|Identifier:||EP||Number of units in system:||16917|
|Geographical Level:||11 (Parish)|
|ADL Feature Type:||countries, 4th order divisions|
|Is a status within:||Ecclesiastical Parish|
Originally a parish was "a township or cluster of townships having its own church, and ministered to by its own priest, parson, or parish clergyman, to whom its tithes or teinds [a proportion of the inhabitants produce or income] and ecclesiastical dues were paid" (Oxford Dictionary). The ecclesiastical parish, as a unit, was distinguished from the civil parishes after 1597 with the passing of the first Poor Relief Act. This division of the medieval parish created a parish that dealt solely with ecclesiastical functions and had its own church and clergyman. This Poor Law Act (1597) also lead to many subordinate areas, such as chapelries, being raised to parochial rank and new parishes being created. The Commissioners for Queen Anne's Bounty (created around 1702-14) financially assisted clergy of cures without adequate resources to support themselves by awarding a 'perpetual curacy' which gave them a new independent status of parish. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries statutory provisions allowed the creation of many different types of ecclesiastical parishes and old ones were often re-founded to gain the extra privileges accorded to the newer status.