1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Parson

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PARSON, a technical term in English law for the clergyman of the parish. It is a corruption of persona, the parson being, as it were, the persona ecclesiae, or representative of the Church in the parish. Parson imparsonee (persona impersonata) is he that as rector is in possession of a church parochial, and of whom the church is full, whether it be preventative or impropriate (Coke upon Littleton, 300 b). The word parson is properly used only of a rector. A parson must be in holy orders; hence a lay rector could not be called a parson. There are four requisites to the appointment of a parson, viz. holy orders, presentation, institution and induction. The parson is tenant for life of the parsonage house, the glebe, the tithes and other dues, so far as they are not appropriated.

See also Rector; Vicar; Benefice; and Tithes.