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Parfons have, of late Years, found no great En. couragement to sue their Vicars : For even a Jury has been often found to favour the Vicar, rather than the Parson.
In some places where the Parson repairs the Chancel, the Vicar, by Prescription, claims a Right of a Seat for his Family, and of giving leave to Bury there, and a Fee upon the Burial ofany Corps
As to the Right of a Seat in the Chancel, it was originally inherent in every Vicar. For be. fore the Reformation the Hours of the Breviaty were to be sung or said in the Chancel, not in the Body of the Church, by the express Words of the Constitution of Archbishop Winchelsey, entituled, Fresbyteri. Lyndw. Oxf. Edit. p.237. and this was to be done, not only on Sundays and Festivals, but on other Days, by another Constitution of the said Archbishop, entituled also, Presbyteri. Lyndw. p. 69. and these Hours · were to be sung or rehearsed, not by the Vicar alone, but with Confort and Afiftance of all the Clergy men belonging to the Church, who were sworn to attend him on these Occasions, See Spelman's Councils, Vol. II. p. 707. which were the Ecclesiastical Family of the Vicar: So that 'tis evident, that all Vicars had a Right of fitting there before the Reformation, and, by consequence, must retain this Right fill, unless it do appear that they have quitted it: and if they have not, for forty Years past, used the Right, this breeds a Prescription against them in the Ecclefiaftical Courts. In many Chancels you inay see the ancient Seats or Stalls used by the Vicar and his Brethren in perforir
ing these Religious Offices, like those which re. main in the old Choirs of Cathedral and Colle. giate Churches; and from hence it is, that Can. cellus and Chorus are Words of the fame Signifi cation. This being the place where the Body of the Clergy of every Church sung, or at least re. hearsed their Breviary: And if any common Pa. sishioner may prescribe to a Pew in the Chancel, (See Chap.XVIII.) much more the Vicar.
As these Seats were placed at the lower end of the Choir or Chancel, for the daily use of the Vicar; so at the upper end ftood the High-Altar of every Church, where, as the Vicar or his Re. presentative was oblig'd to celebrate Mass every Sunday and Holyday of Obligation; so he might do it every Day, if there were Occasion, or if he pleased : So that it is clear, the Use of the
Chancel was entirely in the Vicar, whoever repaird it; and therefore no wonder if the Pavement were not to be broke up without his leave; and that thereupon he Thould acquire a Right of receiving what Fees were due on fuch Occasions. And the Reformation left the Rights of Parfon and Vicar as it found them.
'Tis therefore a very groundlefs Notion with Impropriators, that they have the fame Right in the great Chance), that a Nobleman has in a lesser : These lesser Chancels are supposed, by Lawyers, to have been erected for the sole use of those Noble Perfons; whereas ’tis clear the great Chancels were originally for the Use of Clergy and People ; but especially for the Celebration of the Eucharist, and other publick Offices of Religion, there to be performed by the Curate and his Afliftants. That the Patrons repair thefe
great Chancels, does not at all prove their fole Right to them; for they were bound originally to repair the Church as well as Chancel; and of common Right the Repairs of the Church are still in the Parfon: 'tis Custom only eases them of this Burden; which Cuftom is easily to be prov'd, in all Parishes that I know, The Ordi. nary has no Power to order Morning or Evening Prayer to be said in Noblemens Chancels; but he can order them to be said in the great Chancel. See Rubric before Morning Prayer.
Yet the Reverend Dr. Turner, Vicar of Greenwich, in the Diocese of Rochester, has, at the . Suit of the Impropriator, and by Verdict at the Allīzes, been forced to quit his Claim of giving leave to bury in the Chancel, and receiving Fees for it: and rather than be at the expence of ane other Suit, has likewife receded from his Right of a Seat in the Chancel,
Left any Vicar should, from the ill Success and Treatment, which the Doctor met with, conclude that these Rights are not Defensible, let me obferve to the Reader, that it does not ap. pear, that it was ever so much as question'd, by the Council of one side or the other, but that fuch a Claim might be maintain'd, if the Prefcription were well proved: and the Point to be determin’d, was not, whether a Vicar might prescribe to give leave to bury, and receive the accustom'd Fees for burying in the Chancel; (this seem'd to be granted on both sides) but whether the Reverend Dr. Turner had prov'd his Prescription, as Vicar of Greenwich, to give leave to bury in the Chancel there; or rather, whether the Evidence produc'd by the Impro
Priator, such as it was, did not disprove and overthrow the Vicars surmise of a Prescription. This is the true state of that Cafe, according to that Account, which at my request, the Do&tor was pleas'd to oblige me with.
CH A P. XXVI.
Of Ecclefiaftical Courts, and their Jurisdi&tion.
Before the Conquest, the Ecclefiaftical and of every Diocese fitting in Judicature, together with the Alderman or Sheriff; and as one determin'd all Matters meerly Secular, so did the other all that concern’d the Church and Religion; and if the Cause were mixt, they both perform’d their part, and gave their mutual Affi. stance: Thothe Bishops still held their Synods and Vifitations, and there exercised the more important Parts of Discipline.
But William 1. separated the two Jurisdi&i. ons, after which says Somner, Ant. of Cant. Ckap. of Eccl. Govern. "As I find, by searching 6 and turning over ancient Monuments, Ecclefiastical Jurisdiction was exercised chiefly, and for the most part, for Clergy mens Causes, espe. cially in Synods and Chapters, the Bishop uling in Person to preside over the one, as the Archdeacon over the other.
Popish CANO N-E AW.
In the middle of the 12th Century, and Reign of King Stephen, part of the Popish Canon-Law,
callid Decreta, was publish'd and put in practice - here; and when these had in fome sort been ad
mitted, within 80 Years after came over the Decretals, and in 70 Years after that more Decretals still, with the Clementines and Extravagants, all which together inake the Corpus Juris Canonici. When the Church-Law grew thus Voluminous, there was little Occasion to make any new Canons at home: the main Bufi. ness of our National and Provincial Sy nods now, was to reinforce the Execution of the Pope's Canon-Law, in fuch Particulars as the Ruling Part of the Church thought proper. The Provincials of Lyndwood conlist of such Constituti. ons drawn out of the Body of the Canon-Law, with such Variations as were proper. to adapt it to the Circumstances and Constitution of the Church of England in those Ages, by 14 fucceffive Archbishops of Canterbury, litting in their Provincial-Synods, the first whereof was Stephen Langton, who came to the See A. D. 1206; the laft Henry Chicbely, who died A.D. 1443. Lyndwood digested all these Constitutions according to the Method of the Canon-Law, whereby is thewn, what part of the Canon-Law hath any Force here, says Bp. Stilling fleet,- Eccl. Cases P: 371; and tho’these
: Confitutions were drawn up for the Ufe of the Province of Canterbury, yet they have been exprefly receiv'd by that of York in a Convocation held there; A. D. 1463.