Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Sunday Times article on Chancel Repair Liability

There was a reasonably accurate report by the Sunday times on Chancel Repair Liability but because it is behind a pay wall it is only partially visible (here) and then the Daily Mail created a rather more scaremongering version of it (here).
There were several things that interested me firstly the fact that the there were 247 parishes which have registered the liability although i suspect if cautions against first registration were included it may make it a higher number of 255 or so. I was very surprised by the number since I thought it would be nearer 120 or so  churches.

Is it right to register?

Each PCC has to make it's own reasonable decision in the light of the information in front of it. in the vast majority of examples it will clearly not be the right thing for a PCC to do due to either cost of finding the liable land or the reputational damage to the charity. Despite this in my opinion there will be instances as the law stands that registering the liability would be in the best interests of  at least some PCC's. Examples could include  where the owner of the land acquired land knowing of the liability and  at a reduced  cost, or  when the ancestors of the current owners created the liability in the first place via an enclosure act and  in some rare instances a previous owner indemnifies the current owner by the terms of a conveyance document.
I knew there would be some instances where registration would be the correct thing for a PCC to do, but I was surprised by how many there were.

Two Cases

There were two cases refereed to in the Sunday times which I shall a briefly look at.

Thrumpton Chancel Repair Liability  

The origins of the liability here would seem to be two sources of liability merged land and tithe (here) and a special award (here) and it would seem there is no map to mark out where the land that takes the liability is since no tithe map was made. How a PCC can register this liability without a map marking out the location of the land is a mystery but there could be a very good description of the land available or maybe exceptionally there was a map made.
I had always considered special awards for all intents and purposes an untraceable form of liability but the documents I link to would enable a greater understanding  of what the evidence is.

Lytham Chancel Repair Liability

According to the Daily Mail (The Sunday Times) 5,725 address have been registered by the liability which is a surprising number of plots. This amount of address would suggest the liability is apportioned by the 1936 Tithe Act and the record of Ascertainments detailing the apportionment (Lytham has not been digitised) and will be found  somewhere here. Each of these 5725 plots will take a small percentage of the liability of around  0.00017% of a chancel. It would cost a PCC a lot of money simply to pursue each owner for the small amount of liability they have since this liability is not personal and several.  In my opinion it makes more sense if either the owners of all the allotments of land are actually the same entity  or that the current owners of land have some form of indemnity given by a previous owner therefore the PCC only have to pursue one entity for the entire money.

The majority of churches (50%) which have chancel repair liability have only got apportioned liability like Lytham and for most PCC's the cost of  looking for this land and collecting the money exceeds any possible benefit.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Nettleham Chancel Repair Liability

Bunker's Hill Lincoln

This story was recently put up and I wrote on the newspaper website this below but I have since discovered that the status of the maps in Lincoln record office 174 is slightly dubious but this one and this one should be good.

From newspaper 

“I have researching the history of chancel repair liability and the origin of the law pre-dates Henry VIII by 500 years and Henry VIII took church assets and sold them on to various people and yes he did contribute to the creation of Chancel repair liability. In 1985 and later in 2003 the government could have opted to deal with the liability in several different ways but due to the complexity of the liability decided to create a partial deadline as opposed to a proper resolution. This has left both Churches and land owners in a difficult place as each church has to struggle over what is right for them under charity law.

This particular liability is a result of an act of Parliament in 1776 and so not actually a decision of the church but a result of the enclosure commissioner and parliament. I can tell by looking at various on-line resources that there is at least the possibility that the PCC made a mistake since some land was given to a Clerical Rector and that liability was removed from the land in 1923 hence the owners will need to either visit Lincoln archives and examine Lindsey Award 174 to check this and maybe issue a UN4 form to the land registry. The rest of the land was given to sundry church organisations depending on the terms of sale of land and when it was sold it is at least possible that the liability returns to the organisations that sold the land. This though needs research into the deeds of the property and the conveyance documents over the last 200 years which only the owners of the properties affected will be able to do looking to see if it was sold without Ecclesiastical dues or liability or a similar phrase.

Do not make the mistake of believe I am defending the liability since I believe the government should have dealt with in a far better way but they didn't.”

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Another update on Gorleston Chancel Repair Liability

PCC just can't stop registering

To be frank this seems like madness they could have chosen the reputational damage route or almost anything else but no they have registered the liability on another tranche of homes. I don't know how many but I heard there was another 1000 letters pending.

Financial  benefit? 

On a financial side I believe it is slightly bonkers since if the liability is apportioned the compounding value on a house is going to be probably between £5 and £10 and then the compounding money has to go into a special fund and so  I cannot believe that the legal costs in themselves would justify this action..
I am aware of many churches with apportioned chancel repair liability who came to the conclusion it would be silly based on expense to register the liability even forgetting the damage it does to the reputation of the church..


On balance I cannot see what positive news there is for Gorleston church for this action or positive benefit for the church in general. 


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Gorleston Probable Type of Chancel Repair Liabillity

I have seen no hard documents that tells me what the liability is in Gorleston but from what I have read and my own files suggests that it is very likely to be apportioned liability created by the 1936 tithe act. 

The holder of the liability to repair the chancel was the owner of the tithe rent charge. Under the terms of the 1936 tithe rent charge was extinguished but the liability was either merged into the land or the church was paid off  or the liability handed permanently over to a particular organisation . Every plot of land was treated differently according to its owner and the unique history of that parish and it was a monumental task carried out during the war

So here is part of my original post 

Apportioned liability under the 1936 tithe act

The vast majority of chancel repair liability (75 %?) is apportioned out with each field taking a tiny amount of liability using a calculation based on pre-decimal coinage. Taking a real but anonymised example from a parish that I believe is not to pursuing the liability.

this means that for every 1 old pence of a value an allotment has the owners are due to pay 1/281578.

An example is field 185

The value of this field is 9 shillings and 4 old pence which means  the owner of the field  is liable for 184/281578 of the value of the chancel or for every £1000 damage to the chancel  the owner is liable for £0.65

here is the plot 185

Allotment 185 now has  11 owners on it and the owners would be obliged to share the liability between them in a way they thought was equitable. For a PCC to register the 185 it would almost certainly cost a PCC a good sum of money  and to collect the money probably about £30. 

It is  likely, as the estate is fairly new, that all the owners have bought chancel repair insurance at a cost of at least £25 (could be as much £60) per house which is vastly in excess of any even foreseeable liability on the plot of land.
If it was considered that the compounding figure was around £40,000 (this is only a guesstimate and based on Aston Cantlow) for a chancel that the compounding figure to completely remove the liability from this plot would 184/281578 * £40,000 or £26 showing that in this place chancel repair liability insurance is fairly pointless.
This example of apportioned liability is fairly average since there are places where the percentage per plot is much smaller and a places where it is larger

It is also important to note that plot 191 does not have any liability due to who owned that plot in 1936.


This is not a definitive answer since there is no way of telling the type of liability until the documents are seen and so all I can say this type of liability is the most common.

Gorleston chancel repair liability the Magdalen College factor

According to the national archives one of the Lay Rectors was Magdalen College who appear to have 3/12 of the value of the chancel compounded (liability paid off)  ie there at the most in Gorleston 9/12 of the value of a chancel left to compound or to be paid off.

Calculating a compounding figure 

The actual means of calculating the figure to remove the liability is fairly mysterious  but we know that to remove the liability from  Aston Cantlow was £36,5000 and so, I guess any other chancel would be  in the same ball park which means about £40,000 although to accept any figure is up the PCC and the Diocesan authority. Since Gorleston chancel would seem to have had 3/12 paid off already  that  leaves about £30000 outstanding of the compounding figure. It is possible that other liabilities have also been extinguished under the 1936 tithe act and so it could be much less.

Gorleston chancel repair liability proposal

If anyone does object to the registration of Chancel repair liability on their property and gets a copy of the documentation supporting registration I would be more than happy to read it and interpret it.

Documents needed

To support registration a PCC needs a copy of the enclosure plan or tithe map and some of the documentation that goes with the maps . In a built up area where the land has changed they will need a modern map with the old map laid over it.  I would also be interested if the liability has been registered against the the council or highways agency as the entity that owns the roads.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Gorleston Chancel Repair Liability further thoughts

With the news of the liability in Gorleston still on going I thought would examine it in a little more detail.

The origins of the liability

Enclosure award liability

After a bit of googling I have come a bit of a blank on this although there was an enclosure for Gorleston  recorded in the parliamentary archives there is no reference to whether land was given in lieu of tithe which causes me to doubt that the liability is unapportioned ie it is several and personal.

Liability based on tithe rent charge 

The most widespread liability is apportioned liability under the 1936 tithe act and it is impossible for me to ascertain whether that is to found in  Gorleston since the actual document (the record of Ascertainments) is buried in this file although I have some files that would lead me to conclude that it is likely to exist.This is where each plot takes a fraction of the liability of the chancel in a fairly mysterious calculation individual for each parish.

Other liabilities 

There are several types of other possible liabilities, including merged land and tithe, and impropriated rectory glebe all of which are several and not apportioned out.

Possible reactions of a householder

If I was the householder I would I object when the UN1 came through the post so that I could discover on what basis the liability exists since I am aware of examples of incorrectly registered liability and this objection  should be done as a matter of course (send by return of post the UN4 back). I would also question if the the tithe or enclosure map can be successfully matched up with the modern  landscape and this may mean that a householder will end up in tribunal.

The Exemption Certificate

This sounds like a practical way out of a problem but it does not exist in law under the Ecclesiastical dilapidations measure 1923. If it is a liability based on the tithe rent charge it is likely that £50 is going to be excessive and if compounded under the Ecclesiastical dilapidations the liability on each plot may well actually be less. If the liability is based on any of the other forms of liability ,the question that would be in my mind is it actually going to be effective or is it going to increase other people's liability. A late night twitter conversation suggests that an exemption certificate might be possible as a type of informal compounding  although it could be a dogs breakfast for both the land owner and PCC.

 The Ecclesiastical dilapidations measure gives the power to compound or remove the liability not to the PCC but the central diocesan authority and I would want any document signed by them since that would give a greater sense of certainty that what has been done is correct and that the money is going to a fund to support the chancel.  If the liability was apportioned under the 1936 tithe act I think I would want to work out what the percentage of the liability is for my patch and then offer the Diocesan authority a sum (assuming £37,000 is a whole chancel) to formally compound the liability particularly if the calculation is under £50.


I am surprised that a PCC would think that registering the liability on 900 houses  is considered to be reasonable and equally surprised they did not write to the Charity commission to justify non-registration on the grounds of reputational damage and ask for section 110 advice. I am puzzled that this exemption certificate is being used when there is, all be it complicated, a way of totally removing the liability  in existence fairly and fully.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Gorleston Chancel Repair Liability update

The story is found here. it appears that the Vicar has been quoted as saying there is such a thing as an exemption certificate but as far as I can ascertain this does not exist under law. If the liability is derived from an enclosure award as would seem to be the case an exemption  certificate may prevent the parish from asking for money from one lay rector but other lay rectors who did not take out the certificate would be given a heavier bill or still have the right to claim from those who took out the certificate.

The only legal way to rid a plot of land from the liability is under the 1923 Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure with a certificate issued by the Diocesan authority. Any other means of doing it may be unsuccessful or put the PCC into legal hot water for failing to protect the other lay rectors interests.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Gorleston Chancel Repair Liability (Norfolk)

I have recently come across this story here it is a little puzzling or even  significantly incorrect because it talks about a 'certificate of exception' and that concept does not exist in any Chancel Repair law I have come across. The only way to remove the liability is to compound it under the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure 1923 and I suspect the only way to do this correctly would be if all the householders did it together which could work out at about £50 per householder and this process is carried out by the Diocese by consulation with the PCC with any money going into a special fund.

Beware the Certificate of Exemption

If I was a householder I would not touch a certificate of exemption with a barge pole. Indeed if such a thing existed, it might increase the liability of the other householders but more likely it is not worth the paper it is written on and I would insist on a proper compounding process.

Basis of the liability 

 The liability would appear to be personal and several under an enclosure act of  1809 and this covered the three parishes of Corton Hopton and Gorleston and there should be liable land in at least one of the other parishes.


On the 19th October I got my chancel acts confused Greg

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Moment of fame has past...

The One Show and Chancel Repair Liability

My opinion is that it was  on balance it was a fair representation of the facts and as they used me as one of their resources I am bound to say that. Yes they may have  focused on the human side but I consider that was reasonable because chancel repair liability might be obscure and odd but it can have some concerning side effects

Any way after my exciting if brief appearance  on the BBC 'One Show' about chancel repair liability and the semi deadline for registration having past I, hopefully, can look forward to fewer phone calls e-mails but someone how I feel I might be disappointed Yet, anyway I have always planned to end this blog sometime between now and Christmas and that still remains my plan.
In case your wondering I really don't do flower arranging and barely notice they exist hence I am currently suffering a lot of teasing..

Friday, 11 October 2013

Concerns about the registering Chancel Repair Liability

With today's deadline a  very interesting article from the church times has come out by Gavin Drake found  here providing facts and figures about the number of churches registering saying about 89 churches are going to register. I would have guessed about 100 churches but with most of the liability being held by large land owners who probably will not go the press. I suspect at the end of the day it will be slightly more than 100 churches.

Two concerns

My first concern and I am aware of least one parish that is doing is that they are registering land that no longer bears the liability and since few people understand the law a lot of upset and grief may come to pass before the truth comes out.
My second concern is that parishes are not taking seriously the option of going the way of reputational damage. I can see they might do this because they do not have  the time to complete the research and before  today's deadline and they have registered as a holding measure. They maybe  unaware that the reputational damage route is an argument they could use to avoid registration followed up with the possibility of writing to the charity commissioners to get vindication of this PCC decision .

Rights and wrongs of registration

In the part of the One Show filming which got edited out I stated that the whole thing was a little bit bonkers and it is and huge regret to me that parliament ducked the sorting of chancel repair liability out fully. The mess that has been created by parliament's inaction has to be resolved by the local church and so each church council has to make it's own decision of what is reasonable to do. Many church  councils are ill equipped to deal with this issue and the support from dioceses has been a bit patchy. Sadly I know that some churches will register when really shouldn't and some fail to register when maybe they should have and some have refused to investigate and decided probably accidentally  to put all PCC members in legal jeopardy.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Humbleton Chancel Repair Liability update 2

From the Press

The Daily mail has reported on it and as you would expect there is a key of error in it's reporting it states

The government looked to abolish the law 10 years ago and gave churches a decade, until October 13 this year, to register properties for chancel repair liability with the land register otherwise they would not be able to make a future claim

Whilst in reality a parish can definitely register after Oct 13th the key differences after that date is that it is more expensive to register the liability and in the example of Humbeton this might be a factor and if the land was sold after that date without the liability being registered the liability is extinguished.

It also states

The law only came to light in 2003 when married couple Andrew and Gail Wallbank were told they had to pay £100,000 to fund repairs of their ecclesiastical parish's medieval church at Aston Cantlow

Which is another inaccuracy since people had been paying Chancel repair liability for hundreds of years and indeed the Wallbanks knew about the liability when they acquired that land and there was a law commission report on it in 1985 asking what should be done with this ancient charge. The Wallbank case certainly moved the issue into the conciousness of the general public  and it became apparent that it is something that affects not only large land owners but also the general public. To say the law only came to light in 2003 is slightly over egging it but then it is the Daily Mail.

Elsternwick Enclosure

As I stated before there was an enclosure award in the parish Humbleton near Elsterwick that created land bearing the liability in a non-apportioned form.

From House of commons paper 44

This shows that there was land given to a lay Impropriator (lay rector) and this land bears the liability  and some land for the Vicar and if that ever had the liability that has now been lost.

Second Extract

This extract unusually states roughly where the land bearign the liability would be but to actually locate the land would mean a visit tot he East Riding Record Office to view the Enclosure award and Map and to see if the map can be cross referenced with a modern map. Enclosure award liability is frequently recorded on the deeds of the property and so it is likely the owners are aware of the liability unlike Mr Wood and the other people of Humbleton.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Hints of what to do if your property is registered with chancel repair liability

Letter from the Land Registry

In the event you should get a letter from the land registry the first reaction should be not to panic because it may not be that bad although without a doubt there is going to be some concern and you will need to do some research yourself.

The first action should be to look at your property deeds and to see what they say do they mention ecclesiastical dues or liability to repair or some similar kind of statement within them and that point it is likely that the notice is genuine.
No matter what your deeds say I believe any property owner should immediately object and use the appropriate form from the land Registry probably UN4. This will give some breathing space.


It is possible that you have chancel repair insurance in which case you check on it's terms but it will probably only protect you if the PCC came asking for money which may not be for many years. It is unlikely to mitigate the negative consequences of the registration to the title of your property.

Ascertain the Liability

There are many sources of liability and the first stop is to find a copy of your parish's tithe apportionment and any enclosure award and get to these documents  very well and copy it all with a decent digital camera. My guides on this website can assist you in reading them and working out what the liability is due to.
You may be liable but chancel repair is very complicated and it is possible that there are other liabilities in the parish that the PCC missed and other owners are jointly liable with you and then I believe speaking to a specialist solicitor to see if you could register on other properties is a way forward.
Or you may discover the PCC make a mistake and registered your property incorrectly in which case you can have the notice removed.

Previous owners of the land

Check in the conveyance documents of the land since there are a number of cases when previous owners of the land indemnify all future owners this may be mentioned explicitly or it may say something like 'land sold without ecclesiastical dues'. This could be great if it is a large organisation or the estate is still around and wealthy or completely valueless if the estate  has ceased to exist. This might also explain why the PCC is registering since they, like you, will not know the state of any indemnification.  If this is true then as a matter of urgency discover the terms of the indemnity and contact the relevant estate.

Paying the PCC off

If the liability on your property is apportioned with a small amount of liability then compounding or paying the PCC off is a real possibility and this could well be a relatively small sum. If you think this is a way forward then the  first port of call is the local Diocesan Board of Finance and offer to compound the liability under the 1932 Chancel repairs act  . The only chancel which is known to have been compounded in the recent past was Aston Cantlow and the compounded value of that chancel was £36,500 for an entire chancel.

(minor update 7th October)

Humbleton update

It seems that the the PCC are registering apportioned liability under the 1936 tithe act which would seem to be at least slightly odd considering the existence of an enclosure award. It is quite time consuming and expensive to register apportioned liability when compared to registering enclosure award liability. I do not have access to any documentation and so it is hard to know what is actually taking place but I do know there is no enclosure award in Humbleton itself and so it is either merged land or apportioned liability. Apportioned liability is better documented and there is a so called 'record of ascertainments' for all affected churches with copies held in the national archives.

New update 

Just reached the local press


Friday, 20 September 2013

Humbleton Yorkshire Chancel repair liability ( Elsternwick)

I am hearing rumours of a PCC registering the liability in the ancient parish of  Humbleton. If this is true it will  could be a result of an enclosure award made in Elsternwick (or Elstronwick) around 1806 which gave an allotment of land in lieu of tithes.

Update little more research

It seems that there was also a merger of land and tithes in the parish and this involved a few hundred acres of land and that should also be liable.

Further Research

it seems that all although the Hotham family were considered to be the impropriators of the Humbleton the owners of the rectory tithes in Elsternwick were the Bell family the relevant part of he page is

'The Appleyards' interest evidently passed to John Bell (d. 1809), who owned the rectorial estate at Elstronwick, except for the tithes of the closes belonging to Burstwick parish. At inclosure in 1813 his trustees were awarded 23 a. for his glebe land and 40 a. for some of the tithes; Frances Bell, his widow, was then allotted 88 a. for the rest of Bell's corn and hay tithes. (fn. 61)'

These allotments for tithes and glebe bear the liability for the chancel.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Merging of Land and Tithe

Or Merging Land and Extinguishment of Tithe

This form of Liability  only gets a minor mention on the national archives website  on chancel repair liability and is frequently ignored and yet it is probably the second largest form of liability after the land covered by the record of ascertainments.  This form of liability and not accurately recorded on tithe apportionments. This seems to be the case in some parishes but there are plenty where the liability is quite provable and it seems to be dependent on whether the Vicar was still getting the lesser tithes and the approach of the individual tithe commissioner.


People who owned the land and also owned the tithe coming from the land had the opportunity to merge the land with the tithe and to extinguish paying the tithe to themselves but to transfer the liability into the land . Many land owners decided to do this since it saved administration and money and at the time did not change the liability for the chancel.
By merging the land with the tithe, the liability was moved from the tithe owner to the land owner which at the time made no difference then, but hundred and fifty years later may make a substantial difference. There has been no act of parliament or decision to apportion this liability out and so to this day this liability still stands.

Merging of Tithe Rent charge

In the majority of places the land owners opted to merge tithe rent charge with the land land after commutation and this liability was apportioned out by the record of ascertainments created by  the 1936 tithe act. These two liabilities, 'merged land and tithe' and 'merged land and tithe rent charge' not surprisingly, people find confusing, but the nature of the liability is quite different.

How much liability  for merging of land and tithe?

In theory every small piece of merged land and tithe is liable for the entire chancel but how that would work in practice would be up the various lay Rectors to apportion it and I suspect there may well be very complicated court cases if a PCC ever came to claim some money

Friday, 13 September 2013

Radio 4 Sunday and Chancel Repair Liability

Recently on the 15th September there was a programme on Radio 4 Sunday which featured Chancel Repair Liability and in many ways it was great since it featured the problems PCC's are dealing with and highlighted many issues.

Key Mistakes

There was though one important mistake it repeated several times and that was that former church land carries the liability and this is absolutely not true in virtually all cases of church owned land the liability was either removed in 1923 or 1976. The only exception to this is if the land was formerly owned by a bishop or Dean or other senior clerical office (appropriator)  this liability may remain but often, it is owned, ultimately by the Church Commissioners. Hence land called or houses with the phrase glebe or rectory or vicarage as part of the name are places that are the least likely to have the  liability.
 The land that bears the liability is land that once was owned by Lay Rectors (or impropriators) not land owned by the Clerical Rectors. It was unfortunate that a good programme should be marred with a basic misunderstanding of the law.
It is also forgot to include the issue of their being two different forms of liability, that of apportioned liability, which is by far the largest form of liability and that of non-apportioned leaving, I believe, most people thinking that any land has complete liability for the chancel when this is, simply, not true.

The Example of Preston in Rutland

The reporter visited Rutland and the PCC  had been concerned about the liability and assumed their parish church  had it. Apparently they wrote to the charity commissioners saying they did not want to pursue it due to pastoral damage they may cause.
The problem with the story was that the parish of Preston in Rutland never had the liability in the first place.

A small extract taken from House of Commons paper 44

In 1773 the land that may have taken the liability was given to a Clerical Rector and any liability tied to former land owned by a Clerical Rector has long since been extinguished. So whether the Charity Commission released the parish from not doing a research on a non-existence liability remains a little mystery. In my opinion to not research, if indeed that was what happened, was a mistake for the parish of Preston may well have discovered that some very wealthy and ancient body were responsible.

As can be seen from the above extract the opposite is true of Newbold in Warwick where the land was given to a lay person and in that parish there may well be land that has the liability.


The programme was great in highlighting the issues but from my perspective a real understanding of the complexity of chancel repair liability was not expressed and their is a danger of people getting the wrong impression  of where the liability could be found and what it is like.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

From the files

Places with chancel repair liability as a result of an enclosure award 

This is a extract from a pdf file of places which probably have chancel repair liability as a result of an enclosure award made after 1771 via an enclosure act and there also seems to be an enclosure plan in existence so liability could well be proved. The full file can be downloaded from here.  The 1757 to 1771 can be found here.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Files to assist PCC's in Researching Chancel Repair Liability

My Church's website has been taken out by some low life  who has got nothing better to do than wreck people's hard work and so PCC assistance files and research files can now be found via the links below.

PCC Assistance Files

To assist PCC's in their research and decision making I have these two files a flow chart (here) and general action sheet (here). Reading tithe and enclosure documentation is hard and to help with this I have created a simple guide although it does not cover all eventualities (here).

Enclosure Award Files

As a  side effect of helping parishes in Lichfield diocese I started recording parishes that had an enclosure award, an enclosure act an enclosure plan and a lay rector and I did not stop until I found everything I could possibly find. These lists also note the record office at which the information is held.
 Theses two lists are not exhaustive of every enclosure award that has the liability with a plan since some are not recorded in my primary resources of House of Commons papers 44 and 30. There will be enclosure plans in existence that I could not find because they are either not on a national database or the names of the parishes/ areas have changed and I could not cross reference with modern names and hence missed  the information. These files can help short circuit the local research but do not assume that since I have not found the information that it does not exist.

All Enclosure awards between 1757 and 1771 probably with the liability and noting a plan if I could find it and additional information found here.

Enclosure awards after 1771 with the liability and a plan and a note of where the plan is found here

More files

A copy of the presentation for Lincoln diocese is found here.
A list of all the terms used in explaining chancel repair liability with a short explanation  is found here 
I have created versions of  my enclosure awards for various counties of the country and if you want one of those please contact me. 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Web resources

Unfortunately most of my resources are are off line due to main website being hacked. Hopefully all will be well soon..

Most of them though can be found via




Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Chancel Repair Liability insurance

Many of us have taken Chancel repair Liability insurance out probably for a sum of between £25 and £60 possibly preceded by a chancel check to see if there is likely to be a liability in the area.
On the face of it as a result of as a result of Aston Cantlow where a family were faced with a bill of £100,000 it seems fairly reasonable. 
Yet questions have arisen in my mind about this practice, since I am aware of places where insurance has been take out where there is no liability and other places where there is liability and yet it has not been taken out. One question that I have considered is paying the PCC cheaper easier and more efficient to remove the liability than getting insurance that has limited effect.

Paying the PCC off

At a later date long after the Aston Cantlow court case left the headlines the Wallbank family had to pay a further £36,500 to release their land from the liability which is called compounding a mysterious procedure under the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure 1923. After that date, the liability was removed and since they paid, I assume for 100% of the liability it was removed from all land in the parish.

Apportioned liability under the 1936 tithe act

The vast majority of chancel repair liability (75 %?) is apportioned out with each field taking a tiny amount of liability using a calculation based on pre-decimal coinage. Taking a real but anonymised example from a parish that I believe is not to pursuing the liability.

this means that for every 1 old pence of a value an allotment has the owners are due to pay 1/281578.

An example is field 185

The value of this field is 9 shillings and 4 old pence which means  the owner of the field  is liable for 184/281578 of the value of the chancel or for every £1000 damage to the chancel  the owner is liable for £0.65

here is the plot 185

Allotment 185 now has  11 owners on it and the owners would be obliged to share the liability between them in a way they thought was equitable. For a PCC to register the 185 it would almost certainly cost a PCC in excess of £100 and to collect the money probably about £30. 
It is  likely, as the estate is fairly new, that all the owners have bought chancel repair insurance at a cost of at least £25 (could be as much £60) per house which is vastly in excess of any even foreseeable liability on the plot of land.
If it was considered that the compounding figure was around £40,000 (this is only a guesstimate and based on Aston Cantlow) for a chancel that the compounding figure to completely remove the liability from this plot would 184/281578 * £40,000 or £26 showing that in this place chancel repair liability insurance is fairly pointless.
This example of apportioned liability is fairly average since there are places where the percentage per plot is much smaller and a places where it is larger.

Other Liabilities

All the other forms of Land based liabilities i.e 'land given in lieu of tithes' (like Aston Cantlow), 'merged land and tithe' and 'impropriate glebe'  are several ie an owner is liable for it all with the other owners of the lands. 'Land given in lieu of tithe' size  varies in size from between a few acres to 1000 or so acres and the number of parishes affected is normally between one and three. The enclosure of Neroche (or Roach) Forest in Somerset may have the record with the possibility of involving 13 parishes (Broadway, Bickenhall, Beercrocombe, Ilton, Barrington, Ashill, Illminster, Whitelackington, Curland, Donyatt, Isle-Abbotts, Hatchbeauchamp, Buckland). 'Merged land and tithe' liability can be equally vast in a given parish covering maybe 1000's of acres.

Enclosure Award Liabilities

Acts of parliament that created enclosures are fairly well documented and it seems that Chancel checking organisations use these as a basis of their databases. I am aware of at least 2 instances where people have paid for insurance in an area which had an enclosure award giving land to a Clerical Rector but that liability was removed in 1923 so in effect people are paying for an insurance that can never be used. Many enclosure award's were issued without plans or the plans are not that good and so that the land bearing the liability cannot be traced.
Yet not all enclosure awards where carried out by parliamentary act and so at the this point it remains slightly uncertain to me whether the databases of chancel checking companies can detect this liability if there is no parliamentary act.

If someone happened to be aware they own an acre of liable land out of a possible several hundred I don't see why they can't approach the diocese to remove the liability. The owner could offer to compound it by an appropriate percentage ie if they own 1 acre out of 200 the owner could offer 1/2% of possibly £40,000 although it may not be accepted but it is worth the attempt.

Merged Land and tithe

This particular liability was created by the 1839 tithe act and allowed owners of the land, who also owned the tithes to extinguish the tithe payment to themselves and to merge the liability for the chancel into the land. Not every land and tithe owner did this but it seems to a way of avoiding mapping and apportionment costs and the only way of knowing if a particular area has this liability is a close examination of the tithe apportionment document. This form of liability is often poorly mapped and hence no one could locate the land bearing the liability but there are tithe maps where the land is eminently traceable.
I am aware of  at least one place were people have not taken out chancel repair liability insurance and I know there is at least a strong potential for the liability based on merged land and tithe.

Self research

It is quite easy to do a probably survey if an area is likely to have certain forms of chancel repair liability but looking up the area (here) if you find the place as clerical rector then there is no liability but  if someone else owned the tithes then there is a possibility of enclosure based chancel repair liability. If an area had apportioned liability then looking the name of  the parish up here in section IR 104 will show if there was apportioned liability in the given area although not all areas of the country have got the files in a downloadable format. If there is apportioned liability then there is the increased chance for the other rarer forms of liability to exist. If got hold of the record of Ascertainments from IR104 and then compared it with the local tithe map and your proposed acquisition was on one of the plots listed then you know it is subject to apportioned liability as noted above.

Local Solicitors

I have wondered why solicitors have not over the last 10 years engaged their own archivists to draw up a portfolio of information with regards to chancel repair liability in the local parishes and so being able to give better advice but i guess that is where chancel checking companies have come in.

Chancel Repair Liability insurance was it worth it?

Generally, for the ordinary home owner, in the majority of locations, it was probably not worth it since frequently the liability is minuscule and in urban areas virtually untraceable.  For people living in country areas who own large tracts of land or people living in parts of the country with known enclosure awards it is probably something that is worth having. Even apportioned liability can build up if  someone owns a large number of fields. I have spoken to many parishes and by far the majority are not registering the liability for a whole variety of reasons which decreases the usefulness of the insurance.
I would only take out insurance in a place after I have done some personal research but I would absolutely take out insurance if one of the conveyance deeds said something like land subject to 'Ecclesiastical dues'  or it was in an parish where I have found there should be liable land as a result of an enclosure award and a plan exists (my personal lists researched  are on points 4a, 4b and  4c  here).

I guess, though for the vast majority of us, there is the element of peace of mind for having the insurance and avoiding the research stuff but don't expect the insurance to be used. If buying property after 13th October there shall be virtually no need for chancel repair liability insurance.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Hameringham Lincolnshire; Chancel Repair Liability

I was asked a slightly odd question, 'can a parish refuse to research chancel repair liability and still get a letter approving this from the Charity commissioners?' and the answer is, as far as I can see, no. The charity commissioners can consider whether a decision is reasonable or not but for a parish to refuse to a investigate can, in my opinion, never be considered to  be reasonable particularly as the liability might be held by the crown or the church commissioners.

Lose Lose Decision 

In refusing to investigate no one really wins, the PCC members may be considered to be breach of their role as charity trustees. The local home owners still have the possibility of liability outstanding on their land which could be registered at any time as the liability still stands until the property is sold and as a result in the change of the law in October makes it more expensive for one Lay Rector to register against other Lay Rectors (if possible). When an investigation takes place everyone is helped, since a PCC can decide not to register the liability and possibly seek confirmation from the charity commissioners or simply discover there is no liability or find there is someone who will actually give them money if the chancel is damaged. Investigation provides closure for everyone as opposed to a nagging uncertainty.

The Unwanted Research

I took it upon myself to see what I could discover about Hameringham from Staffordshire and the first difficulty was that the place name had changed and was originally called Hammeringham.
My next stage was to look up the tithe maps and there was none and then to look up enclosure acts and according to House of Commons paper 44 there was one in 1772.

This shows that the owner of the tithes was a clerical rector and he got an allotment of land for the tithes equal to 2/15ths of all the new land due to be enclosed. Today looking on the map this land is almost certainly called Glebe Farm.

As the land was given to a clerical rector 'in lieu of all tithes', the liability has long since been extinguished under the terms of the 1923 Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure. To be completely and absolutely certain the PCC would need to get the  act of Parliament (search Hammeringham here) or to visit the enclosure award and plan at Lincoln Archives. Doing this would confirm, House of Commons paper 44, by looking at the definitive documents but in my experience if an Enclosure is recorded as being a clerical rector or lay rector on House of Commons paper 44, it is a correct record. When sundry impropriators are recorded over a number of parishes in Paper 44 then the only way to discern the details is to look at the records in the archives.

Summary for Ham(m)eringham

There is almost certainly no Chancel Repair Liability in this parish and there is no need to write to anyone but this research should be recorded in the PCC minutes but it might be quite nice to have a copy of the Enclosure plan in the parish..

Final update on Barlow and Brayton chancel repair liability

It is now certain that Brayton PCC withdrew the  notice of the liability on the land both on houses and on the Parish Council of Barlow as the story was going to print.

The Conclusion (I think)

There is no doubt that a PCC can feel that they are in a lose lose situation and I am certain they had no intention of making peoples lives more difficult. This is a very complicated area of the law and most advice is very expensive and so they may have felt they had little choice but to register to protect themselves. I can but hope and pray that the good reputation that Brayton church and the local vicar enjoys is not hindered by this almost non story.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Glebe and Chancel Repair Liability

There are lots of rumours that go around around about Glebe and Chancel Repair Liability most of which are wrong. Glebe comes in at least four differing forms most of which it can be assumed do not carry liability and listed below I have put them in order of likelihood of being found

1 Vicarage Glebe

Land owned by the Vicar or land obtained by the vicar in exchange for surrendering the small tithes in a parish. This type of Glebe never had the liability.

2 Rectory Glebe 

Land owned by the Clerical Rector or land given to the Rector in exchange for surrendering the Greater or Rectory tithes in a parish. This type of Glebe had the liability but lost it in 1923 on the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure.

3 'Lay held' Glebe

On rare occasions land is called glebe by an enclosure award when it is given to a lay person in exchange for the greater tithes and Aston Cantlow is one such occasion. It is also called Tithe land or as I call it 'land in lieu of tithe' This land does bear the liability and generally came into existence before 1830 and the enclosure award will make that clear.

4 Impropriated Glebe

This land was part of the rectory prior to the reformation (1539) and was given over to lay people or other organisations and this almost certainly carries the liability. It is hard to locate since it would need to be marked on a tithe or enclosure map and I have come across this on one tithe map but there was no name on the ground to suggest it was impropriated glebe.

Glebe farm, Glebe house etc

A place with Glebe as part of it's name  is less likely to have Chancel repair liability than neighbouring areas  since it has probably been owned by the Incumbent of the parish in the  recent past and hence it has either never had the liability or it was removed in 1923. Glebe owned by a lay person which carries the liability is far less likely to have the name glebe but there is always the exception and Aston Cantlow is one of those.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Barlow and Brayton Chancel Repair Liability update 3

Well it seems as far as locals are concerned the PCC has not withdrawn the notice but are registering on land but not property and this apparently includes land  owned by local organisations.

It would seem as long as the the enclosure award and plan are clear the only way forward for the locals would be to offer to compound the liability.

Random and helpful Links for Chancel Repair Liability

There are many helpful resources on the web but the best are hidden and far down the Google search results and here are the ones I recommend.

Firstly as one stop research base I would strongly recommend my files from all my presentations  found here some people have found the PCC flow diagram extremely helpful although I am aware it is not perfect.

Researching liability on enclosure awards

There is no substitute for getting hold of your parishes Tithe documentation to discover if there was an enclosure award. Yet to save time there is this amazing search engine for known enclosure plans which is not perfect, since for some places have changed names and so quite often it is better to look a the county list and see if there was an enclosure plan near the parish you are looking at. I have found one or two plans not on this index and found that some of the plans are in a very poor condition.

For parliamentary enclosures only there are two almost complete lists that show whether tithes were converted into land and this is not perfect either since what parliament intended and what happened may not be the same.
These two books are Parliamentary papers 44 and papers 30. It will show that if tithe were owned by a non-incumbent and there was a conversion to land then there is likely to be liability, conversely if the tithe owner was a clerical rector only then there is far less likely to be liability in that parish. Some warning needs to be given about names and county boundaries, since both could have changed and sometimes enclosures involve more than one parish and also the name provided on the House of Commons paper is not the name of the parish but part of the parish.

I linked House of common papers 44 and 30 with the search index and sorted some of the place name changes and created two files here and here.

Other Links

Other useful links for research are the national archives discovery website
and the  local archive search index access to archives 
The national archives have a helpful starting place for chancel repair liability research 
Various dioceses have a mixtures of helps and opaque comments but if you are a PCC in a diocese you should start with your diocesan website  but it is worth reading the Church of England's main website .
For PCC's considering not to register the liability but feel they need confirmation that this is a reasonable decision for them then visiting the Charity Commissioners website is a good idea. Personally I consider that getting something from the charity commissioners would protect a PCC from any other body questioning a PCC's decision and may help protect grants at a later date.

All solicitors websites that have something, give brief and unfortunately, sometimes, not accurate overviews of Chancel Repair Liability the purpose of which, I suspect, is to encourage people to use them for advice.

These links are a little random but hopefully will save some time struggling with Google.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Barlow and Brayton Chancel Repair Liability update 2

Further Research

I have done a little more digging and in the parish of Brayton there were several  parliamentary enclosure one in the area of Hambleton but there seems to be no plan for that award. The other is the area of  'Brayton, Thorpe, Willoughby, Burton Hall etc' From house of commons paper 44  it says

This means that one seventh of the land was set aside for the owner of the tithes split between the Archbishop, Lord of the manor and the vicar.
Any land given to the Vicar has now lost the liability under the term of the 1923 Ecclesiastical Dilapidations  Measure  or it is possible it never had liability because it was for the small or Vicar's tithes.
The Lord of the Manor and the Archbishop's allotments will still carry the liability and the actual location of these places should be be found by reference to the Enclosure award and plan probably  located at the West Riding Record office.

The Archbishop's Allotment 

All the Archbishops land and liabilities eventually came into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners after 1840 and if the land in Bratyon parish bearing the liability  was still owned by the Archbishop on the date it was handed over to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners then there is a vague possibility that the current owners of this land could be indemnified by the current Church Commissioners.

The Householders of Barlow

If I was a householder of Barlow I would certainly wish to know if the PCC had researched the Enclosure award in the areas now known as Thorpe Willoughby, Gateforth and Lund farm. There is a possibility that the people of Barlow could register other land bearing the liability elsewhere although it is normally considered that only a PCC can register.

Update 2

It would seem that this is a bit of a storm in a tea cup and that the local PCC are not pursing the liability maybe I shouldn't rely on the press..(hence the disappearance of the original update).

Friday, 5 July 2013

Barlow Chancel Repair Liability

The story is found here  where sixty five house holders have found themselves receiving letters from the Land registry notifying them of the liability was created under an enclosure award of 1839.  This was unusually done by local agreement and a copy of  the award and plan is stored at the North Yorkshire Records Office Since it was done by agreement it was missed by me in my, fairly exhaustive, research of parliamentary enclosure acts (files top left here ) since a parliamentary act was the normal means of carrying out enclosures and creating the liability.

It would seem that the liability is that of 'land given in lieu of tithes' which makes the liability non-apportioned and so it is shared severally with the other owners of  the land. The PCC has the right to send the bill to one owner and  they can then ask the other owners to share in the cost of repairing the chancel.

Land owners response 

The first question to ask would be, was this liability was recorded on the deeds or Conveyance documents of the landowners? and if so they probably took out the Chancel Repair Liability insurance. If it was not recorded on the deeds I would suggest they got a copy of the enclosure plan to see if it is good enough  to identify the 'land given in lieu of tithe's' since I have examined several enclosure plans and awards over the the past year where they are not clear enough to prove liability. If it is not good enough there is a tribunal at the Land registry to contest the liability.

Another response 

The landowners could offer to compound the liability under Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure 1923 and pay the PCC off. This actually need not be a large sum because the Diocesan Board of Finance could accept a lower sum that the default figure after consultation with the PCC.


I think the whole situation of Chancel Repair Liability is slightly mad because to notify the liability on the land does not often forward the mission of the church but too fail to do so can actually put a PCC in a very difficult position. There are alternatives that the PCC could have considered they could have prioritised  the harm to the mission of the church or reputational damage but this would still have to be balanced against the  financial loss. The Charity Commissioners have some guidance here and it has to be said the vast majority of parishes, I have spoken to, have opted to not register their Chancel Repair Liability but admittingly because it was apportioned liability and very costly to trace the land owners. To even start finding apportioned liability  PCC's need to convert tithe maps onto a modern map and to locate possibly hundreds of plots of land and then to register the liability. In Barlow it is very likely that there is only one or two allotments of land hence if the map is reasonable it may be easy to locate the land and there is no need to go to great expense to overlay an enclosure on to a modern map.

Postscript 1

It is possible that the opportunity of chancel repair Liability insurance was not on offer since the databases of organisations that do this research may have missed it since it is not on house of commons papers 44 or 33.


Actually the enclosure plan is more likely to be stored at the West Yorkshire archive service.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Kingston upon Thames Chancel Repair Liability


I am interested in this parish because it three detectable sources of Chancel repair liability over the internet and one of those is very rare. It is also possibly going to have to have a fourth that of 'merged land and tithe' but that can only be found by reading the tithe apportionment.

Liability 1: 1808 Enclosure Act 

House of Commons paper 44 lists many enclosure acts and Kingston upon Thames can be found with in this paper. Here it is noted below.

The effect of this act (copy can be ordered from here) was that in the parish of Kingston upon Thames in an area known as Imbercourt there was an allotment of 1/9th of the land given to the Lay Impropriators and Vicar for the tithes. This land that which was given for tithes would still today bear the liability. From reading it would suggest that some land was given to the vicar but that would not have the liability as an effect of an 1923 measure.

There is a road called Embercourt in Thames Ditton which may or may not be the same area. There is also a large estate owned by the police called Imber Court. There is only one way of checking this and that is to look at the Enclosure award and map and that is located at the Surrey History Centre in Woking under reference QS/79/1/1/41 . As can be seen by looking at the link the enclosure award appears to includes more than one parish and so the liabilities could potentially involve other parishes although unlikely. Reading enclosure awards and plans can be quite hard and I give some tips here.

Liability 2:  1936 Tithe Act

The 1936 Tithe Act apportioned out Tithe rent charge liability into a small amount per field and each parish has a mysterious calculation per field but it often works out something like a field is liable to £0.40 per £10,000 of damage to the chancel (fuller explanation here). This is  by far the largest form of liability and frequently it is not cost effective to pursue any owner of this land for the money even if the PCC should desire to do so.  It is unfortunate people often take out insurance that exceeds any possible liability when they leave in these areas but chancel checking organisations only check if there is a possibility of liability not what type.

Liability 3:  1847 Special Apportionment

Kingston upon Thames enjoys a liability which is quite unusual it is where a land owner transfers the liability from some of their land to a particular allotment meaning they can sell the other land liability free. The details of the particular field or field is recorded at the national archives in IR .97/1 and so to find it's location there would be a need to view this file in conjunction with the tithe apportionment and map. The details of the amount of liability is uncertain but it is likely to be not apportioned. There is also the chance there is a trust in existence indemnifying the current owners.

Worth Enforcing?

Both the first and third form of liability are probably easily traceable and also quite cost effective to enforce since all they involve is seeing if the early maps can be married up with modern maps and if they can't that is the end of the story but with modern mapping it may be surprising easy.  If the maps can be matched up  it may well cost under £50 to register the liability and possibly an equivalent amount of money to copy the relevant documents.
With both of these liabilities if even if there is no trust in existence indemnifying current owners it is likely that the owners of the land are aware of the liability as it would normally be recorded on the deeds.

What should a PCC do?

Each PCC is it's own charity and should make a reasonable decision based on all information available .In my opinion there should be a full investigation so that charity is furnished with all the information  since there is a possibility that there is a trust in existence to indirectly repair the chancel or the land is occupied by a large wealthy land owner.
It is possible that the land with the liability is now occupied by houses and any registration could cause reputational damage to the charity (the local church). In this case it is likely  that the individual PCC members are likely to want to write to the charity commissioners to prove they are not  in breach of trust and to see if they also agreed with their conclusions that any registration would cause harm to the PCC. There is also has the added advantage that if there was ever a need for a grant for the repair of the chancel the PCC can show they have support for making a reasonable decision.

My general helps on found on the top left here.

Minor update

The 1870's ordnance survey map shows an area in 'Imber court' marked as glebe which may or may not mark the land with the liability but it is at least a possibility.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Chancel Repair Liability Flowchart for a PCC


I hope my flow chart is self explanatory and will need little help from me on this blog.


I hope I have covered virtually  virtually all possible land based liabilities but I may well update it over the next couple of weeks to cover the couple of rare liabilities that are missing and to sort out a few typos. Non land based liabilities like corn rents if they still exist are omitted.

Rectory Glebe

A  wise person wanted me to make it clear that any glebe that has been owned by the incumbent from the reformation until today never has the liability. Glebe that does have the liability is hard to locate and in the only case I have seen it it is marked as 'impropriated' glebe is on a tithe apportionment. On occasion land given in lieu of tithes will be listed as glebe on an Enclosure award (Aston Cantlow). Any glebe listed on a church's  glebe terrier will not have the liability. There is even some debate if impropriated glebe should take the liability but for a PCC I believe the assumption should be that it does.

PCC Information 

I only covered what I thought was the minimum of information a PCC should have before making a reasonable decision. In some places other factors may be considered such as do the land owners know they have the liability or not.


The flow chart and is found on the top left hand corner of my chancel repair liability links webpage. 

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Last Chance Saloon

Final Chancel Repair Liability Surgery 

On the 11th April at St Michael's Church Penkridge between 6 and 9pm I shall be running a Chancel repair surgery for concerned PCC's jointly with the Diocesan Communications Officer.
I shall have my up to date presentations from my presentation to Lincoln Diocese but my focus shall be on helping those PCC's that come with their particular issues as opposed to a general historical and legal  presentation.

Find me here on the 11th April .

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Current project

Chancel Repair Liability Flow Chart

I am currently working on a Chancel repair liability flow chart to help PCC's grapple with this very difficult subject. This was a result of a request for one at a seminar I led for Lincoln diocese last week. 
This flow chart is showing signs of being quite difficult to create....

As a result of my visit to Lincoln my files about CRL on my parishes website should be updated soon.
The DAC of Lincoln Diocese are being absolutely amazingly helpful for their parishes since their staff visited the national archives and copied all the tithe maps there with the altered apportionments a remarkable group  focused on supporting their Diocese.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Iniquity of Chancel Repair Liability


Over the past 6 months there has been a change by various organisation the new heritage Lottery fund  no longer insisting that a PCC should pursue a Lay Rector even it is unreasonable and the clearer advice given by the Charity commission all have enabled PCC's to be able to make a decision that hopefully avoids causing a conflict between the PCC's Christian duty of care and it's fiducial duty to the Charity. Still these changes have not changed the inherent need for a PCC to investigate Chancel Repair Liability.

Many parishes liabilities are fairly simple from one extreme there is one or two plots of land bearing the liability and a PCC have to make a decision based on current ownership. In other cases they have to make a decision on is it worth notifying the liability on hundreds of plots of land to collect very small amounts of money from each owner.
There are  though a number of parishes where the traceable liabilities are far more complex where there are dozens of plots of land scattered over many miles each bearing either complete liability for the chancel or partial liability.

Keeping track of  the liability

Each township in a given parish will have a different set of maps done by different people in their own unique style. A tithe commissioner may have noted down the plots bearing the liability under merged land and tithe in one township but  in the neighbouring township  this was not done. If an Enclosure plan was produced which was not always the case the plan will almost certainly note the land given in lieu of tithes but I have seen an example where this was forgotten.
In the case of enclosure award liability it is often recorded on the deeds of the property. Yet in the case of the largest form of liability; tithe rentcharge apportioned under the 1936 Tithe Act and the second largest, merged land of Tithe under the 1839 Tithe Act,  it does not seem to have been recorded on title deeds. Despite this many old tithe and enclosure maps are quite good and with modern mapping services plots can be found.

The PCC's dilemma 

There may well dozens of plots of land carrying the liability some written on the deeds of the property but by far the most not done so. Some of the liability on a particular plot will be a fraction of 1% but with the neighbouring plot possibly bearing complete liability. 
Should the PCC register any liability or not and if so which plot?  Or should they aim to register all the plots which would be probably be very expensive and maybe impossible anyway? Would a PCC simply avoid plots with houses on it and register it on land with large organisations although that  would be hard to determine until late on into any investigation. A PCC may well find it simply not cost efficient to chase those with apportioned liability and people who have taken insurance with this form of liability have paid more in insurance that the actual liability.
The PCC could opt to write to the charity commissioners that to notify the liability would cause damage to the reputation of the charity but this might be true on one of the plots but  not necessarily   on all of them.

The Lay Rector's Dilemma 

As it stands at the moment a PCC can give the bill to one Lay Rector who in turn can look for other Lay Rectors to share the cost of the repair of chancel. After October the 13th the PCC can still give the bill to one Lay Rector but this Lay Rector will be unable to share the repairs with other Rectors unless the liability has been registered.
What should the Lay Rector do? Since they may well be personally and severally responsible for the chancel and yet a change in law has deprived them of the ability to share this liability.
A Lay Rector cannot register the liability against another Lay Rector since the benefit lies with the PCC and there is no advantage to a PCC to go looking for all the many possible Lay Rectors.(Please see update below)


The change of law has benefited buyers of property since they can buy with certainty that there is no chancel repair liability but it is has significantly disadvantaged lay rectors where the liability already has been registered. I am certain that this is is causing some PCC's a bit of a headache and may well cause other people headaches.

Yes the changes that have come about are helpful and thanks are due to Peter Luff MP but still it all remains slightly bonkers, confusing and iniquitous. 

If you are a member of a PCC and looking for guidance I have some helps here


Well one of my few readers of the blog suggests that it is possible for one Lay Rector to register against the land of another as they do have an interest in the land but this may well have to be tested in court..