Property owned by the Church of England

Various Church bodies and institutions hold property, and their ability to deal with it is often restricted by law. Following are details of the principal types of Church property that the Legal Office most often encounters in its work for the National Church Institutions.

Further information on dealings with ecclesiastical land in general (including guidance relating to acquisitions and disposals under the New Parishes Measure 1943) may be found here, and on dealings with property owned by the Church Commissioners specifically here.

  • Parsonages
    The residences of rectors and vicars, owned by the rector or vicar as 'benefice property'.
  • Glebe
    Owned by a Diocesan Board of Finance as an investment, returns being used to provide money to pay the stipends of parochial clergy in the diocese. Further information about the work of the Church Commissioners' Pastoral Division in relation to parsonages and glebe is available here.
  • Churches and churchyards
    Generally owned by the rector or vicar as 'Church property' (as opposed to the parsonage, which is 'benefice property') and maintained by the Parochial Church Council.
  • Closed churches
    Following a statutory process to remove the legal effects of consecration, the Church Commissioners or a Diocesan Board of Finance may dispose of a redundant church for a suitable alternative use. Further information about the work of the Church Commissioners' Closed Churches Division is available here.
  • Investment or corporate property
    This may be owned by Church of England bodies at national, diocesan and parochial levels. Information about the Church Commissioners' corporate property may be found here.