Perpetual Curate

The title of a clergyman officiating in a parish or district to which he had been nominated by the impropriator and licensed by the bishop and which was not served by a rector or vicar. Perpetual curates did not undergo institution or induction. Unlike rectors and vicars their income did not derive from the possession of tithes. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII lay impropriators as lay rectors were required to nominate persons to serve the cure to the ordinary (usually the bishop). Such appointments became ‘perpetual’ in that the incumbent could only be removed by the revocation of the ordinary’s licence. Before the Pluralities Act of 1838 perpetual curacies were not formally regarded as benefices. In cases where a perpetual curacy received an augmentation from Queen Anne’s Bounty, under 1 Geo. I, stat. 2 c. 10, s. 4 the livings were declared perpetual cures and the incumbents bodies politic. In the earlier part of the period covered by the CCEd the term ‘perpetual curate’ was not employed, such appointments being merely referred to as ‘curates’. However, in the wake of the legislation relating to the Bounty and the increasing prevalence of the appointment of other types of curate, in particular stipendiary curates and assistant curates, the office was increasing described as a perpetual curacy to mark its superior status.

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