Rev. Frederick Whitfield
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 510
    In the following account on Rev. Frederick Whitfield https://www.stempublishing.com/hymns/biographies/whitfield.html

    I looked some of these terms up on Wiki but I am not familiar with the Anglican church and I want to better understand these terms I have highlighted.

    educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he took his B.A. I want to say that B.A. refers to Bachelor of Arts as it does today, is this correct?

    On being ordained, he was successively curate of Otley, successively curate, meaning he was appointed as an assistant to the parish priest?

    In 1875 he was preferred to St. Mary's, Hastings, preferred meaning he was sent/assigned to St. Mary's, Hastings?

    and vicar of St. John's Bexley, vicar has the same meaning as parish priest in the Roman Catholic church?

    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Don,

    About your last question, vicar and curate mean one thing north of the Channel, and exactly the reverse on the island off the coast of England. St. John Vianney, called the Cure of Ars was what in England would be called the Vicar of Ars. Contrary-wise, a vicaire in France is a Curate in England.

    "Succcessively" in this case means "each one following after the previous". There isn't such a thing as a successively curate.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • BA, yes: but this means "educated class" in context, to an extent it doesn't at all today.

    Successively just introduces the list of his appointments, to avoid the suggestion that he held any of them concurrently, which was not impossible.

    Preferred means went to, yes, but to a more permanent position ("preferment"): vicar now rather than curate. (In fact it was a "perpetual curacy", which isn't exactly the same as "vicar") (I'm not sure if the history is quite right. In 1871 Whitfield was appointed, indeed from Kirkby Ravensworth, to a church in Wimbledon ("Emmanuel Church") that was converting en masse from Nonconformity... He remained there until 1873 or 1875, and then was announced Jan 1875 to be preferred to St James Clapham Park -- but probably he didn't accept it, because he was made vicar of St Mary's Hastings in June. I can't find any link to Bexley Heath, although perhaps I missed something.)

    The definitions have changed somewhat over the centuries of English law, but in Whitfield's time I think one can still speak of: the Rector being the legal incumbent and holding the freehold of the church and the rights to tithes; the Vicar being the actual active clergyman, paid and even appointed by the Rector and more or less permanently installed; and the Curate being an assistant, paid by the Vicar and having no particular permanence.

    A century at most later, Rector and Vicar are synonymous in practice, and curacies are probably more a diocesan matter, I believe.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,700
    These terms all come from the system of financing the church devised in feudal times. The fundamental idea is a tithe, that is each land holding has to pay 10% of it's produce each year to the church. In England this had become divided into greater tithes on grain, assigned to the rector, and lesser tithes on most other produce, assigned to the vicar. There might well also be other endowments, such as a piece of land (glebe) which the vicar could cultivate himself, or let out (farm out). In return the church parish provided ecclesiastical services, the cure of souls, and also charitable services to ensure nobody starved or froze to death.
    In some parishes the rector enjoyed all the income, and would be referred to as the Rector and then there would be no vicar. In other parishes the rector might be the Bishop, or a corporate body, such as a college of a university, they would have oversight of the vicar (but very little power). The Vicar would posess the income for life, and could either undertake the cure of souls himself or pay a curate. And I think sometimes if he failed to do so the rector might have to provide for the curacy (and sue the vicar for the cost).
    Population growth and urbanisation made this system unworkable increasingly through the 19th century. But the process of reform has been slow and painful. Tithes were replaced, and the responsibilites of parishes taken over by civil entities (still called parishes).