How Much Should Virginian Anglican Clergy Be Paid in 1751?

Dateline: Virginia, 1751. This Act of the House of Burgesses tells us. Primary source for teachers of American history on all levels and students.

Image: St. Peter’s church in New Kent Co., VA

Let’s get right to his primary source. The main point is highlighted for each article.

Modernized transcription begins:


I.. Be it enacted by the Lieutenant Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that every minister now preferred, or hereafter to be preferred to, or received into any parish within this dominion, shall have and receive an annual salary of sixteen thousand pounds of tobacco, and cask, with an allowance of four per cent for shrinkage, to be levied, assessed, collected and paid, in manner herein after directed.

II.. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that the vestry or every parish within this dominion shall, and they are hereby authorized and required, at some convenient time, before the first day of December, in each year, to meet and lay the parish levy, whereof public notice shall be given by the minister or reader, at each church in the parish: And every vestry is hereby authorized and required to levy and assess, upon the tithable persons in their respective parishes, as well the minister’s salary aforesaid, as all other the parish charges, and also the legal allowances for cask, where the tobacco due to any parish creditor shall be contracted for to be paid with cask, together with the allowance of six per cent for collecting the parish levy.

III.. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that where any parish is or shall become vacant by the death or removal of their minister the vestry of such parish shall have power to levy the salary aforesaid, or any part thereof for satisfying some neighbouring or other minister. or ministers, for serving in the cure [care or oversight as in curator] of such parish during the vacancy.

IV.. And for the better collecting and paying the parish levies, be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the vestry of every parish respectively shall be, and is hereby authorized and empowered to nominate and appoint such person as they shall think fit, to collect and receive their parish levy, the person so appointed giving bond, with sufficient securities, that he will duly collect, pay, and satisfy, unto the several parish creditors, all tobacco for them levied; and every such collector, for his trouble, shall have the allowance herein before appointed, and shall also have full power and authority, by virtue of this act, upon refusal of payment of the !aid levies, or any part thereof, by any person or persons chargeable therewith, to distrain the slaves, goods, and chattels, of the party refusing, and to make sale thereof, in the same manner as is by law directed for other distresses: And if the vestry of any parish shall neglect or refuse to levy the tobacco due to the minister, or other parish creditors, in such case, all and every the vestrymen of the parish neglecting or refusing, shall be liable to the action of the party grieved, his, or her executors, or administrators, for all damages which he or they shall sustain by such refusal or neglect.

V.. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that in every parish of this dominion, where a good and convenient glebe [minister’s house] is not already purchased and appropriated, a good and convenient tract of land, to contain two hundred acres at the least, shall be purchased by the vestry, and assigned and set apart for a glebe, for the use of the minister of such parish, and his successors, in all times hereafter; and where mansion, and other convenient outhouses, are not already erected, for the habitation of the minister, It is hereby declared  and enacted, That the vestry of every such parish shall have power, and they are hereby authorized and required, to cause to be erected and built on such glebe, one convenient mansion house, kitchen, barn, stable, dairy, meat house, corn house, and garden, well pailed [sic], or enclosed with mud walls, with such other conveniences as they shall think fit, and to levy the charge of the glebe land, and buildings, on the tithable persons in their respective parishes.

VI.. And to the end the buildings already erected, or hereafter to be erected upon every glebe, may be kept in good repair, It is hereby further enacted, that every parish minister within this dominion shall, during the time of his being minister of the parish, keep and maintain the mansion house, and all other the outhouses and conveniences, erected, or to be erected on his glebe, in tenantable repair, and shall so leave the same at his removal from his parish, or death, accidents by fire, or tempest, only excepted. And in case any minister shall fail so to do, such minister, his executors and administrators, shall be liable to the action of the churchwardens of the parish, for the time being, wherein the value of such repairs shall be recovered in damages, with costs of suit, and the damages so recovered, shall be applied and laid out in making necessary repairs upon the glebe: And every vestry of a vacant parish is hereby empowered and required to put all the buildings upon the glebe of their parish, into such good and sufficient repair, as that the same may be fit for the reception of the succeeding minister;

Provided nevertheless, that any vestry, who shall judge that the minister has not willfully committed any wait [weight?] on his glebe, may make such necessary repairs, at the charge of their parish as they shall think fit: And every minister, received into any parish as aforesaid, shall be entitled to all the spiritual and temporal benefits of his parish, and may maintain an action of trespass against any person or persons whatsoever, who shall disturb him in the possession and enjoyment thereof.

VII.. And whereas it is doubted, how long the right of presentation of a minister to a parish remains in the vestries in this colony: for settling that matter, be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that the sole right of presentation shall be, and remain, in the several vestries, for and during the term of twelve months next after a vacancy shall happen in their respective parishes.

VIII.. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid that one act made in the first year of the reign of his present majesty, entitled, An Act for the better support of the clergy of this dominion; and for the more regular collecting and paying the parish levies: And all and every other act and acts, clause and clauses heretofore made, for or concerning and matter or thing within the purview of this act, shall be, and are hereby repealed.

IX.. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that this act shall commence and be in force from and immediately after the tenth day of June which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty- one.

Transcription ends.

The clergy can get paid in 16,000 pounds of tobacco per year. However, drought hit Virginia. So would the clergy demand their 16,000 pounds or relent?


Church and Ministry in Virginia Colony

How Much Should Virginian Anglican Clergy Be Paid in 1696?

How Much Should Virginian Anglican Clergy Be Paid in 1751?

How Much Should Virginian Anglican Clergy Be Paid During Drought?

Will Virginia Pass Tax Relief During Drought in 1758?

Anglican Clergy of Virginia and Bishop of London Exchange Letters

Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1761-1765, ed. John Pendleton Kennedy (Richmond, Virginia: 1907) xxxix-l (39-50).

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