RepositoryChurch of England Record Centre
LevelFonds
Alt Ref NoQAB
TitleThe Governors of the Bounty of Queen Anne for the Augmentation of the Maintenance of the Poor Clergy
Date1704-1948
DescriptionThe surviving archive of the Bounty which includes charter, letters patent, correspondence, working files, financial material, various enquiries into livings.
AppraisalSome of the material is to be kept permanently, some is the subject of appraisal.
AccrualsNo further accruals expected
PhysicalDescriptionBound volumes, paper and parchment documents.
CreatorNameThe Governors of the Bounty of Queen Anne for the Augmentation of the Maintenance of the Poor Clergy
AdminHistoryThe Act of 2 & 3 Anne, c. 11, empowered the Queen to establish a corporation in which would be invested the revenues of first fruits and tenths. The Queen Anne's Bounty was subsequently founded by a Charter dated 3 November 1704 and followed by a supplementary Charter of 5 March 1714 that amended its rules and constitution and how its officers were to be appointed. It's full title was "The Governors of the Bounty of Queen Anne for the Augmentation of the Maintenance of the Poor Clergy" The Governors were appointed to receive the first fruits and tenths previously payable to the Crown and administered by the Exchequer and apply them for the benefit of poor clergy.

First fruits were the first year's whole profits of every spiritual preferment; these were originally payable to the Pope and from the reign of Henry VIII until the foundation of the Bounty were payable to the Crown. The amount levied was not the whole of the first year's profits, but a part of them and the calculation charged was based upon the same assessment as for tenths. By an Act of Elizabeth (1 Eliz. I, c. 4) new incumbents could have 2 years to pay his first fruits by means of four half-yearly payments. The First Fruits and Tenths Measure of 1926 abolished both tenths and first fruits.

To be able to augment the poorer benefices, detailed information needed to be obtained about livings throughout the country. Therefore early in 1705 work was begun on compiling a list of benefices whose value was less than £80 per annum, their distances from London and if their incumbents held more than one living. This early enquiry did not include chapelries or curacies so a subsequent Act (Queen Anne's Bounty Act, 1 Geo. I, c. 10, 1715 'for making more effectual her late Majesty's gracious intentions for augmenting the maintenance of the poor clergy') had to be passed so as to incorporate these in to the scheme of things. This led to a subsequent enquiry.

The results of the first enquiry were presented to the Queen in book form in December 1707. At the same time information on livings was also compiled which would authorise the discharge of First Fruits and Tenths from livings of under £50 per annum. This was given to the Exchequer and then to the public in 1711 when Ecton published it in his "Liber Valorum et Decimarum". This publication, which went through several editions between 1723 and 1796 under the title "Ecton's Thesaurus Rerum Ecclesiasticarum", then became the basis of the Boards work on Augmentation and the only official information on the actual value of livings between Henry VIII's "Valor Regis" and the parliamentary returns of the early Nineteenth Century. These returns included the Residence Act of 1803 (43 Geo III c. 84) 'An Act to amend the laws relating to spiritual persons holding of farms; and for enforcing the residence of spiritual persons upon their benefices, in England'; an 1809 Enquiry by the Bounty comprising of information obtained from the Bishops re benefices under £150 a year; an 1812 account of church accommodation in well populated parishes.

The 1809 Enquiry grew out of the Privy Council introducing a more detailed return to be filled out by the Bishops on the residences of clergy and this was extended to cover the clergy's financial situation. This led to the Bounty introducing its own Inquiry into the poverty of livings. Information for this was obtained from the Bishops more detailed surveys of benefices under £150 a year. From 1809 the Bounty received 11 grants of £100,000 of public money, it was therefore able to look at the poorer benefices, which were in need of augmentation. From 1810 it was given discretion to augment livings under £150 with small populations on a sliding scale (the smaller the population, the larger the augmentation). In 1822 the Bounty appointed a committee of four to list those benefices whose annual value was still under £50 and were candidates for augmentation. The Committee consulted the information contained in the returns of 1808 and 1809 and those sent in by the diocesan bishops and reported to the Bounty in April 1823 that although there were c.541 such benefices only 390 such livings were in a position to receive augmentation from the Bounty. In 1824 the Bounty was able to bring the value of these livings up to £50.

For the first ten years of its life the Bounty was hampered by paying salaries and pensions of former officials of the former First Fruits Office and collecting debts which clergymen owed to the this Office. So it was not until 1717 with the passing of an Act for the better Collecting and Levying the Revenue of the Tenths of the Clergy (3 George I c. 10.) which divided the administration of the QAB between the Old First Fruits Office, and a new Tenths Office and the Bounty that the latter was placed on a satisfactory footing to be able to complete its work in a way which remained unchanged until the 1830s.

The Bounty was a legal corporation and the Charters specified the orders and rules by which it was to be run especially how many governors constituted a quorum at its quarterly business meetings known as the General Court. This was major problem, which meant that only one of its major tasks was accomplished with reasonable speed. The Bounty set up a Rules and Orders Committee in 1704, which consisted of about six or seven members and eventually, drew up a code of practice, which was embodied in the second charter and adopted by the General Court in 1717. These principles which was the basis of the Bounty work until the nineteenth century can be summarised as follows:

1) Augmentation of capital grants (instead of pensions).

2) the investments of these grants in land

3) the division of poor benefices into two classes - a superior class those under £35 a year to aid which private benefactors were invited ; and the rock-bottom class to be augmented whether private benevolence was interested or not.

4) choosing by lot the benefices in the latter class.

The procedure for augmentation was for the potential benefactor to make a proposal using one of the forms published by the Governors. If the benefice income had been previously certified no further return was necessary, but occasionally a benefice eligible for augmentation had not been certified - missing the benefit of the remission of the first fruit and tenths- and in these circumstances its income had to be certified by the bishop in due form. If all was in order, the benefice took its turn on the waiting list for a grant at one of the annual distributions. The incumbent of a selected benefice was informed of the grant through his bishop, and was told that it was his duty to look for a suitable purchase of land or tithes, on which the grant and benefaction could be laid out. Occasionally the benefaction took the form of a gift of land or tithes to the benefice or Living. Pending a suitable purchase interest on the capital of the benefaction money held by the QAB was paid to the incumbent. When a suitable purchase was reported to be available, a body of persons of standing in the neighbourhood, about whom the bishop was first consulted was asked to inspect the land and submit a form of inquiries about its suitability, and a local lawyer was employed to draw up abstracts of title deeds and give his opinion on the title. The QAB's officers, who usually accepted them, although they could reject them or refer them back for further information, examined the inquiries and the title.

An Incumbent had no legal power to charge the income of his living with a loan for any purpose even if it was for the good of the parish. Under the Clergy Residence Repair Act of 1777 (17 George III c. 53) 'to promote the residence of the parochial clergy, by making provision for the more speedy and effectual building, rebuilding, repairing or purchasing houses and other necessary buildings and tenements for the use of their benefices', known as the Gilbert Act) the Governors were empowered to lend not more than 3 years income of all benefices towards the cost of providing or repairing parsonage houses. A second amending Act was passed in 1781 (21 George III c.66). Incumbents would now be able to obtain loans from the Bounty at low interest rates, and up to a £100 to livings under £50 a year without taking any interest at all. However, the Bounty Board did not do anything under these Acts for about 30 years. In 1781, they felt that there were too many calls upon their funds, so postponed consideration until 1811 when they embarked on a programme of of loans under the Gilbert Act.

Under the Parsonages Act of 1838 (1 & 2 Vic. c. 23) an incumbent, with the consent of the Bishop, patron and Archbishop was given the power to sell the parsonage house. The proceeds were then paid to the Bounty who would then provide another house either by purchase or by building. The Bounty was to invest the proceeds of the sale in Government securities and to accumulate the dividends and add them to the capital sum. Where building took place after 1903 the Governors acquired plans, specifications and estimates and these papers survive. However many parsonages were built by rich patrons as well as under the powers of the Church Building Commissioners and Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Even so the Governors were responsible for the purchase or building of c4,500 parsonages between 1803-1948. Under the Parsonages Measure of 1930 the Governors became parties to the sale of all parsonage houses.

There were problems - the incumbent could not use the money to pay for his temporary accommodation and were the amount invested was not forthcoming on sale of securities because their value had fallen. Therefore the Governors caused the Parsonages Act of 1911 (1 & 2 George V c. 29)to be passed which allowed them to credit the living with the proceeds of the sale money and to pay the interest to the incumbent. This helped speed up the sale of parsonages particularly after the First World War when the upkeep of the larger houses became much harder.

The Bounty also received duties under the Church Building Act of 1839 (2 & 3 Vic c. 49)- firstly the power given to trustees to transfer to the Governors endowments vested in them and held for livings. Secondly power was given to the incumbent to sell bounty land with the appropriate consent. Previously it had not been possible to sell land obtained with bounty funds.

The Governors first became concerned with dilapidations on parsonage houses and glebe under the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Acts of 1871 and 1872 (34 & 35 Vic c. 43, 35 & 36 Vic. c. 96). These Acts which placed the law on dilapidations on a more satisfactory footing provided for a compulsory survey of all benefice buildings on each vacancy and the payment of the amount of dilapidation money assessed by the Governors who had to oversee its application. The buildings to which the Act applied were those an Incumbent of a Benefice is responsible by law to maintain in repair. The diocesan surveyor with the approval of the Bishop was to examine the relevant of buildings upon sequestration of the benefice, or when it becomes vacant, at the request of the incumbent or if there is complaint. The Surveyor is to specify what work is to be done and its probable cost. The Bounty then paid for the work after receiving a certificate from the surveyor and granted a certificate of their own to indemnify the incumbent from liability from dilapidations for the next 5 years. In 1921 the Bounty changed the way their distributable income was to be issued. It would no longer be used to make capital grants towards augmenting livings, but would put the income into a Scheme to help incumbents holding benefices whose annual value initially did not exceed £200 to pay for the dilapidations to which they were liable. The 1923 Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure (14 & 15 Geo V no 3) passed by the Church Assembly and which came into force in 1924 authorized the Bounty to become the central authority to work a new system for dilapidation through a network of diocesan dilapidation boards. This was made possible by a grant of £500,000 to the Bounty by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to help set up the new machinery.

Up to 1918 the Governors only connection with tithe was to receive and invest on behalf of benefices money under an 1846 Act for the redemption of tithe rent-charge (9 and 10 Vic. c. 73, 23 and 24). Redemption under this act proceeded slowly as the consent of tithe owner and payer were needed. The 1918 Act (8 and 9 George V c. 54) provided for the redemption of tithe rent-charge on a fifty year annuity basis without the consent of the tithe owner and fixing the value of tithe at its then value for six years. Many landowners wished to take advantage of these favourable terms and thus this led to a lot of work for the Governors. The 1925 Tithe Act (15 and 16 George V c. 87) subsequently fixed the rent-charge at five per cent and provided for the redemption of the ecclesiastical part of it by the creation of a sinking fund into which the additional four and a half per cent of par value was to be paid to extinguish the rent altogether within eighty years. This Act transferred to the Governors the responsibility for collecting the ecclesiastical rent-charge until the 1936 Act (26 George V and 1 Ed. VIII c. 43). The Governors divided the country into 15 Areas and sent out questionnaires to all clergy who were thought to have tithe attached to their benefices. The replies and other information allowed them to supply the Area Committees with registers of tithe collectible in their respective areas.
This Act relieved them of their responsibilities and set up the Tithe Redemption Commission to collect the new tithe annuities created to reimburse the Government and arranged the payment of Government 3% stock to the tithe owners. Also under this Act, the Bounty was given discretionary powers (extended under the QAB (Powers) Measure1939 to make abatements in the amount of charges on the revenues of tithe owning benefices where part of the charge related to tithe rent charge. Any changes were to take place at the next vacancy after the Act and could lead to a quite a reduction in income.

Christopher Hodgson, treasurer of the Bounty from 1831-187 was for the period 1835-41 also the Receiver of the revenues of the stalls in cathedral collegiate churches and sinecure benefices which became vacant and were not going to re-filled.

Its offices were at Dean Yard, where it first leased premises in 1735.

By the Church Commissioners Measure 1947 the QAB and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were amalgamated as the Church Commissioners. However before this there had been previous attempts to amalgamate the two bodies. Firstly in 1868, when a parliamentary select committee was set up to look into the mater. It reported that there would be no economy or convenience from amalgamating the bodies. Secondly in 1900-1901, when once again a select committee was set up. It examined the QAB Staff and reported that many of the reasons against amalgamation were based on a misapprehension of facts. Therefore in 1902, a draft bill of amalgamation was introduced which would transfer the Bounty to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. However, it was later withdrawn without any action being taken.
CustodialHistoryThe surviving records of the Bounty passed into the care of the Church Commissioners with former amalgamated with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1948.

Accession L-2021-37 includes material relating to the history of the QAB muniments.
RelatedMaterialLambeth Palace Library MS. 1120. Papers of Archbishop Secker relating to Queen Anne's Bounty.

For material in other archives, including the National Archives, see: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/c/F123465 and https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12188
PublnNoteG.F.A Best, 'Temporal Pillars: Queen Anne's Bounty, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and the Church of England' [Lambeth Palace Library H5165.B3]

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Related name records
CodeNameDates
NA1475Queen Anne's Bounty; 1704-19481704-1948
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