting a
charge upon the Common Fund? — I can only answer that question in the
same way as I have already done; I say that we have a strong claim upon
both grounds, and I should be unwilling to give up either ground.
3122. You would
admit, I have no doubt, that any body of men entrusted with the
distribution of a fund for public purposes are bound, as far as
possible to distribute it by general rules? — Certainly.
3123. If they
were to do otherwise; if they were to make very numerous and continual
exceptions, it would be difficult to persuade those who ought to be the
recipients of the fund, that fairness, and justice, and wisdom, guided
the proceedings of the Commissioners? — Yes.
3124. I have
drawn your attention to the circumstance, that in framing their rules
the Commissioners under the statute have to attach a certain weight to
local claim, and that the more weight they attach to local claim, the
smaller will be the Common Fund from which the general claims are to be
met? — Yes.
3125. I want to
ask your opinion whether you recommend that more importance than
heretofore should generally be attached to local claims, or less? —
3126. Then you
would, speaking generally, do more for the locality in which the
property is situate, although the necessary consequence of that was to
throw less to the Common Fund? — With regard to the Finsbury
prebend, my impression is, that it being a special fund, about to fall
into the hands of the Commissioners, and not yet fallen, it ought to be
dealt with specially. I do not say anything with regard to the general
management of the Common Fund, or with regard to the general notion of
local claims; but with regard to the Finsbury prebend, which has not
yet fallen in, and which will fall in in a few years, I think that a
special arrangement ought to be made to meet the special wants of the
east end of London.
3127. Then I
understand you to limit evidence to your view of your own case, and the
prospective falling in of the Finsbury prebend, rather than to apply it
to the general of the Commission? — Certainly, with regard the
east end of London. I do not think that should apply to the Common Fund
on any terms than other parishes which are equally destitute, if there
are such, which, I believe, there are not; but if we apply to the
Common Fund as a common fund, of course we must follow same rules as
regulate other applicants to Common Fund. But here is a prebend which
consider we have caused to be so valuable our labour, and we think that
we have a claim upon it, and that our claim ought first all to be
allowed before any portion of that prebend goes to any one else.
3128. You would
not extend that to cases, but apply it exclusively, so far as answer
goes, to the populous districts in the east end of London? — Yes;
but I think that the same thing would hold with regard to the mining
districts of Durham; I think that if it is fair for us, it would only
be fair for them.
understand you to say is, that you would compound the two principles;
that where the district was populous, and there was property in the
district, you would give a wider interpretation to the local claim than
you would in other cases where the property had been improved by the
industry of the people, but where the population was not so excessive,
and the poverty was not so great? — Yes, I think that the people are
the first to be considered.
3130. But I am
sure that you perceive that if the amount attributable to local claim
be increased, the Common Fund must be diminished? — Yes; the
original amount being the same, of course, if you take it with one
hand, you cannot have it with the other.
3131. You must
also perceive, that if, in consequence partly of your advice, the rule
which ascribes importance to local claim were extended by the
Commissioners, the produce of the Common Fund must be proportionately
diminished? — Certainly.
3132. Then am I
to understand you to say that you wish to recommend, as a general
principle, the extension of the local claim to the diminution of the
Common Fund? — I do not think that I would give to a parish because it
was near, in the way that we are, to the parish from which the property
arose, any exclusive advantage over others, or any priority over others
unless it had a priority of claim other than local. For example, I say
that we have a priority of claim from our spiritual wants, from our
poverty, and from our population; and that we also have a priority of
claim from contiguity, but contiguity alone should not give a priority
of claim, and, therefore, a diminution of the sum by the extension of
local claims would scarcely exist.
3133. If I
rightly collect the meaning of your last answer, it is chiefly from the
great population of your district and the great necessity in which you
find yourself that you think that you have a claim, rather than from
the circumstance of contiguity? — From both, but certainly from
the former more than from the latter; from our absolute wants rather
than from our contiguity, but still from both.
3134. So far as
local claim is recognised, it is a deduction, is it not, from the
principle upon which the Common Fund itself is constituted? — I do not
know at all; I do not know the principle on which the Common Fund was
3135. The Common
Fund would not exist at all if the funds which arise from each locality
were devoted to meet the expenditure of that locality? —
3136. A local
claim is a charge upon the funds arising from the locality before the
balance is carried to the Common Fund? — Yes.
principle, therefore, which constitutes the Common Fund fails in
proportion as the local claim is allowed? — Yes; but then a large
amount of the property which now forms the corpus of the Common Fund
comes from parishes where the population is very small indeed. I know a
parish in Norfolk where there is a friend of mine, and I think that the
entire of the tithes and a very large portion of the parish belong to
the Dean and Chapter of Norwich; the population is about 30, and I
suppose that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners get some hundreds a-year
from that parish; but do not suppose for a moment that I should say
that that money ought to go to the clergyman of that parish with 30
people; I think that that would be throwing the money away.
brings me back to what I have understood you to say, namely, that what
you consider to be your principal claim arises from the great amount of
your population, and the great poverty of your district? — Yes, the
3139. And that
the general principle of extending local claims to the diminution of
the Common Fund from which these populous districts are ordinarily
supplied, does not meet with your approval? — Not unless there
are the same elements of claim, namely, poverty and population; if
there are the same elements, certainly I think that in addition to the
claim, of poverty and population, contiguity to a neighbourhood
constitutes a claim.
3140. It does
not signify to a district whether it receives the money in the nature
of a local claim before it is carried to the Common Fund, or whether
the money having been carried to the Common Fund is subsequently
allotted to the district; provided the district gets the money; it
makes no difference of course to the recipient; that being so, does it
not come to this, that it depends ultimately upon the population and
the poverty of the district whether a sum of money should be allotted
either under the designation of local claim, or under the designation
of an allowance from the Common Fund? — In the allowance of local
claims, the Commissioners have given, in the case of Shoreditch, a
sufficient and adequate endowment, namely £300 a year to each of the
churches; I believe that that is the arrangement which has been made;
but if we were to apply, if any of us should be fortunate enough to
obtain benefactions from our people, or if we were to give them
ourselves, all that we should receive from the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners out of the Common Fund, as a common fund, not as a local
claim, would be £1,000, which would not be more than £30 a year;
one-tenth of the £300; therefore, I must enter a sort of caveat against
the fact as you have stated it, that it makes no difference whether we
are relieved as having a local claim, or whether we are relieved upon
the general principles which have hitherto governed the Common Fund; in
the one case we could only get £30 a year, in the other case we might
3141. You have
misunderstood my question; am not assuming that the rules by which
Common Fund is distributed are to remain they now are, but I am
endeavouring to your attention to the fact, that in proportion as the
principle of local claim is extended, the corpus of the Common Fund is
diminished; having directed your attention to that fact, I wish to
ascertain from you whether you recommend the principle of local claim
to be or not? — I think that I should recommend local claim
in all cases where it is equal to others to have the preference.
3142. Then you
would recognise it where population was large, and where the poverty
was great, but not where the circumstances of district were otherwise?
— Certainly not.
3143. In other
words, it would depend the population and the poverty of the district,
what the allowance should be which it receive from the Commissioners?
Kinnaird] With reference to own parish, you have stated, I think, that
have three curates? — Two curates and a missionary; he comes on
the Sunday evening.
3145. You have a Scripture reader? — Yes.
3146. And a
female agent? — Yes; a sick and a parochial mission woman, to go
amongst the poor to improve their social habits; to teach them to cook,
and so forth.
3147. A great deal of that is given from extraneous sources to the parish? — All of it.
3148. Is not it owing to its great destitution, that a sympathy is created on behalf of it? — Yes.
3149. And do you
not think that the income were increased, a great deal of sympathy
would be taken elsewhere. If you assistance from the Commissioners by
the additional endowments, might it not tend to the voluntary aid which
comes to you, through the great necessities of the district? — I have
doubt that if the living were instead of £240 year £2,000 a year, 1
should not have the amount of help; but in the event of churches which
I am speaking of being from this prebendal fund, I should suggest the
whole of them should be made free; the pew rents should cease, and that
the payments which are now obtained with the greatest difficulty from
the congregation, should at terminate, and that the £300 a year should
afford a free church to the whole of the district.
3150. Are you
entirely opposed to pew rents if they could be obtained? — No,
not in a district like the West end; I think that people there are
willing and able, and ought to pay their pew rents; but in a district
where the people are as poor as they are in mine, I think that the
matter is utterly impossible; that it must cease; but if the
Commissioners take these endowments from the Finsbury prebend, then I
say throw the churches open, and we should have them full immediately.
3151. If you
were to lower the pew rents to a very low figure, would not that be
some advantage, so as to secure to the poor people a sort of interest
and right in their seats? — I myself am certainly in favour of a free
church in poor districts; let all persons go where they please when the
door is opened,
3152. Are you
aware that in Scotland, even in the case of the poorest population,
they are quite willing to pay a very small amount? — Yes, I think that
they are, and 1 believe that they are so in the poorer parts of London.
3153. Should you
not say that on the whole that was a sounder principle than yours? — I
am rather putting it in this way to show, as the representative of the
clergy of the east end of London, that we are not anxious to increase
our present incomes at the expense either of the fund or of the poor;
our object is to benefit our people; we find that very few can afford
to pay pew rents, and I think that most of us, or very many of us,
would be willing to have our churches free as a return for this
endowment, if we get it from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
3154. Bad as
your district is, and bad as is the locality in the immediate
neighbourhood of your own parish, is not the spiritual destitution in
the new districts, such as by the Victoria Docks and round the suburbs
of London, quite as great, and quite as much in need of assistance as
your own? — I think so; I think that we are all in the same boat
at the east end of London.
3155. You see no
symptoms of diminution, but rather a growing mass of destitution?
— An increase of misery and destitution.
If claims like yours had been acknowledged, on whatever principle, do
you think that we should have heard so much as we have done of the
question of local claims? — I do not think that we should; Shoreditch
has been the worst of all, I believe; that deanery, from which the
Finsbury prebend springs, contains 310,000 people, and there are only
30 churches in it at the present moment.
3157. Do you not
think that if the Metropolis was well provided with the means of
spiritual instruction, it would have a great effect throughout the
country generally? — Yes, I think so, and that it would improve the
3158. Do you
think that any portion of the proceeds of the Finsbury prebend which
will fall in in 1868 should be anticipated immediately for the wants of
the district? — I doubt whether it would be politic to do so,
because I think that you anticipated it, you would have to anticipate
at a very considerable subsequent loss.
Kinnaird] The state of that district and its spiritual destitution
being such as you have described, what would it have been if it had not
been for the efforts of the Nonconformist body generally; would it not
have been in a very much more frightful condition? — Certainly.
Fenwick] Are you acquainted with the mining districts in the north of
England, from which large Ecclesiastical revenues arise? — No I am not.
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