were mere Alms, and that People might withdraw them from their Parsons, if they were unworthy: And as the People flocked to the Houses of these Friars, making them their Confessors, and neglecting both their own Churches and Parsons; so they gave those Offerings or Tithes to these new Teachers, which were due to their Parish Priests, that had the Cure of their Souls. Which Abuse they complaining of at a Synod, hereupon this Constitution was made, expressing what and how much every one ought to pay to his own Church.


Besides these Oblations the Parish Priests of London had Personal Tithes, which was the Tenth Part of the clear Gains of Merchants, Traders and Artificers.

Personal Tithes.

They had also Benefits from Chantries; which were certain Lands or Houses, or Sums of Money issuing thence, left by the Wealthier sort of deceased Persons, that their Souls, and the Souls of their Parents and Ancestors, might continually be prayed for in the Churches where they were buried: Where some small Chapels were built with Altars for that purpose: And there was scarce a Church in London but had one of them, and some three or four. These were often beneficial to the Parson of the Church, who was sometimes solely endowed with the Lands given for that Purpose, and sometimes together with the Churchwardens. And there were some small Parishes in this City, where the Tithes were not above 80l. per Annum; when as the Chantry Lands belonging anciently thereto (taken away by the Statute of 1 Ed. VI.) were then worth 500 or 600l. per Annum.


There were likewise accruing anciently to the Parish Priests, Offerings to the Image of our Lady, the four Offering Days, the Money for Masses, which the Friends of the Deceased bought, to deliver their Souls out of Purgatory. And there were also voluntary Offerings of well-disposed Persons. For People came not empty handed to God.

Four Offering Days: And other Benefits of Parish Priests.

There were also due to them, besides Predial and Personal, Privy Tithes; that is, Dues upon Burials, Weddings, and Christnings, &c. What these Perquisites and Benefits were, may be understood by a Bill put up in the Star-Chamber by some Citizens 25 H. VIII. against their Priests: Which, for the better understanding of these Matters, and for Antiquity sake, I shall here subjoin, as I find it in Dr. Walton's Treatise above mentioned.

Privy Tithes.

DUTIES antiently paid to the Parson or Curate for Weddings.


First, There is laid upon the Book, according to the Custom, 8d.

Secondly, Two Tapers at Mass, 2d.

Thirdly, A Taper at the latter end of the Mass, 1d.

Fourthly, The whole Offering at Mass belongeth to the Parson, unless the Parties compound for it; giving sometime 2 or 3s. or 6s. 8d. or more.

Fifthly, If any will be married before the High Mass, they pay 20d. or 40d. or 5s. or else must tarry till all be done.

Sixthly, For a Certificate, when the Man dwelt in another Parish, he paid a Shilling, or 20d. or 40d. or more, according to Ability.

For Burials.


First, If the Party be buried under Stoole, 1s. or more; and every Priest in the Church 8d. or more; else they do not sing him to his Burial.

Secondly, At evere Month's Mind, Year's Mind, or Obit, the Curate hath 8d. or 12d.

Thirdly, All the Tapers and Wax brought into the Church with the Corps, if they be under a Pound.

Fourthly, All the Branches of White Wax, if any be brought in with the Corse. Which Branches cost 6s. 8d. sometimes 10s. sometimes 13s. 4d. And some pay more.

Fifthly, For Privy Tithes 20d. 40d. 5s. 20s. 40s. or more.

Sixthly, To the High Altar as much for Personal Tithe.

Seventhly, If any be buried out of his own Parish, the Corse must be first presented in his own Church; and Dirige and Mass kept as amply as in the Place where it is buried.

Eighthly, For the Burial in the Chancel or High Quire, 10s. or 13s. 4d. or 20s. or 40s. or more.

For Churchings.


First, For every Sunday when the Woman lieth in, for saying a Gospel 1d. or 2d.

Secondly, For the Purification of Custom in the Taper, 1d. with the Chrisome, and the whole Offering by all the Women at Mass, 2d.



First, If any will have his Friends prayed for in the Beadroll, the Curate hath by Year 4d. or 8d. or more.

Housel at Easter.


Of Mens Wives, Children, and Apprentices for their Communion at Easter, for every Head 2d.

Tithes of Servants Wages.


Of all Servants that take Wages, the Tenth Part of their Wages for the Privy Tithes. And for their Housel at Easter, 2d.

Mens Devotions on divers Days.


At all principal Feasts, as Christmas, All Souls Day, Creeping to the Cross on Good Friday, Easter Day; in Confessions at Lent; and other times of the Year, as the Patrons of the Church; divers offer, some Wax, some Money, which comes to the Parson's Use.

Secondly, Where a Saint's Image stands without the Quire, to which a Brotherhood belongeth, the Wardens of the Brotherhood compound, some for 3s. 4d. 5s. 6s. and 8d. or more per Annum, to have the Brotherhood kept in the Church.



For sealing a Lease of a House belonging to the Church, 20s. 40s. 3l. 4l. or more.

THESE Duties, although the Citizens complained of in the Star Chamber, yet the Lords Referrees (as it seems) saw so little Reason to alter any of them; that tho' they altered the Tithe to 2s. 9d. in the Pound, yet they let them remain as they were.

That which we now call Glebe (which was another Benefit also to the Incumbent) was for the most part at the first either Part of the Parsonage House; which in latter time the Parson was forced to divide and let out for his better Maintenance, and so to confine himself to a lesser Part; or else some Chambers built at first upon part of the Churchyard, for the Priests that used to assist in Divine Service, or for other Uses, which in Process of Time, by repairing and enlarging, became convenient Houses: Some of which in some few Parishes yet remain to the Parsons; the most part being either seised by the Crown by vertue of the Act of Chantries, 1 Ed. VI. or invaded by the Parishioners since the Reformation: Which in many Parishes have left for the Parson neither Glebe nor Dwelling-house, but have converted all into Parish Lands.