England’s vicarages and parsonages are almost as iconic as its churches. But campaigners say they may be all but gone after a 70-year process of selling-off which began after the Second World War and has seen thousands of vicars ejected from the historic buildings and moved into private houses.
What’s more, they have raised concerns that many modern priests have no interest in living in the properties – leaving them vulnerable to being sold.
Campaign group Save Our Parsonages estimates that 8,000 such houses have been sold by dioceses since the Second World War, causing the Church of England financial loss because of the growing value of property.
For that’s the only way we should be worried about “saving them” isn’t it?
For non-Brits here, vicars and parsons were people of some substance in Ye Olde Englande, their housing reflecting this. Substantial buildings built for a largish brood plus a clutch of servants. Often the second or third largest house in a village for example.
This is not a requirement for a parish these days, given the size of today’s nuclear families, even among churchmen.