This is a comprehensive survey of the social, historical and architectural importance of the English parsonage and its future. Traditional English rectories and vicarages, sold out of service by the Church, have become uniquely desirable to property buyers and are now cherished by their new private owners. They combine many coveted qualities: their fine architecture, their air of civilization, their charm and character, the traditional values and quality of essential 'Englishness' which they evoke; their large gardens and often splendidly rural locations. Despite their historical, social and architectural importance, there is no comprehensive book about them currently in print. This book examines the place of rectories and vicarages in the history of the Church and of this country, and traces their evolution through the centuries. It looks at their many and varied styles of architecture, profiling some individual houses and highlighting some of the most architecturally outstanding and interesting ones. It is handsomely illustrated with quality color and black-and-white photographs.
Although rectories and vicarages have had their ups and downs throughout history, the period from the early twentieth century to the present day has posed perhaps the greatest challenge: why, if they are so desirable, has the Church been selling off its finest houses? "The Old Rectory" examines the contribution to our culture made by the clerical families who occupied these houses, and looks at some of the famous people (and eccentrics) who have been associated with them.
Anthony Jennings is the Director of Save Our Parsonages.
Preface; Outline of book:; (1) history and significance of Church and parsonage and 'The Great 20th century Sell-Off; (2) architecture of the parsonage; (3) cultural legacy of the parsonage; (4) its future; terminology; acknowledgements; Part I: Prologue; 1 The appeal of the Old Rectory; 2 The Great Twentieth Century Sell-Off; Part II: History; 3 The parsonage in the parish; 4 The parsonage and the church institutions; Part III: The architecture; 5 How the parsonage evolved; 6 Anatomy of a parsonage; 7 Gazetteer; 8 The best parsonages; 9 The architects; 10 The oddities; Part IV: The present; 11 Church law and the parsonage; 12 The Great Sell-Off; Part V: The legacy; 13 The house; 14 The people; Part VI: The future; 15 The working parsonage; 16 The Old Rectory; Epilogue; 17 The importance of the parsonage; Appendices; Terminology/Distribution by county/The Best/Best of the Rest/Bibliography; Index.