being churched, in allusion to the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (February 2nd), the day chosen by the Roman Catholic church for the blessing of the candles for the whole year (see Candlemas). At her churching a woman was expected to make some offering to the church, such as the chrisom or alb thrown over the child at christening.
CHURCH RATE, the name of a tax formerly levied in each parish in England and Ireland for the benefit of the parish church. Out of these rates were defrayed the expenses of carrying on divine service, repairing the fabric of the church, and paying the salaries of the officials connected with it. The church rates were made by the churchwardens, together with the parishioners duly assembled after proper notice in the vestry or the church. The rates thus made were recoverable in the ecclesiastical court, or, if the arrears did not exceed £10 and no questions were raised as to the legal liability, before two justices of the peace. Any payment not strictly recognized by law made out of the rate destroyed its validity. The church rate was a personal charge imposed on the occupier of land or of a house in the parish, and, though it was compulsory, much difficulty was found in effectually applying the compulsion. This was especially so in the case of Nonconformists, who had conscientious objections to supporting the Established Church; and in Ireland, where the population was preponderatingly Roman Catholic, the grievance was specially felt and resented. The agitation against church rates led in 1868 to the passing of the Compulsory Church Rates Abolition Act. By this act church rates are no longer compulsory on the person rated, but are merely voluntary, and those who are not willing to pay them are excluded from inquiring into, objecting to, or voting in respect of their expenditure (s. 8).
CHURCHWARDEN, in England, the guardian or keeper of a church, and representative of the body of the parish. The name is derived from the original duty attached to the office,—that of the custody or guardianship of the fabric and furniture of the church,—which dates from the 14th century, when the responsibility of providing for the repairs of the nave, and of furnishing the utensils for divine service, was settled on the parishioners. Churchwardens are always lay persons, and as they may, like “artificial persons,” hold goods and chattels and bring actions for them, they are recognized in law as quasi-corporations. Resident householders of a parish are those primarily eligible as churchwardens, but non-resident householders who are habitually occupiers are also eligible, while there are a few classes of persons who are either ineligible or exempted. The appointment of churchwardens is regulated by the 89th canon, which requires that the churchwardens shall be chosen by the joint consent of the ministers and parishioners, if it may be; but if they cannot agree upon such a choice, then the minister is to choose one, and the parishioners another. If, however, there is any special custom of the place, the custom prevails, and the most common custom is for the minister to appoint one, and the parishioners another, and this has been established by English statute, in the case of new parishes, by the Church Building and New Parishes Acts 1818–1884. There are other special customs recognized in various localities, e.g. in some of the larger parishes in the north of England a churchwarden is chosen for each township of the parish; in the old ecclesiastical parishes of London both churchwardens are chosen by the parishioners; in some cases they are appointed by the select vestry, or by the lord of the manor, and in a few exceptional cases are chosen by the outgoing churchwardens.
In general, churchwardens are appointed in Easter week, usually Easter Monday or Easter Tuesday, but in new parishes the first appointment must be within twenty-one days after the consecration of the church, or two calendar months after the formation of the parish, subsequent appointments taking place at the usual time for the appointment of parish officers. Each churchwarden after election subscribes before the ordinary a declaration that he will execute his office faithfully.
The duties of churchwardens comprise the provision of necessaries for divine service, so far as the church funds or voluntary subscriptions permit, the collecting the offertory of the congregation, the keeping of order during the divine service, and the giving of offenders into custody; the assignment of seats to parishioners; the guardianship of the movable goods of the church; the preservation and repair of the church and churchyard, the fabric and the fixtures; and the presentment of offences against ecclesiastical law.
In the episcopal church of the United States churchwardens discharge much the same duties as those performed by the English officials; their duties, however, are regulated by canons of the diocese, not by canons general. In the United States, too, the usual practice is for the parishes to elect both the churchwardens.
See Prideaux’s Churchwarden’s Guide (16th ed., London, 1895); Steer’s Parish Law (6th ed., London, 1899); Blunt’s Book of Church Law (7th ed., London, 1894).
CHURCHYARD, THOMAS (c. 1520–1604), English author, was born at Shrewsbury about 1520, the son of a farmer. He received a good education, and, having speedily dissipated at court the money with which his father provided him, he entered the household of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey. There he remained for four years, learning something of the art of poetry from his patron; some of the poems he contributed later (1557) to Songes and Sonettes may well date from this early period. In 1541 he began his career as a soldier of fortune, being, he said, “pressed into the service.” He fought his way through nearly every campaign in Scotland and the Low Countries for thirty years. He served under the emperor Charles V. in Flanders in 1542, returning to England after the peace of Crépy (1544). In the Scottish campaign of 1547 he was present at the barren victory of Pinkie, and in the next year was taken prisoner at Saint Monance, but aided by his persuasive tongue he escaped to the English garrison at Lauder, where he was once more besieged, only returning to England on the conclusion of peace in 1550. A broadside entitled Davy Dycars Dreame, a short and seemingly alliterative poem in the manner of Piers Plowman, brought him into trouble with the privy council, but he was dismissed with a reprimand. This tract was the starting-point of a controversy between Churchyard and a certain Thomas Camel. The whole of the “flyting” was reprinted in 1560 as The Contention betwixte Churchyard and Camell.
In 1550 he went to Ireland to serve the lord deputy, Sir Anthony St Leger, who had been sent to pacify the country. Here Churchyard enriched himself at the expense, it is to be feared, of the unhappy Irish; but in 1552 he was in England again, trying vainly to secure a fortune by marriage with a rich widow. After this failure he departed once more to the wars to the siege of Metz (1552), and “trailed a pike” in the emperor’s army, until he joined the forces under William, Lord Grey of Wilton, with whom he says he served eight years. Grey was in charge of the fortress of Gaines, which was besieged by the duke of Guise in 1558. Churchyard arranged the terms of surrender, and was sent with his chief to Paris as a prisoner. He was not released at the peace of Cateau Cambrésis for lack of money to pay his ransom, but he was finally set free on giving his bond for the amount, an engagement which he repudiated as soon as he was safely in England. He is not to be identified with the T. C. who wrote for the Mirror for Magistrates (ed. 1559), “How the Lord Mowbray . . . was banished . . . and after died miserablie in exile,” which is the work of Thomas Chaloner, but “Shore’s Wife,” his most popular poem, appeared in the 1563 edition of the same work, and to that of 1587 he contributed the “Tragedie of Thomas Wolsey.” These are plain manly compositions in the seven-lined Chaucerian stanza. Repeated petitions to the queen for assistance produced at first fair words, and then no answer at all. He therefore returned to active service under Lord Grey, who was in command of an English army sent (1560) to help the Scottish rebels, and in 1564 he served in Ireland under Sir Henry Sidney. The religious disturbances in the Netherlands attracted him to Antwerp, where as the agent of William of Orange he allowed the insurgents to place him at their head, and was able to save much property from destruction. This action made him so hated by the mob that