The Church Commissioners have a long and prestigious heritage, supporting the work of the Church of England since 1948. The organisation was formed by merging two bodies - Queen Anne's Bounty, formed in 1704 to support poorer clergy, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, set up in 1836 to administer several functions of the Church.

Queen Anne's Bounty

History -queenannesbountyBy the turn of the 18th century the problem of poor clergy was becoming acute. Widespread clerical poverty was hindering the work of the church, with many clergy taking on other jobs to supplement their income and neglecting their parishes. The solution was Queen Anne's Bounty, the Queen agreeing to write off the debts of poorer clergy and to grant the income from compulsory tithes to the fund.

The Ecclesiastical Commissioners

History -ecclesiasticalcommissionersFounded by Parliament in 1836, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were responsible for reorganising dioceses, abolishing surplus posts in cathedrals and funding bishops and some cathedral costs. Their surplus income was to be used to fund ministry in poorer parishes, and they also had a major role in financing churches and clergy for the new population centres that grew up in the Industrial Revolution.

In 1856 they took over the work of the Church Building Commissioners and from 1907 became involved with providing clergy pensions.

The Church Commissioners

History -churchcommissionersBy the twentieth century Queen Anne's Bounty focused on poor rural areas, while the Ecclesiastical Commissioners focused on urban areas. In 1948, after decades of planning, the two bodies merged and the Church Commissioners were formed, inheriting the assets and work of both organisations.

The Church Commissioners have undergone a number of changes since their formation, most notably transferring their obligations for clergy pensions earned after 1998 to parishes. In 1999 the Archbishops' Council was formed, giving strategic direction to the Church of England and providing the Church Commissioners with a clear focus on their asset management functions and support for the work of the church. In 2007 the Commissioners moved out of their home at 1 Millbank, where they had been since their inception, to Church House.