« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Church would be rendered more efficient in a great number of places where a church or benefice already exists.
We have only further to consider what funds may be attainable for the endowment of the proposed 600 new churches; and also for the existing sub-divisions of parishes, most of which ought to be made entirely and independently parochial, but which cannot be so made until means shall be provided for giving compensation to the incumbents of the original parish churches for fees and offerings surrendered, and until endowments shall be found for the ministers, to be thus made incumbents of new parishes.
To attain this necessary object we beg to call Your Majesty's attention to the Report of Your Majesty's Commissioners for inquiring into “ Episcopal and Capitular Revenues,” from which we are led to infer that if their recommendations are carried out a sum sufficient to meet these requirements may in the course of a few years be available from the resources of the Church itself.
We abstain from entering into details regarding this expected increase of income and although the period is distant at which a very large increase of revenue may be calculated upon, still, an accession of revenue which may accrue some years hence may be reckoned to have an immediate value of nearly half that amount, and perhaps might be made available as security for capital to be forthwith advanced.
There thus appears to be a reasonable prospect, that in the course of time the
R. B. SEELEY.
WE, Your Majesty's Commissioners appointed by a Commission bearing date the 8th day of January, 1849, “ for the purpose of inquiring into the
present system of leasing and managing the real property of the Church in
England and Wales, belonging to the Archbishops and Bishops, to the “ Cathedrals and Collegiate Churches, and the several members thereof being
corporations sole, and to the several minor corporations aggregate within the “ said cathedrals, and also that vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England ; and for considering how, and by what system of management, such property can be rendered most productive and beneficial to the said Church,
and most conducive to the spiritual welfare of the people, due regard being “had to the just and reasonable claims of the present holders of such property " under lease or otherwise ; and also for considering whether any and what
improvement can be made in the existing law and practice relating to the "incomes of the said Archbishops and Bishops, and of the several members of
chapter, dignitaries, and officers of the said Cathedrals and Collegiate "Churches, so as best to secure to them respectively fixed, instead of fluctu
ating annual incomes,”-humbly present to Your Majesty this our First Report.
On certain important portions of the subjects referred to in Your Majesty's Commission, the voluminous evidence already in existence afforded us much valuable information, but we have felt it our duty to endeavour to obtain further particulars as to the present condition of Church property from the several Episcopal and Capitular Bodies, as well as from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England; and from some of those bodies we have received very elaborate returns as to the nature and extent of their estates, and the mode in which they are leased and managed. We have also received much useful evidence from lessees and others interested in or acquainted with Church operty, who have appeared before us.
The real property of the Church belonging to the several classes of Dignitaries and Corporations mentioned in Your Majesty's Commission may be stated shortly to consist of houses, lands, manors, mines, minerals, and tithes, or tithe rent-charges.
The present system of leasing and managing such property differs little from that which has prevailed for many ages; and its origin and nature, as well as the objections to which it is liable, were fully reported upon by the Committee of the House of Commons on Church Leases in 1839.
The tenure of such property generally is by lease, either for three lives, renewable at the dropping of any one life; for 21 years, renewable at the expiration of every seven; for 30 years, renewable every 10; or for 40 years, renewable every 14: and in such leases a rent, usually little more than nominal, is reserved, and a fine varying in different cases (being in fact the principal source of emolument to the lessor), is payable at each period of renewal. Power has been obtained under special Acts of Parliament, and also 5 and 6 Vict., c. under the Leasing Act passed in the fifth and sixth years of Your Majesty's 108. reign, for granting leases for long terms of years, for building, mining, and
purposes. Some portions also of the property of the Church are let at rack rent, and others are in hand.
With reference to the terms upon which renewals of leases are effected, it appears that the Church realizes ordinarily from one-fourth to one-third only of the rack-rental value of its estates, the remainder being in the hands of the lessees; and that the fines are calculated so as to allow the lessees a return varying from five to ten per cent. There is little doubt that, under a different plan of management, the estates might be made to produce a much larger income for the Church, and at the same time be held upon a tenure more acceptable to the lessees.
Very opposite opinions are entertained as to the rights and claims both of lessors and lessees. On the one hand, it is assumed that the Church may properly let all its leases expire; on the other, that the lessees may justly claim a perpetual renewal of the advantages they have hitherto practically enjoyed
We shall not discuss the comparative soundness of either view, inasmuch as we are unanimously of opinion, that there are reasons of policy and prudence for continuing, as a general rule, the present relations of the lessors and lessees of Church lands; and we have therefore applied ourselves to the task of showing how the actual system may be modified so as to be advantageous to both parties.
We think that, as a general rule, the fee simple in the landed property should remain in the Church, but that a right of perpetual renewal should be secured to the lessees upon the terms hereinafter mentioned.
We may state that, in considering what was reasonably to be expected from the lessees as an equivalent for the boon conceded to them of a right of perpetual renewal, though we approached the subject from different points of view, and adopted various processes of reasoning and calculation, yet we arrived at the same conclusions as to the relative proportions of interest which it appeared right to assign to the Church and the lessees respectively, in the future dealing with the estates.
We ultimately adopted, and are now prepared to recommend, the following propositions for the future management of Church Estates, to come into operation at the next accruing period of renewal.
Farms and Lands (e.cclusive of Manors, House Property, Mines, and Woods), held
on Leases for Years. We have already adverted to the different views taken by the Church and the lessees of their respective rights.
On the one hand, if the Church were to enforce the utmost rights which it could claim, it might run out the leases, and at their expiration come into possession of the rack rent, but without any intermediate fines.
On the other hand, the most that the lessees could claim would be the right of perpetual renewal upon the present easy terms.
As an arrangement fairly intermediate between these extremes :
I. That, as a general rule, with respect to 21 years' leases of farms and lands
calculated at the same rate of interest as at present, but only on half the annual finable value; and that at the end of the now existing term an annual rent should thenceforth be paid to the
Church equal to the other half of the annual finable value. We may, in other words, express the arrangement thus, viz., That as to one moiety of the annual finable value, the Church should, as it were, run out the lease; and as to the other moiety of the annual finable value, the Church should renew the lease upon fine calculated at the same rate of interest as at present.
From the mass of evidence before us, we conceive that it would be necessary to make an exception to this rule in certain districts, in the Dioceses of York, Durham, Carlisle, and Ripon, in which, after due inquiry, the usual selling price of a renewable lease having 17 years to run should be found to have been two-thirds at least of the value of the fee. In those districts we propose,
that the Church should renew upon fines calculated at the same rate of interest
entitled as rent under the foregoing plan at the end of the existing
landed investment), into a less rent, to commence immediately. (C.) That in lieu of paying the half-fine and this last-mentioned immediate
rent, the lessee continue to pay the whole fine septennially, as at present, and a smaller immediate rent; the rent being converted
into fine at the ordinary rate of money interest of four per cent. . (D.) That the future payments by the lessee, whether fine or rent, be con
verted, at the above-mentioned rates of interest respectively, into
one immediate rent. III. That valuations should only take place once in 21 years, instead of septennially, as at present; and that both the fine and the rent payable should be increased or diminished proportionably, according to the valuation; such valuation to be made by two surveyors, one to be chosen by each party, with an umpire previously to be appointed by some Government Board, power being given to the parties to agree to resort to this umpire in the first instance.
We conceive that this increase of the interval between successive valuations will afford ample encouragement to ordinary improvements.
With regard to extraordinary improvements, power should be given to the lessor and lessee, with the sanction of some Central Board, to enter into reasonable arrangements.
It may be convenient, before proceeding to the practical application of the foregoing propositions, that we should premiseIst. That a septennial fine of 1501., the first payment being made forthwith,
is equivalent to a perpetual annual rent of 251. [i. e. 24:991l.], the rate of interest being assumed at 4 per cent.
So a septennial fine of 75l. is equivalent to a perpetual annual rent of 121. 10s., and a septennial fine of 1001. is equivalent to a
perpetual rent of 161. 138. 4d., and so in proportion. 2nd. That a perpetual rent of 1001. to commence 14 years hence is equiva
lent to a perpetual rent of 631. [63.1871.] to commence immediately, interest being here calculated at the before-mentioned rate of three and one-third per cent.
Consequently a perpetual rent of 501. to commence 14 years hence is equivalent to a perpetual rent of 311. 10s. to commence immediately.
And a perpetual rent of 33l. 6s. 8d. to commence 14 years hence
is equivalent to a perpetual rent of 211. to commence immediately. Applying these principles :Ist. To the ordinary case in which the fines equal one and a half year's
annual value, and supposing a lease of which 14 years is unexpired,
and the finable value 100l. The present septennial fines of 150l. paid to the lessor, the Church, are
equivalent to a rent of 251.
the right of perpetual renewal upon the following terms; viz.:-
be made immediately, and 50l. rent to commence 14 years
hence. Under Proposition II, the following alternatives would be admissible ;
(B.) A septennial fine of 751., and 31l. 108. rent in præsenti; (C.) A septennial fine of 1501., and 191. rent in præsenti; or (D.) 441. rent in præsenti.