RepositoryChurch of England Record Centre
LevelFonds
Alt Ref NoECRC
Extent2 linear meters.
TitleEpiscopal and Capitular Revenues Commission
Date1849-1850
DescriptionThe surviving records of the Commission consists of a minute book (Ref. ECRC/2); manuscript series of the minutes of evidence subdivided into a draft series of minutes of evidence and a further series of minutes of evidence corrected by the witnesses themselves following their appearance before the Commission (Ref. ECRC/5); the property returns submitted to the Commission by individual church preferments such the Bishopric and Chapter Estates (Ref. ECRC/5/3/1); the published reports of the Commission. (Ref.ECRC/3/2) and parliamentary publications concerning the subsequent parliamentary bill (Ref. ECRC/10). In addition some of the Commission's correspondence was later incorporated in the main series of Ecclesiastical Commissioners files. These include correspondence with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, 1849-1851 (Ref. ECE/7/1/8022), correspondence received by the Commission, 1849-1850 (Refs. ECE/7/1/10155/1-5) and the drafts of outgoing letters, 1849-1851 (Refs. ECE/7/1/10156/1-3).
AccrualsNo further accruals expected.
ArrangementThe archive consists of one volume of minutes and 2 boxes arranged into four series of records
LanguageEnglish
AdminHistoryThe Episcopal and Capitular Revenues Commission was a Royal Commission reporting to Parliament, brought into being in 1849 to examine the issue of the leasing and management of the properties of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and those owned by various Ecclesiastical preferments such as the estates of the bishops and cathedrals. The Commission considered various proposals on how Ecclesiastical lands could be better managed to increase the income for the Church, whilst balancing the rights and needs of the lessees holding the properties at the time. The Commission consisted of Lord Harrowby, Dean Lyall, William Page Wood (later to be known as Lord Hatherly), Robert Armstrong, Richard Jones the tithes commissioner and J.G. Shaw Lefevre.

The system of leasing property, which had been in practice for generations, was in essence that estates were mostly subject to leases for terms of lives or years granted with nominal annual rents, which bore no relation to the actual value of the property. These leases were renewed on the death of the last life; alternatively, they could be re-negotiated to become leases for years. The entry fine was intended to represent the value at the time of renewal of the lease. The only way the lease for lives could be extinguished was either to sell the estate or negotiate with the tenants for their replacement by a lease for years. While this offered the Church the possibility of increased revenues it was not usually in the financial interests of the tenants. Consequently, voluntary extinguishments of lease for years were comparatively rare.

The Church Enquiry Commissioners (later to become the Ecclesiastical Commissioners) in their 1836 report had drawn attention to the advantages in a change of practice in ecclesiastical leases and these proposals caused considerable alarm for the Church lessees as to how it could effect their interests. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners examined the issue during the period 1845-49 and they failed to come to a satisfactory arrangement with the lessees. A Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1847-48 recommended that a small Committee be appointed with paid commissioners to undertake the management of the property and consider further the rules and practice in dealing with the lessees.

The Episcopal and Capitular Revenues Commission was appointed to examine these issues; it made its two reports on 31st January and 30th July 1850 and its proceedings ultimately led to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' estates being managed under a single, uniform set of principles with the lessees' claims being more clearly defined and recognised at the same time. This was achieved by the Episcopal and Capitular Estates Management Act of 1851 (14 and 15 Vic., chap 104) and was amended by further legislation in 1854 (17 and 18 Vic. Chap 116).The progress of replacing lease for lives with lease for years was rapid and was largely completed by the 1880s.
CustodialHistoryThe records were held at the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' first offices at No. 5 Whitehall Place, Westminster and in 1855 the offices were moved to 11 Whitehall Place where a set of new muniment rooms were constructed. In 1905 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' moved into new offices at No. 1 Millbank, Westminster which were equipped with a set of basement and attic muniment rooms. The records were transferred to the Church of England Record Centre at Bermondsey following its establishment in 1988.
PublnNoteBEST, G. F. A., Temporal Pillars: Queen Anne's Bounty, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and the Church of England.
CHADWICK, O., The Victorian Church Part 1.

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CodeNameDates
GB/109/21827Episcopal and Capitular Revenues Commission; 1849-18501849-1850
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