The Church of England in East Yorkshire from 1743 to c1840 : with particular reference to economic matters
This thesis investigates, based on extensive database information, how the material resources of the clergy changed, primarily as a result of the enclosure process, from being based substantially on tithes, to one of ownership of the land itself, and the effect of this on the Church of England in the East Riding. It also considers the different types of church living, their numbers and relative values, and the extent to which the values changed over the period. The great variety in the value of livings that were a result of this process led to the development of differing clerical lifestyles. A clergyman had to find the favour of the patron before obtaining a living. The living he obtained was related to the place he occupied in local society. For those clergy who lacked the connections that would bring them better value livings, pluralism was a financial necessity. For those with the right connections, it was a way to increase not only the size of the stipend, but also their influence both within the church and beyond. Pluralism was a significant cause of non-residence, leading to the need to employ stipendary curates to maintain the services. The position of these curates also related to the economic state of the church as they sought to increase that income by multiplying the posts they held. The thesis also investigates the extent to which these changes led to the development of a group of clergymen who, living in a substantial parsonage and using the church's land to develop their own mini country estate were akin to minor gentry. Many such clergy also carried out important administrative and judicial functions. Other clergy never gained such status, and many of whom were destined, even after the considerable changes that affected the economic life of the church in the period, to live with their families on very low incomes.