1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Glebe

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GLEBE (Lat. glaeba, gleba, clod or lump of earth, hence soil, land), in ecclesiastical law the land devoted to the maintenance of the incumbent of a church. Burn (Ecclesiastical Law, s.v. “Glebe Lands”) says: “Every church of common right is entitled to house and glebe, and the assigning of them at the first was of such absolute necessity that without them no church could be regularly consecrated. The house and glebe are both comprehended under the word manse, of which the rule of the canon law is, sancitum est ut unicuique ecclesiae unus mansus integer absque ullo servitio tribuatur.” In the technical language of English law the fee-simple of the glebe is said to be in abeyance, that is, it exists “only in the remembrance, expectation and intendment of the law.” But the freehold is in the parson, although at common law he could alienate the same only with proper consent,—that is, in his case, with the consent of the bishop. The disabling statutes of Elizabeth (Alienation by Bishops, 1559, and Dilapidations, &c., 1571) made void all alienations by ecclesiastical persons, except leases for the term of twenty-one years or three lives. By an act of 1842 (5 & 6 Vict. c. 27, Ecclesiastical Leases) glebe land and buildings may be let on lease for farming purposes for fourteen years or on an improving lease for twenty years. But the parsonage house and ten acres of glebe situate most conveniently for occupation must not be leased. By the Ecclesiastical Leasing Acts of 1842 (5 & 6 Vict. c. 108) and 1858 glebe lands may be let on building leases for not more than ninety-nine years and on mining leases for not more than sixty years. The Tithe Act 1842, the Glebe Lands Act 1888 and various other acts make provision for the sale, purchase, exchange and gift of glebe lands. In Scots ecclesiastical law, the manse now signifies the minister’s dwelling-house, the glebe being the land to which he is entitled in addition to his stipend. All parish ministers appear to be entitled to a glebe, except the ministers in royal burghs proper, who cannot claim a glebe unless there be a landowner’s district annexed; and even in that case, when there are two ministers, it is only the first who has a claim.

See Phillimore, Ecclesiastical Law (2nd ed.); Cripps, Law of Church and Clergy; Leach, Tithe Acts (6th ed.); Dart, Vendors and Purchasers (7th ed.).