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 Issues | Questions | Bible in Church

What can an incumbent do with his parsonage?

The source for the following is Halsbury’s Ecclesiastical Law 1975 vol 14 para 1166. There do not appear to have been any significant changes in legislation since that time.

  • The incumbent has a duty to look after the parsonage house.
    This duty is equivalent to that of a tenant.
  • If repairs are required then the incumbent must notify the Diocesan Parsonages Board.
  • The Board would normally send a surveyor to inspect the property.
  • The incumbent can carry out the repairs either with general or special approval of the Board. This would include emergency repairs.

The incumbent cannot make additions or alterations to the parsonage, or any glebe building, without the consent of the Parsonages Board and the patron.
If the incumbent acts without consent they can be required to undo what they have done.
If the Board refuses consent to make changes then they must give notice of this and the incumbent has a right to make representation to them.

The main legislation appears to be the Repair of Benefice Buildings Measure 1972 which can be found in Halsbury’s Statutes available in most large libraries. The former legislation, the wonderfully named Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measures (from 1923 to 1951) were repealed almost entirely by the 1972 Measure.

According to Mark Hill the incumbent cannot dispose of the parsonage house without the approval of the Board and the Church Commissioners. He cites the Endowments and Glebe Measure 1976 section 15.
(Mark Hill : Ecclesiastical Law 2nd Edition 2001)


For Measures from 1988 onwards see the links page.


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