Church of England parish church

Church of England parish church
The parish church of St. Lawrence at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England.
Combe Martin parish church (St. Peter ad Vincula), North Devon, England.

A parish church in the Church of England is the church which acts as the religious centre for the people within the smallest and most basic Church of England administrative region, known as a parish.


Parishes in England

In England, there are parish churches for both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. However, references to a "parish church" without mention of a denomination, will almost certainly be to those of the Church of England due to its status as the established church.

The Church of England is made up of parishes, each one forming part of a diocese. Every region of England is within both a parish and a diocese. These ecclesiastical parishes are often no longer the same as the civil parishes in local government. Larger towns and cities, even those with cathedrals, still have ecclesiastical parishes and parish churches.

Each parish is ministered to by a parish priest, usually called a vicar, rector or priest-in-charge. More rarely the parish priest is known as a "perpetual curate". In one instance only the priest is, by historical custom, officially known as an "archpriest".[1] Each parish usually has one active parish church, though rarely and historically more than one; if there is no parish church, the bishop will usually license another building and may designate it as a Parish Centre of Worship.[2] A parish may also be served by a number of chapels of ease. Unused 'redundant' parish churches may exist in parishes formed by the merging of two or more parishes, or because of the cost of upkeep. These redundant churches may survive as ruins, remain empty, or be converted for alternative uses.[3]

12th century priest's door and low window of the parish church at Guiting Power, Gloucestershire


Church of England parish churches are the oldest churches to be found in England, often built prior to the sixteenth century reformation, and so originally Roman Catholic. A number are substantially of Anglo-Saxon date and all subsequent periods of architecture are represented in the country. Most parishes have churches that date back to the Middle Ages, though often with many later additions and/or alterations. The parish churches of the City of London are particularly famous for their Baroque architecture. Each building reflects its status and there is considerable variety in the size and style of parish churches. Some very large former monastic or collegiate churches are now parish churches, not always in their complete original form. As well as their architecture, many Church of England parish churches are known for their interesting and beautiful church fittings which are often remarkable survivals.[citation needed] These may include monuments, hatchments, wall paintings, stained glass, floor tiles, carved pews, choir stalls (perhaps with misericords), lecterns and fonts, sometimes even shrines or vestments.

The Church of England parish church was always fundamental to the life of every community, especially in rural areas. However, by the late 20th and early 21st century, with the decline in the number of worshippers and the shortage of Anglican priests, there has been a trend towards team or shared ministry and many parish churches no longer have a service every Sunday.

Notable parish churches

Notable Church of England parish churches include:

See also


  • Pevsner, N.; et al. (1951-74). The Buildings of England (46 vols. ed.). London: Penguin Books. 
  • Jenkins, Simon (1999). England's Thousand Best Churches. photog. Paul Barker. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9281-6. 
  • Morris, Richard (1989). Churches in the Landscape. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. 

External links

Dioceses in the Province of Canterbury

Bath and Wells · Birmingham · Bristol · Canterbury · Chelmsford · Chichester · Coventry · Derby · Ely · Exeter · Gibraltar in Europe · Gloucester · Guildford · Hereford · Leicester · Lichfield · Lincoln · London · Norwich · Oxford · Peterborough · Portsmouth · Rochester · St. Albans · St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich · Salisbury · Southwark · Truro · Winchester · Worcester

Dioceses in the Province of York

Blackburn · Bradford · Carlisle · Chester · Durham · Liverpool · Manchester · Newcastle · Ripon and Leeds · Sheffield · Sodor and Man · Southwell and Nottingham · Wakefield · York

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”