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How Formal Anglican Pew-Renting Worked in Practice, 1800–1950

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2017

J. C. BENNETT*
Affiliation:
PO Box 19144, Amarillo, Tx 79114, USA; e-mail: appealsattorney@gmail.com

Abstract

Before the early nineteenth century pew-renting was comparatively rare in Anglican churches, and where it existed the practice was generally administered as a less serious means of fund-raising. But just before 1800 or so, methods of administering the letting of sittings became more businesslike and impersonal. The frequency of pew-renting grew exponentially with the advent of the Church Building Acts beginning in 1818, but the profits realised were usually less than is assumed. The often offensive and sometimes dishonest administration of pew-rent schemes, when later combined with waning churchgoing and a consequent surfeit of rentable sittings, marked the system's decline.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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