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Churchwardens

In the Church of England this office, dating from about the fourteenth century, concerns the lay guardians of a parish church. The churchwardens are responsible for the business and financial side of parochial activity, especially the care of church furnishings and fabric, the seating arrangements, the collection and distribution of alms, and the keeping of order during worship. There are usually two wardens who should be chosen jointly each year in Easter week, by the congregation and the incumbent; but in practice the incumbent has frequently chosen one (the vicar's warden) and the congregation the other (the people's warden). They are officers of the parish, but their report to the bishop (or archdeacon) at his annual visitation illustrates their role as officers of the bishop also.