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Thread: Clerical pay

  1. #1
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Reading, England

    Clerical pay

    19th century economics often intrigues me. I often wonder how Anglican clergy were justified in being paid so much money. I do not think every Church of England vicar was paid much, but those in Victorian novels do. When the position of the Dean of Barchester Cathedral is worth 1200 a year; that was a lot of money. According to the Horatio Hornblower books, a ship's lieutenant earned 100 a year and a commander, 144. Thomas Hardy's fictional farm workers earned about 25 a year. Those jobs were surely much more difficult and responsible than whatever of Dean of Barchester Cathedral did. In the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, the protagonist was very scathing about the amount of money clergymen were paid for reading out blessings or speeches. Nonconformist ministers took care of their flocks for much less. I do not know about the Catholic clergy. I think they were paid less than Anglican clergy.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  2. #2
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Eugene, OR
    In "Last Chronicle of Barset" Reverend Crawley makes 70 Pounds a year, which keeps him impoverished (he has a wife and three children). He can't afford to buy decent clothes. I'm not sure where the money comes from -- I think some came from the Government, and some from endowments. The "living" from a parish appears to have varied quite a bit -- which probably would not be the case if most of the money came from the Government. I know absolutely nothing about this except what I've read in novels.

    Hornblower was contemporary with Austen; the pound was probably worth more then than 50 years later.

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