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Scandals of patronage

18 October 2013

THE SALE of advowsons formed on of the subjects on which the Bishop of Lincoln touched at his Diocesan Conference on Wednesday. His lordship observed that he was not opposed to private patronage where the patron is directly interested in the locality of the living in his gift. But the break-up of old estates has introduced a new set of circumstances, and it now too often happens that the patron is a man who has no care for the needs of his parishioners, or that a living finds its way into the market. This state of things the Bishop justly condemned as scandalous and calling for immediate attention on the part of Churchmen.

A case in point that confirms the Bishop's contention is the recent sale of the living of St Mary's, Cheadle. The patron, Sir Delves Broughton, sold it to a Mr Roper, who transferred it to the Church Association. According to the local paper, the Express, the proceedings were conducted with such secrecy that no one knew anything of what was going on. The result is that the people of Cheadle will in time be handed over to the tender mercies of a Church Associationist rector, having in his gift the patronage of three other churches.

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