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Benefice

The beneficium was the legal term for a grant of land for life as a reward for services rendered. This developed under canon law into an ecclesiastical office under the twofold heading of “spiritualities” (the duties involved) and “temporalities” (the emoluments provided). In the Church of England there are three kinds of parochial benefice: rectories, vicarages, and perpetual curacies. The difference is largely one of who is the recipient of the various tithes between the first two, and of the date of establishment of the benefice between these and the last. In return for his freehold, the holder or incumbent was, before the Pastoral Measure, removable only for grave misconduct or dereliction of duty.