Discovering the Past -Did you Know?

Did you know section

( facts about St Mary’s the Virgin Embsay with Eastby)




*Carucate is the amount of land that a gang of 8 oxen can plough in an agricultural year. Today  one carucate is equivalent to 100 modern acres.


*Charlotte Bronte’s future husband Rev A B Nicholls attended the consecration of St Mary’s church  in 1853. He was then curate to Charlotte’s father Rev Patrick Bronte at Haworth. Apparently he left Haworth about 10 days after attending the consecration, as Charlotte’s father did not approve of the relationship. ( Craven Herald, March 27th 2014)


*Perpetual Curate was a class of resident parish priest or incumbent curate within the United Church of England and Ireland. The name is found in common use mainly during the first half of the nineteenth century. The legal status of perpetual curate originated as an administrative anomaly in the 16th Century. Unlike ancient rectories and vicarages, perpetual curacies were supported by a cash stipend, usually maintained by an endowment fund, and had no ancient right to income from tithe or glebe.

In the nineteenth century, when large numbers of new churches and parochial units were needed in England and Wales politically and administratively it proved much more acceptable to elevate former chapelries to parish status, or create ecclesiastical districts with new churches within ancient parishes, than to divide existing vicarages and rectories. Under the legislation introduced to facilitate this, the parish priests of new parishes and districts, were legally perpetual curates.

There were two particularly notable effects of this early 19th century practice: compared to rectors and vicars of ancient parishes perpetual curates tended to be of uncertain social standing; and also be much less likely to be adequately paid. (see below)

Perpetual curates disappeared from view in 1868*, after which they could legally call themselves vicars, but perpetual curacies remained in law until the distinct status of perpetual curate was abolished by the Pastoral Measure 1968.

When Rev Henry Cooper was appointed in 1857 the position was valued at a mere £50 a year:

1857 Feb 19 - Ecclesiastical Intelligence  (York Herald) Perpetual Curacies.

Embsay, Yorkshire; dio Ripon; val. £50; pat. V. of Skipton; Rev H Cooper, prom.