Church Wardens’ Accounts
Extracts from Warmington Church Wardens’ Accounts 1799-1876
During this period a parish church like Warmington was maintained by the Rector and the church wardens. The Rector was responsible for the chancel (where the altar and most sacred heart of the church lay) whilst the church wardens looked after the public parts of the church, structure of the building and churchyard.
The Rector’s stipend (wage) at this time came mainly from rents paid by glebe (church) lands – this heritage can still be traced in the many Church Farms around the country. The value of his ‘living’ would depend on the quantity and quality of these rents.
The church wardens’ income came from the offertory dish on Sunday collections and donations; they also derived a significant income in the form of a tax known as the ‘church rate’. In 1863 this was valued at 3d in the pound. Many of the poorest in the parish were exempt from this tax, and many non-conformists, often Methodists, objected to paying for a place of worship they did not use.
These accounts give a fascinating insight into how these accounts were managed during a time of enormous social change, spanning the reigns of four monarchs. Churchwarden accounts
A reference in the accounts to a prosecution for sacrilege also triggered some research. This led to a fascinating tale of a series of offences that took place in the early years of Victoria’s reign. More.