Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Chancel Repair Liability and the Record of Ascertainments


The form of Liability that is most widespread, is apportioned liability under the 1936 Tithe Act where liability created by Rent Tithe Charge is apportioned according to each parish's Record of Ascertainments. Every eligible parish has it's own eccentric method of calculation based upon the amount of Rent Tithe charge collected in the parish (national archive info).


There are some examples across the internet about the amount that a plot would be liable for and absolutely the most detailed conversion showing the breakdown of every field is found on the web at Hartland Archives the introduction is shown here. The people at this archive has then converted each plot into contemporary liability assuming £10,000 of damage to the Chancel. Clearly showing for  some plots would be liable to £2 per £10,000 and others and I assume fairly large plots £98 per £10,000. There is also the tithe map available to cross reference with. Whether this gives peace of mind to the locals  I do not know but it does show that probably this PCC would consider it not cost effective to notify the liability in their parish.


This is an excellent piece of work based on one form of liability in the Parish of Hartland but there may be other types present in the parish such as, merged tithe and land or land in lieu of tithes. Because the apportionment is available on-line as is the map, if these exist they should be easily traced and these may well be worth notifying the liability on a financial basis.

After thought

I consider that a good approximate figure to find each plot and to notify the liability is probably at least £45 and then to enforce the liability at a later date the cost for a PCC could be about £15 per land owner but there would be additional expense above this  and if plots have been subdivided then the costs would escalate. There would be naturally pastoral and reputation costs which are hard to quantify.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

What is a Chancel?


No one really knows! Although on my post about Enclosure award Liability I stated 'In some cases the liability may theoretically exist but church has been rebuilt in such a way that the liability' I have since then read a article on what the Tithe Commission thought it seems they considered a chancel was where ever Priest carried out his work. This would suggest that a Chancel for Chancel repair Liability iis not related to architecture since there might only be a nave but if there is an altar that area would be covered by Chancel Repair Liability.

It would seem that the origin of this was that the Lay Rector was responsible for the whole building until the 1923 Ecclesiastical Dilapidations measure and the laity carried out repairs in relief  of the rector for the nave but after 1923 the laity took the nave on as an obligation
In other words if someone says there is no liability because there is no chancel they are probably incorrect!

Rebuilt Chancels

A church rebuilt in a different location under all the various new church acts means the liability transfers to the new building but if the original building  continues as a chapel then the liability stays with the original building (1838 New Church Act).
The tithe commission are fairly certain though that a rebuilt chancel cannot increase the liability of the Lay Rector unless they rebuilt it I but otherwise when a chancel is enlarged the Lay Rector is only responsible for the area of the original chancel. 
The only time when the liability ends is when a church is made redundant and there is no new church rebuilt in it's place or where there is a long standing tradition of a lay rector not carrying out the repair of the chancel (quite hard to prove).


The Tithe Commission does in part contradict James Derriman and other sources but still there are virtually no precedents and so there is little to go on and the tithe Commission where responsible for Chancel repair liability and Tithes for a long period of time.