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VI

PARISH INSTITUTIONS

OF

MARYLAND

"The Parish, as we see it in Western Christendom, owes its origin to several causes, and is the final result of several earlier forms. The apoikia of early days was neither a parsih nor a diocese, but the community of Christians living within a city or a district, regarded in relation to the non-Christian population which surrounded it. Every such community seems to have had a complete organization, and there is no trace of the dependence of any one community upon any other."-Hatch, Organization of the Early Christian Churches (Bampton Lectures, 1880.)

"The limits of parishes were probably, in almost all cases, fixed by the previously existing organization. Where the Roman organization prevailed, the Parish was the pagus, vicus, or castellum, with its surrounding territorium. Where, as in England, the Roman organization had been almost completely swept away, the Parish was identical with the township or the manor.... Between Parishes, as between townships, were frequently tracts of more or less unsettled or common land, on which chapels might be erected without trenching on any parochial right."-Hatch,“ Parish" in Smith's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities.

"As the kingdom and shire were the natural sphere of the bishop, so was the township of the single priest; and the parish was but the township or cluster of townships to which that priest ministered. The parish and the township, have existed for more

...

than a thousand years side by side, identical in area and administered by the same persons, and yet separate in character and machinery. The parish, then, is the ancient vicus or tun-scipe regarded ecclesiastically."-Stubbs, Constitutional History of England.

"The earliest records which we have of the proceedings of Parliament, find Parishes treated as the known and established integral subdivisions of the hundred. . . . It is decisive of the point as to the identity of the Parish, as an Institution, with the Tything of freemen and their tythingman, that the existence of a separate constable is an unquestionable criterion of the separate recognition of a Parish."-Toulmin Smith, The Parish.

IN

HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE

HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor

History is past Politics and Politics present History. - Freeman

VI

PARISH INSTITUTIONS

OF

MARYLAND

With Illustrations from Parish Records

BY EDWARD INGLE, A. B.

BALTIMORE

PUBLISHED BY THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

APRIL, 1883.

OXFORD

JOHN MURPHY & CO., PRINTERS,

BALTIMORE.

PARISH INSTITUTIONS

OF

MARYLAND.*

Before the last years of the seventeenth century but few Church of England ministers had been attracted to the colony planted by Lord Baltimore on the shores of the Chesapeake. Those who had ventured to take up an abode there were supported mainly by voluntary contributions, with now and then a legacy, or by the produce of their farms. Frequent complaints were made to England of the low state of morality and religion in the Province. Movements were started with a view of checking these evils, and the result was the passing in 1692 of an "Act for the Service of Almighty God and the Establishment of the Protestant Religion" in Maryland.† Agreeably to such provisions the justices and freeholders of

* In the library left by the late Bishop Whittingham to the Diocese of Maryland, there is a rare collection of materials illustrating the social, civil and religious history of the Province and State of Maryland. Copies of manuscripts found in English libraries, original parish records, parish histories, a remarkable collection of Maryland laws and documents, the diaries, letters and sermons of early Maryland clergy-these, if properly handled, could be made fresh and interesting sources of knowledge upon many points of our history. From such materials in part has been drawn the following paper upon the Parish Institutions of Maryland. Bacon's "Laws" have been the basis; but inasmuch as one must not believe that measures succeeded, simply because enactments favoring them are to be found in the statute books, every point made in this sketch has been verified, it is believed, by concrete examples.

Bacon, 1692, Chap. II.

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