Parsonages and Glebe – guidance and forms for diocesan administrators

Until January 2001 the Church Commissioners carried out statutory supervision under the Parsonages Measures in a relatively detailed way. This had been appropriate when the initiative in parsonage matters was still largely with individual incumbents, whose ideas about the standard of housing differed widely. However, in recent years, especially since 1972, when dioceses took over responsibility from incumbents for maintaining parsonages, they have become much more closely involved in clergy housing.

The Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 2000, which came into effect on 1 January 2001, allows dioceses to deal with most parsonage transactions under the Parsonages Measures and also glebe transactions under the Endowments and Glebe Measure 1976 (sale; lease; demolition; exchange; building; purchase; or improvement and in the application / transfer of sale proceeds) without having to come to the Commissioners for consent, provided certain criteria are met and there are no objections to a proposal from interested parties. As a consequence, our administrative role has been significantly reduced.

The Commissioners' involvement is carried out by the Pastoral team, and decisions which cannot be determined by staff are referred to the Mission, Pastoral & Church Property Committee.

The Commissioners' involvement in all matters relating to parsonages and glebe has, since 1st March 2019 been governed by the Church Property Measure 2018, which came into effect on that date, and consolidated, amongst others, the Parsonages Measures, the New Parishes Measure 1943, and the property provisions of the Endowments and Glebe Measure 1976. 


Details of our remaining role in parsonages and glebe matters and the procedures under which dioceses are now able to deal directly with most matters are given in the Parsonages and Glebe Diocesan Manual, which includes a summary of the Code of Recommended Practice to the Repair of Benefice Buildings Measure. This has been updated to reflect the consolidation of previous legislation relating to these matters into a single piece of legislation; the Church Property Measure 2018. The Manual below is up to date as at 22nd June 2020, and incorporates all the forms dioceses will need to use under the relevant legislation.

These documents can be found below, along with significant planning appeals or Court Judgments relating to parsonage or glebe matters and a document detailing that Canon Law is a material Planning consideration. 

We have also produced Parsonages - A Design Guide which includes a Design Brief, and sets out an indication of the standards for the building or purchase of a parsonage house, and includes supplements on issues such as security. 

Please note that the leaflets referred to in the Design Guide, which are published below, were correct when the Guide was published in 1998; anyone using them will need to seek their own advice on these matters.