Governors and Treasurers of Queen Anne's Bounty, 1704-1948
Office of First Fruits and Tenths, 1540-1838
Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:
in 1883 and 1922 Governors and Treasurers of Queen Anne's Bounty
Administrative / biographical background:
From the thirteenth century onwards, first fruits (also known as primitiae or annates) were the first-year profits taken by the Pope in the year after a benefice was newly-filled. Tenths were an ecclesiastical tax originally destined to fund expeditions to recover the Holy Land. At the reformation, these annates and tenths were granted to the King, and were collected by the First Fruits and Tenths office in the Exchequer. Initially, collection of tenths was undertaken by the bishops of the several dioceses, who paid the moneys direct to the Exchequer of Receipt, leaving the Office responsible only for the collection of arrears; from 1717, the collection of tenths as a whole became part of the Office's duties.
In 1704, the Queen Anne's Bounty Act applied the income received as first fruits and tenths from larger benefices to make up the shortfall in funding smaller benefices. On 3 November 1704 following the statute, she granted a charter appointing the corporation known as 'The Governors of the Bounty of Queen Anne for the augmentation of the maintenance of the poor clergy' which was given all the revenue of the first fruits and tenths to form a perpetual fund for the augmentation of clergy livings under £50 a year. This fund, known as 'Queen Anne's Bounty' has been further regulated by subsequent statutes.
On 1 April 1948, the Governors and Treasurer of Queen Anne's Bounty were amalgamated with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to form the Church Commissioners.
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