This glossary is designed to explain or clarify some of the terms used in the text; these terms refer to the church, clergy, architecture and aspects of the monuments. This glossary is on-going and will be added to or revised at intervals. I would welcome any modifications or clarifications that visitors to the site may think useful. If any point is at all unclear, please let me know. Essentially the section of the clergy applies to the people you might meet and certainly of those you will see church monuments to in churches you will visit.

One thing I have discovered in writing this glossary: I would not like to compile a dictionary!

Please note that this glossary is being gradually compiled so is far from complete. There will be words in the explanation which themselves need explaining, rather like trying to follow computer instructions. I will add these further explanations in due course. I expect there are many typos too but these too will be rectified in due course. I find proof reading difficult but find that uploading a page and reading it on line helps considerably but this also means that uncorrected work appears for a time on line.
Advowson The right of nomination or presentation to a benefice. An advowson is held by a patron, who may a clerical or secular individual or an institution. The patron presents the candidate for the benefice to the bishop for institution and induction, although this nomination may actually be refused. An advowson is regarded as a from of property and, as such, may be disposed of in several ways and is subject to civil law.
Appropiate (verb) To take something without the owners permission. To commandeer. In fact, to steal.
In the present glossary appropriation refers to the annexation of the parish tithes and other endowments to a religions house; that institution then becomes effectively the rector, who receives the great tithes, and appoints a vicar to care for the parish, who receives the lesser tithes.
Impropriation refers to the annexation of an ecclesiastical benefice to a lay proprietor or institution. At the dissolution of the monasteries many benefices which had been appropriated to monasteries passed to lay rectors, who were obliged to appoint perpetual curates to care for the parish. The word appears to means to grant.
Benefice (Latin: beneficium) The word 'benefice' is derived from the Latin 'beneficium' - a 'benefit' - and, under the Roman Empire, was a reward granted to the individual for services rendered to the state; the word and its meaning was eventually adopted by the church. In the Church of England it is the granting of an office and rights and assets that accompany it - such as land in the parish - for rendering the services that accompany it, such as the spiritual welfare of the parishioners. There are three kinds of benefices: rectories, vicarages, and, until 1968 perpetual curacies. A benefice is also known as a 'living'.
A cleric may not be deprived of his or her benefice unless he or she is guilty of some misdemeanor under ecclesiastical law.
Collegiate Church A church served by a chapter of canons and/or prebendaries but is not a cathedral. Westminster Abbey is a collegiate church; it was actually once an abbey and then a cathedral for a short period. There were once many more.
Cathedral A church which contains cathedra or throne of the bishop of the diocese. The head church of the diocese.
Cathedrals of the Modern Foundation In the nineteenth century with  the increase of population in the industrial centres, especially in the north, many of the old dioceses had become too large to manage so twenty new cathedrals were created. Some of these were former monastic churches, others were parish churches, while three new cathedrals were built. At Coventry a fourth new cathedral replaced, yet integrated with, the bombed out parish church. These new creations are termed Cathedrals of the Modern Foundation.
Cathedral of the New Foundation At the time of the Reformation eight Cathedrals were served by monks under a prior or - in the case of Carlisle by canons regular. These were known as cathedral priories. These were reorganized on secular grounds to be served by secular canons under a dean. At the same time five former monastic churches were elevated to cathedral status. Actually the latter number was really six, as Westminster Abbey served as a cathedral for ten years. These were all termed Cathedrals of the New Foundation.
Cathedral of the Old Foundation At the time of the Reformation nine Cathedral were served by secular canons under a dean; their administration was left virtually unchanged. They are referred to as Cathedrals of the Old Foundation
The terms Old Foundation and New Foundation can be confusing and even somewhat ambiguous. Cathedrals of the Old Foundation existed before the reformation, and were already organized in the 'revised' or 'new' way; that is, they did not require refounding. Cathedrals of the New Foundation actually refers to two quite separate entities: firstly athedrals that did exist before the Reformation but were organized in a monastic fashion and were refounded as 'secular' cathedrals; and, secondly,  newly created cathedrals that did not exist (as cathedrals) as such before the Reformation, but had been monastic or parish churches which were then raised to the rank of cathedral.
Cathedral Priory In the case of a cathedral of the old foundation, the bishop of the diocese was also the titular abbot of the monastery, although the day to day running devolved on the prior, the abbot's deputy. Hence the term 'cathedral priory'.
Cenotaph From two Greek words meaning empty tomb. It refers to a monument to a person or a group of persons who are buried elsewhere or whose remains have never been discovered, as well as sometimes an initial tomb for a person who later would be reburied elsewhere. War memorials are often referred to as cenotaphs and The Cenotaph refers to the monument in Whitehall to the victims of both world wars. This is a rather wide definition and could refer to wall monuments or tablets although these are never referred to as cenotaphs.
I will use the more restricted meaning of the term in these pages. For example, General Redvers Buller VC is actually buried in the churchyard of the parish church of Credition, Devon and also has an interesting wall monument in the church itself. He is also commemorated by a wall monument of the more usual design in Exeter Cathedral as well as an equestrian statue in the city outside Exeter college. There is an actual cenotaph in the strictest sense in Winchester Cathedral; this is a tomb with tomb chest and a recumbent effigy.
Chancel Screen A carved stone, wood, or metal screen separating the chancel from the nave. If it has a rood, it is then termed a rood screen; many former Rood Sreens have survives as chancel screen, the Roods having been removed. In the middle ages the nave of the church was often used for secular purposes, being the only suitable meeting place in the village, and this acreen acted to preserve the sanctity of the chancel
Chapel of Ease A chapel which was established in a large parish and which was subordinate to the parish church. The purpose was to make it easier for parishioners if they lived a long distance from the parish church to attend services. They are normally served by clergy of the parish but do not have their priest-in-charge.
Chapels of Ease still exist but many have became parish churches in their own right.

The Chapter

The clerical body who governs a cathedral church; also a clerical body who governs a rural deanery. Here we will discuss the Cathedral Chapter.

Cathedral governance is quite complicated and the reader is unlikely to encounter is: but read on if you find such things interesting or intriguing.  The chapter is the body responsible for the cathedral's admonition and the Dean is the chairperson of the chapter. The Chapter consists of the Dean and all the Residentiary Canons, together with two to seven other persons, two thirds of whom are lay persons, together with the Chapter Clerk, the cathedral administrator.

Another body is the Council, a supervisory body to which the Chapter is accountable. Its duty is to further and support the work of the cathedral and review and advise on that work. It receives and considers the annual budget, accounts and reports as well as making changes to the constitution , subject to the consent of the bishop. The council consists of a lay chairperson appointed by the bishop),  he dean, between two and five members of the chapter (chosen by it), two members of the College of Canons (see below) appointed by it, and between two and four persons representing the cathedral community, and finally, between five and ten persons having experience of cathedral or wider interest.

The College of Canons is involved in the formal election of the Diocesan bishop and receives the cathedral's annual report and accounts. The College of Canons consists of the Dean, all residentiary, non-residentiary and lay canons, and all suffragan and fully time stipendary assistant bishops and archdeacons.


This section will mostly be in alphabetical order.
   The term clergyman, clergy or cleric comes from the Latin clericus meaning a priest; from the same word we derive the word clerk and from time to time we see on a monument words such as John Smith MA clerk, Vicar of this parish for 50 years. We now think of a clerk as someone who files, answers the telephone, keeps records etc. However the word is also used in terms such a magistrate's clerk who is legally qualified and advises the lay magistrates on points of law, among other duties. This came about as follows. In early centuries, in the main, only priests could read and write and a large house would employ a priest to read, write, keep records as well as conducting religious services. Early important civil servants, such as the chancellor, would be bishops, often combining this work (and income) with their religious duties. What was the point of learning to read and write: the wealthy employed clerks and the peasants had no need to, after all there were no printed books, newspapers or any other printed matter. The printing press with moveable type yet to be invented.

   When more people learned to read and write clerk began to mean what it day today so a priest became known as a clerk in holy orders, not a term much in use today.

   I will use the term cleric for the official term clerk in holy orders in this discussion, a unisex terms which avoids the cumbersome terms clergyman or clergywoman.


 Like the military there are 'ranks' in the clergy, called orders, but unlike the complicated military ranks (sergeant, captain, colonel etc) there are only three orders: deacon, priest, and bishop. In earlier times there were more but now, although initially it may appear that there are more, what may seem like an order is in fact a post or job. This is similar to the military which have posts: for example Warrant Officer is a rank, but Sergeant-Major is an appointment held by warrant officer. In the church there are several appointments, canons, archdeacons, deans, vicars etc.

  To add confusion, a bishop is both an appointment and an order. In contrast an archbishop is an appointment: his or her order is a bishop. Titles present a complicated and fascinating study in themselves but I will deal only with the church here; the military is a study in itself for browsing through Google.
   Deacon - (Greek: servant) A cleric is first ordained deacon by the bishop. A deacon is licensed  to preach, undertake pastoral duties, baptize and officiate a funerals but cannot celebrate Holy Communion or solemnize a marriage, among other items. A cleric normally remains a deacon for a year and is then ordained priest
   Priest - (Latin: elder) A priest can carry out all the duties of a deacon but in addition may, in addition, celebrate the Eucharist, solemnize a marriage, give absolution and give a blessing. A person cannot be ordained priest before the age of 24, nor be concentrated bishop before the age of 30.
  Bishop - (Greek - overseer) A bishop can carry out all the duties of a priest but, in addition, can confirm and ordain.

Abbot (Latin: father) (priest)
The head of a major religious house of the Benedictine Order or certain orders of Canons Regular. Normally elected for life by the monks. The abbot (or abbess, if a community of nuns) is entrusted with the government of the abbey and independent of the authority of the bishop
Archbishop (bishop) An archbishop is a bishop who is in charge of a province. In England there are two archbishops: Canterbury and York. Each province contains a number of dioceses.
Title: The Most Reverend and Right Honorable.  Form of Address: Your Grace.
Archdeacon (priest) A cleric who has administrated authority over an Archdeaconry (q.v.) An archdeacon has disciplinary supervision over the clergy and for the proper administratioof church property as well as other responsibilities. A cleric must be in Holy Orders to become an archdeacon
Title: The Venerable __ . n Form of address: Archdeacon __
Archpriest (priest) The title archpriest was, in the middle ages, the priest of the principal parish among several local parishes. The archpriest had a supervisory role - but not jurisdiction - over these other parishes. The title fell into disuse but it was confirmed as late as 1913 in Council by King George V. The role was similar to that of a modern day Rural or Area Dean (q.v.) There are two archpriests in England: at Haccombe and Bere Ferris, both in Devon. An archpriest,  in theory, in not subject to the authority of the local bishop, but directly to that of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He or she bears no special title nor form of address and the title archpriest remains with the parish and does not stay with the priest should he or she transfer to another parish.
Assistant Bishop (bishop) See below, Bishop
Bishop (bishop) A Diocesan Bishop (Greek: overseer) in charge of a Diocese or See and is usually known as The Bishop of (name of diocese). A Suffragan Bishop (Latin: support by vote) is usually a bishop who assists the diocesan bishop on the latter's behalf and with his authority. Also known as an Area Bishop and is usually known as The Bishop of (major town in the diocese). An Assistant Bishop assists the diocesan bishop in a similar fashion but unlike a suffragan bishop has no security of tenure.
Title: The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop  Form of Address: My Lord or Bishop
Canon (priest) One of the permanent salaried staff of a cathedral; a member the chapter of a cathedral. More properly a Residentiary Canon. A Honorary Canon is a member of the cathedral chapter but does not hold a salaried post. A honorary canon may be a cleric or lay person; they are given the post  as a reward fpr oustanding service to the church. Both residential  and honorary canons can vote for or reject the Crown's nomination of a bishop to a vacant see.
A minor canon is a cleric who is usually chosen for their ability to sing in the cathedral services but have no part in cathedral government. Only cathedrals of the new foundation - with the exception of St Paul's, London - have minor canons.
Title: The Reverend Canon __ . Form of address: Canon __
Canon Regular Member of a community of canons living under a rule, usually that of St Augustine, as would a monk but a canon regular is necessarily ordained.
Chancellor (priest) In England the cathedral chancellor is one of the four principal officers of the nine cathedrals of the old foundation. The chancellor is responsible to the Dean and Chapter for the cathedral library and associated with the government of the cathedral school and other educational functions.

The Cathedral Chancellor is not to be confused with the Diocesan Chancellor.
Chaplain (priest) Originally a cleric who was in charge of a chapel. It now refers to a cleric who performs specialized duties outside the parish; for example to a hospital, to the Forces, to a school, to a prison, to a university and other bodies.
Curate (one having charge) (deacon or priest) Originally a cleric who had the cure (care) of souls in the parish; it now means a cleric who assists the parish priest in the performance of his or her duties.
Dean (Latin: Ten)
The word was originally applied to an official supervising ten novices. Here we will refer to a Cathedral Dean; he or she is the head of the cathedral chapter and as such has the duty of governing and regulating the life and work of the cathedral on the chapter's behalf. In the cathedral hierarchy the Dean ranks after the Bishop of the Diocese. The Dean's powers and duties depend on the individual cathedral's constitution and statutes, but the Dean has important functions with regard to various aspects of the day to day life of the cathedral; he or she also considerable independence.
You may remember the BBC comedy All Gas and Gaiters which showed disputes between the Bishop (played by William Mervyn) and the Dean (played by John Barron). However such disputes, believe it or not, occur in real life too and even make it to the media.

Title: The Very Reverend__. Form of address: Dean

During the 19th and 20th centuries a number of new cathedrals were built and parish churches elevated to cathedral status. In these the dean - who in these cases also acted as parish priest - was called the provost. The use of this term is no longer used..
Examining Chaplain A cleric appointed by the Bishop to assist, with the Archdeacon, the fitness of those presenting themselves for ordination. A increasing of bishops have some examining chaplains who are not ordained.
Incumbent (Greek: to obtain possession of)  The holder of a benefice who may be a rector, vicar or, until 1968, a perpetual curate. See also tithes.
Non-Stipendary Minister (Latin : stipendium an offering; and prendere to pay) (Priest or Deacon) A cleric, licensed by the bishop, who assists in a parish but is not an incumbent.  He or she may receive a salary in another sphere or a pension from another employment. Such a minister receives no stipend from the church.
Nove (Latin: Novus - New A person received into a religious order on probation and for training  before taking vows
Padre  (Spanish, Portugese, Italian from Latin: pater (father) Informal title of a priest in the Armed Services
Parish Priest A cleric who has charge of a parish and the 'cure' of souls in their parish. Here 'cure' is derived from Latin cura meaning care. It does not mean, as it may appear to mean, that the priest cures the soul as the physician cures the body! The term curate is also derived from this word but its meaning has changed over the years.
Note: The word 'cure' used in this sense may sound curious! It is similarly used for a curator of a museum (or other collections) and is a different job to that of the caretaker.
Parson (Latin: person) Originally a rector (q.v.) but now any member of the clergy. This term seems to be obsolescent.
Perpetual Curate (priest) At the dissolution of the monasteries many of monastic benefices were  impropriated  by the Crown and then acquired by lay rectors; they were obliged to appoint a perpetual curate, a cleric who would perform the spiritual duties of the benefice under license of the bishop but without institution or induction.
Plurality The holding of two or more benefices by a single incumbent.
Postulant (Latin: postulare - to demand A person who is undergoing a preliminary period of testing before becoming a novice. (V.S.)
Prebendary (Latin: praebere - to supply)   The holder of a benefice that belongs to a Cathedral of the Old Foundation, although before reforms of the 1830's canons residentiary of Cathedrals of the New Foundation and of Collegiate Churches were called prebendaries. In Cathedrals of the Old Foundation portions of the Psalter are assigned to each prebendary for daily recitation.
In the early middle ages the endowments belonging to the cathedral were divided into separate portion, each to support one member of the chapter. These portions became known as prebends as they supplied the holder with a living. A prebend consisted of revenue belonging to one manor belonging to the cathedral estates, the name of the manor being added to the prebend.
In the 19th century with transference of  attached incomes  to the Ecclesiastical Commision prebend have become honorary appointments
Title: The Rev Prebendary. Form of address: Prebendary
Precentor (Latin: prae - before + canere - sing)  
Priest-in-Charge is a priest (in the Church of England) who is in charge of a parish but who is not an incumbent. As such a priest-in-charge does not have the rights or responsibilities of a rector or vicar: he or she holds and license rather then a freehold and is not appointed by an advowson. Thus the benefice and patron's rights is suspended by the bishop, after consultation with the patron, rural dean, and parochial church council. This is for a maximum of five years but may be the renewed for another five. This occurs in situations like parish reorganization when the bishop requires full control.
Prior Either the second in command to an abbot, or the head of a religious house which was dependent on a larger, more important abbey. Also the head of an abbey which was also a cathedral; in this case the bishop is formally the abbot.
Rector (Latin: ruler) (priest) An incumbent who receives the great or rectorial tithes of his parish. He was responsible for chancel and rectory as well as prayer books and other items, while the parishioners were responsible for the nave of the church.

There is now no distinction between the terms 'rector' and 'vicar' since the abolition of tithes; thus the terms are merely historical ones today and have no real significance.

However, since the introduction of team ministries, where a team of clergy have the care of what used to be a number of separate parish, the Team Rector is the head of the team and the Team Vicar the deputy head; in a large team there may be more than one team vicar.  Those with etymological sensitivities may well object to this apparent revival of these terms!

See also: appropriation, lay rector
Surrogate (Latin: Sub - below + rogare - to ask(priest) A member of the clergy (or other person) appointed by the bishop ot his chancellor to grant licenses for marriage without banns.
Rural Dean (priest) A rural dean (or in towns increasingly) area dean is a member of the clergy appointed by the bishop to act as a channel of communicated with the incumbents, other clergy  and people of a group of parishes known as a Rural (or Area) Deanery. The Rural Deanery is this a sub-unit of an Archdeaconry but the Rural Dean has no jurisdiction of the clergy of his or own rural deanery. There is no special title with this appointment.
Note: In a few parishes in the south-east of England, the incumbent is termed  Dean, even if he or she is not a Rural Dean; he or she is also addressed as Dean. This is similar to an archpriest in that the title remains with the parish and does not move with the priest should the latter move; however an archpriest is adressed as vicar.
With thanks to Father John Neal for providing this latter information. He is an Anglican priest and Chaplain of a Chaplaincy in France, as their are no Anglican Parishes as such in France. These units are subject to the Bishop of London and Gibraltar, who is, in turn, subject to the Archbishop of Canterbury. France is a strictly secular country but the main religion is Roman Catholic; there are also French Protestant churches but these are curiously called Temples.
Succentor (Latin: Sub - Below + Canere - Sing) The Precentor's deputy in a cathedral
Vicar (Latin: deputy) (priest) An incumbent who receives the lesser or vicarial tithes
Vicar-General A bishop's deputy representing the bishop in exercise of  jurisdiction
Vicar Choral The member of the clergy (or sometimes a layperson) who assists in the singing in a cathedral of the Old Foundation. Also Priest Vicar, so called because originally a vicar choral was a canon's deputy in the performance of divine services
Posts - Usually Held by Laity
Chancellor (Latin: lawcourt usher) The law officer of a diocesan bishop and usually their Official Principal, that is, a judge in an ecclesiastical court. There is no direct appeal to the chancellor's g, either to the bishop or to the vicar-general (that is, the bishop's deputy who representatives the bishop in the exercise of their jurisdiction). The chancellor presides over the Consistory Court, in which the bishop has the right to sit with the chancellor. Appeals from the consistory court go first to the Provincial Court and then to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The chancellor's other functions are to hear applications for and grant faculties, to fix tables of fees for new parishes, to hear (either alone or with others) complaints against clergy for immorality, and to issue, through surrogates, marriage licenses.

Not to be confused with the chancellor of a cathedral.
Churchwarden There are normally two churchwardens elected annually at a meeting of parishioners with consent of the incumbent and people. The practice of having a 'vicar's warden' and a 'people's warden' is now discouraged - unless the incumbent and people fail to agree, in which case the former is elected by the incumbent and the latter by the people.

Churchwardens must be baptized and communicants, be at lease twenty-one and have their name in the Electoral Roll -  or - on the register or of the local government electors by reason of residence. Those entitled to vote at a meeting at which the churchwardens are elected (called a vestry because it was, rather unsurprisingly, held in the vestry of the church) must have their name on the Electoral Roll of the relevant parish, or, on the local government register of electors by reason of residence.

After being elected, churchwardens, who are the bishop's officers in the parish, do not assume office until admitted by the bishop, or, by delegation, the archdeacon; this normally occurs at the archdeacon's annual visitation.
Parish Clerk Usually a layperson who assists the priest by making the Responses of the congregation in services and sometimes reads the Epistle. He or she also helps in the care of the church and is appointed by the incumbent and the parochial church council
Reader A layperson who is licensed by the bishop to conduct certain religious services: Morning and Evening Prayer, except for the Absolution, recite the Litany, read the banns of marriage, preach, teach, assist the incumbent in pastoral work, conduct a funeral (with the agreement of the incumbent and the deceased's family), and administer Holy Communion (by extension).A reader is formally admitted to their office by the bishop.
Sexton (A corruption of Sacristan) The officer with responsibility of care of the church, the vessels, the vestments, and the churchyard. He or she may also carry out the duties of the parish clerk and grave digger.
Verger (Latin: virga - rod) The officer who carries the virge or verge (the wand) before a dignitary but the term is now used for the official who takes cares of the church interior. The duties are sometimes combined with those of sexton. The verger is appointed by the incumbent and parochial church council.


Daughter Church A church in a parish which is not the parish church. It may be governed by the actual incumbent although this responsibility may be delegated to a priest-in-charge.
Diocese An administrative ecclesiastical unit presided over by a bishop. It is subdivided into Archdeaconries.
A gablette is a small ornamental gable. In church monuments a gablette surrounds the head of a monumental effigy, although this structure is more often referred to as a canopy. However a canopy is a structure, either free standing or set into the wall, over the whole effigy. In other words a gablette is a horizontal structure which is recumbent with the head of the effigy whereas a canopy is vertical over the whole structure. The flat roof occasionally seen over effigies is referred to as a tester. There is much ambiguity and confusion in the literature concerning these terms, so without an illustration it is impossible to clearly understand what is being referred to.

A Gablet A Canopy A Tester

Glebe (Latin: soil) The parish priest was originally dependant only on tithes for his income but also on his glebe, which was parish land set aside for his use also. Glebe land throughtout the parishes varied greatly in size, quality, and location. In some parishes the glebe was large enough for the priest to actually sub-let part of the land and thus receive additional income.
Group Ministry Is formed when a group of adjacent parishes form an informal grouping while each retaining their independance. This alleviates clergy staffing problems.
Incumbent (Greek: to obtain possession of)  The holder of a benefice who may be a rector, vicar or, until 1968) a perpetual curate. See also tithes.
Induction Following institution of a new incumbent to a parish, the next stage is inducted by the archdeacon who conveys to him the church key and asks him to toll the bell. By these acts the new incumbent now has legal right to the benefice.
Institution The admission by the bishop of a new incumbent to the parish with the accompanying rights and responsibilities. Institution is normally followed by induction.
Minor Orders Orders in the Roman Catholic Church below the major orders of deacon, priest and bishop. Before 1927, these were: Acolytes, Door-Keepers, Exorcists, and Lectors.
An exorcist's duties included exorcism. The power to perform exorcism was not confined to exorcists alone.
An acolyte assists the priest, specifically at the altar
A lector is a reader.
A door-keeper has responsibilities similar to those of a verger. However a verger need not be ordained.
Minster I should have liked to have written 'pass' in this column because, as architectural historian Alec Clifton-Taylor says in one of his excellent 'English Towns' television programmes: 'No one really knows'. It is often said that it refers to a church which was formerly a monastery but this cannot be correct as York Minster (a cathedral) was never a monastic cathedral as was, for example, Canterbury Cathedral. However the word is derived from the same Latin source (monasterium) as is monastery.
It is said that it to have been applied to any monastic church (which does not appear to be true) as well as to any large or important churches; this latter would then correctly include not only York but Beverley, Southwell (now a cathedral), and Wimborne among them. This definition would thus seem to include any church at all, as Beverley is certainly very big while Wimborne certainly is not.
It seems like Mr Clifton-Taylor was right!
It is also said to have been applied to a church which in Saxon times, before the proliferation of parish churches, had a number or priests - that is, secular canons - who served the surrounding area, which would have been much larger than a parish and could not have been served by one man alone. This would seem to be the best answer to this curiosity.
Some places names, e.g. Mister Lovell, are said to have contained a house of secular canons. More research is needed to confirm this.
The above changes of meaning, if you think about it, is not unique to minster but to many words  change their meaning, widen their meaning, restrict their meaning, or even reverse it over the years.
To confuse the matter even further, in the 20th and 21st century some parish churches which are consdered important or significant in some way have been given the honorific title of minster: one example was Leeds parish church but there are several others. Bradford has a cathedral so why not Leeds a minster! This is similar to certain towns being given the honorific title of city. The will certainly confuse generations to come!
Parsonage This term refers to the parson's house, similar to rectory and vicarage. However it also means
Patron The right  (advowson) to nominate a priest to a benefice is held by the bishop or other person or body, known as the patron. However this bishop may refuse this nomination by the patron.
This situation developed thus: with the growth of parishes (and the decline of the minster system, where a group of itinerant priests served a large surrounding area) lords of the manor needed to establish parish churches on their land. Having occurred expenses by building the church and the accompanying buildings) and loss of income by donating the glebe, the lord of the manor wished to have a choice in selecting the cleric who would become the incumbent. The bishop also expected to have some input into this choice.
A patron now will consult with parish representatives about the choice of candidate.
Peculiar A church, parish or parishes which is exempt from the rule of the bishop in the diocese in which it is situated. The Temple Church and Westminster Abbey are examples of peculiars, being exempt from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. There were formerly a number of peculars such as Wimborne Minster in Dorset and Masham in Yorkshire. The latter was designated a peculiar because it was said to be too far away for the Archbishop of York to visit. Hence Theakson's Brewery in Masham produce an excellent beer called Old Peculiar. Also spelt peculier. From Latin: peculiaris -  relating to private property.

Note: if visiting Yorkshire - and especially around Masham and the surrounding area - do not pronounce Masham as Mash_am:it is Mas_am.
Pulpitum From Latin: platform. This is a massive stone screen with a central doorway separating the nave from the choir, usually a single (but occasionally) wall between piers of the crossing. Its actual position varied but it was always east of the Rood Screen.
Province A major ecclesiastical administrate unit, comprising a number of dioceses. In England there are two provinces, namely Canterbury and York, and the archbishops of Canterbury and York exercise jurisdiction over their respective provinces. The church in Wales was disestablished and separated from the jurisdiction of Canterbury in 1920, becoming the Welsh province of the Anglican communion. The Archbishop of Wales is appointed by the Welsh bishops and holds his post in addition to being bishop of his diocese; there is thus no actual seat of the Archbishop of Wales like Canterbury. The Church of Scotland is organized on Presbyterian lines  but there is also an Episcopal Church of Scotland which makes up the province of the Anglican Communion of Scotland. The bishops are elected by the clergy and the bishops then elect a primus - first among equals - who presides over meetings. The primus does not have jurisdiction of the province, that is there is no Archbishop of Scotland. There is also the Church of England in Scotland but let's not get too complicated!


It is unlikely that you will come across many monuments or references about this subject. Most of the monuments - but by no means all -  are in Anglican churches and monuments remain from before the Reformation. Further information may be found on the internet.
Friar (Latin Frater : Brother) A friar is a member of a mendicant order. Like monks, friars (v.i.) followed a specific rule including that of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but unlike monks, the friars lived in urban areas for the purpose of preaching  evangelization, and ministry, especially to the poor. Monks owned property not individuslly but in common - land, buildings etc but, at least initially, friars depended on survival on the goodwill of those they preached to. Friars travelled to fulfill their calling but eventually did built churches to act as a centre for this purpose. In contrast monks remained cloistered in abbeys and priories an - in common - became very rich from bequests, work such as sheep farming: witness the fine churches they built, most now in ruin, such as Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.

There were many orders of friars following variations of the principal rules and a list of the four main ones follows. Some of the orders have become extinct but many survive today.
Franciscans (Grey Friars) established 1209 by St Francis of Assisi.
Carmelites (White Friars) established in 1155 but did not become mendicant until 1245
Dominicans (Black Friars) established in 1216
Augustinians (Austin Friars) established by St Augustine of Hippo in 1244

A friar may be ordained priest but not necessarily.

Something About Friars

I'm sure everyone knows about Friar Tuck, the fat, jolly friar and companion of Robin Hood, who lived in the time of  King Richard the Lion Heart. There's some wrong here: the various orders of friars were established in the 13th century while King Richard was killed in 1199. Never mind, it's a good story.

There are plenty of places with the name Friars in them: Black Friars in London, famous for its bridge and railway station, is just one. Presumably these places once had a friary there. Billy Bunter's school was called Grey Friars, where there must have been a friary at one time. Sorry that's fiction too.

Richard III was originally buried at Grey Friars' Church Leicester.

And true: Black Friars were aptly named: they were in charge on the Inquisition!

Monk (Greek Monakhos: Solitary) A man who has renounced worldly persuits to devote his life to spiritual endeavours. Monasticism exists not only in Christianity but also in Hinduism, Sikism, Jainism, and Buddism; the latter are probably the most familiar to us; monasticism does not occur officially or is forbidden in Islam or Judism. Here we will outline only Christian monasticism.
Monasticism began in the East - that is where Christianity began, after all - and took basically two forms: hermits, men who lived by themselves and men who formed communities living together in abbeys and priories. Their aim was to live as Christ had done. an impossible task but they attempted to do so. They followed a rule - a rather a book of rules - the main rules being poverty, chastity and obedience (to the abbot or prior). As the monasteries became more wordly, new abbeys were founded under a different - or more correctly modified - rule.
Monasticism spread to the the west and Benedict of Nusia introduced his Benedictine rule for his monastry at Monte Cassino, Italy, a rule that was adapted by many abbeys. The monks were called Black Monks because of the colour of their religious habits.


Effigy of a Nun        


Rood Screen In a medieval church, a decorated wooden or stone screen which separated the chancel from the nave. It supported the rood loft on which was the Great Rood. Most were pierced by tracery and had a central gated opening which allowed access to the chancel. Access to the loft was via a stone stairway set into the adjacent wall. The Great Rood (Old English: Cross) was a figure of Christ Crucified flanked by St Mary and St John. The Great Roods were removed at the times of the Reformation although several Rood Screens and a few Rood Lofts survive. Occasionally evidence of the stairs to the Rood Loft may be found when all the structures they served are long gone. In the Gothick Revival several churches were built with Rood Screens and Lofts. See also: pulpitum
Tithes A tithe was a tax - a tenth - on the annual produce of land or labour levied in a parish to support its priest, maintain its church, and provide poor relief. Payment was made compulsory as early as the 10th century. Hence the delineation of parish boundaries. The produce raised was stored in tithe barns. From the 19th century, tithes - which were often a cause of bitter dispute - were progressively modified and restricted by law and in  1925 abolished completely.
If the rector were not the incumbent, then the tithes were apportioned between the rector - or appropriated by an institution, such as a monastery or collegiate church, and a vicar, who was a deputy appointed by the rector to take care of the parish. This division of tithes was known as the rectorial tithes - or Great Tithes - a vicarial tithes - of lesser tithes. The latter were raised from labour and minor produce and, consequently, the most difficult to collect. Often the income received by the vicar, were insufficient for his needs and he would have to supplement his income by growing crops (in addition to the produce of his glebe) and even keeping pigeons.
See also: vicar, rector, appropriation,
The Church as a Building
Inside and Out: Architecture, Fixtures & Fittings
   It goes without saying, of course, that no two churches are the same: they may be very similar, especially the smallest ones, but it is highly unlikely you will find two the same.

 The reasons too are fairly obvious. Geography, of course, as churches vary not just from country to country but, to a lesser degree, in different areas of the same country. History too as churches will vary as building techniques develop: compare a simple Anglo-Saxon church to a 'Perpendicular' one. And of course, the size of the parish: one with few parishioners will have a church which is little more than a rectangle, with steps or screen to separate the nave and chancel. If the number of parishioners grows the simple church will grow - if it is not replaced completely - by having bits added on, such as aisles, transepts, a lady chapel, vestries and administrate rooms. The add ons are often of the current styles so the church will show to us that it was build at different times.

  The plan here is of Hereford Cathedral which was a monastic cathedral. Now a Cathedral of the New Foundation. It was built to be big, being the mother church of the diocese.

  While we are here, what does the prefix arch ... actually mean? Architect - Greek: Arki + Tekton - Chief  Builder. Archbishop - Greek: Arki + Episkopos - Chief Overseer. Archaeology - Greek: Archaios + Logos - Ancient Science. Arch - Latin: Arcus - Arch or Arc (geometry)
Aisle (see plan and cross section) Latin: ala - Wing (of a bird) The part of a church on either side of the nave, divided by a row of pillars. It is not the gangway running down the centre of the nave, although this sense is often used.. The transepts may also have aisle(s) and there may be only one aisle alongside the nave.
Ambulatory (see plan) Latin: Ambulatorius - place for walking A walking space around the chancel linking the two chancel aisles


Tierceron Vault Lierne Vault Fan Vault
This form has additional ribs springing from a wall shaft or pier at the corner of each bay to the ridge along the apices of each vault. These extra ribs are not structurally essential and as they are given the same thickness as the principal diagonal ribs the division of the vault into quadrangle bays disappears (Latin: Tierce - Third) 13th to early 14th centuries    

Chapel Latin: capella - small cloak or cape The Frankish Kings preserved the cloak of St Martin of Tours (d. 397) as a battle which was carried before them in battle. This cloak was kept in a sanctuary under the care of capellani (chaplains). The word eventually became used for any sanctuary containing relicts, then any sanctuary or holy place, and then any building which is used for worship which is not a church.
Chapter House (see plan)
Latin: capitulum - chapter of a book etc
A building attached to a cathedral of monastry in which meetings of the chapter are held. 'Chapter' is derived from the custom of monks gsthering together to read a passage from the Bible or other sacred book.
Choir (see plan)
Latin: Chorus - a company of dancers
The part of the church occupied by those who sing the service, usually at the east end, often separated from the nave by a screen. Also quire. In a parish church often called the chancel.
Clerestory (see cross section) The upper part of the nave, choir and transepts of a large church, lying above the triforium, if there is one, or above the arches of the nave, if there is not. It contains a series of windows above the roofs of the aisles, giving light to the central part of the building.
Crossing (see plan and cross section))
Latin: Crux - Cross
The part of a cruciform church where the where the transepts cross the nave. If the church has a central tower it is usually above the crossing
Nave (see plan and cross section)
Latin: Navis - Ship
The body of a church, excluding chancel, choir, and aisles, which is assigned to the laity
Screen A partition of wood, stone, or more rarely metal,dividing one part of a church from another. Especially nave from choir.
Spire A tapering structure of stone, wood or other material of a conical or pyramidal shape rising above a church tower.
Steeple A tower plus spire above
Tower A tall, usually square structure rising above and part of a church. Many churches have one or more towers at the west end and large churches a tower above the crossing. Exeter cathedral has two towers, one above the end of each transept.
Transept (see plan) The 'short' arms of a cruciform church set at right angles to the nave and choir, usually set north-south
Triforium A narrow, interior gallery of some churches opening into the nave from above the side aisles; the outer walls may or may not be glazed. The triforium may occur at the level of the clerestory windows or at a separate level below. From Latin: Tres fortis: three doors, being originally a building with three entrances.
The triforium has no liturgical purpose ; it was used during the construction of the church by the builders as a convenient passage way during construction