Church Warden

A Sussex name fora shag, or cormorant, probably from its voracity.

CHURCH WARDENS. The Office of Church Warden dates from very early times in England, but we have no clear account of its origin. The Church Wardens, of whom there are two in most Parishes, are appointed at a meeting of parishioners held at Easter. The Incumbent has the power of appointing one, the other is elected by the vote of the parishioners. The Church Wardens were originally mere ecclesiastical officers; the State then added various civil functions to the office, such as levying rates, &c., but a good deal of this civil power has now been withdrawn. Their business has become in substance that of assisting in the finances, repairs, warming, &c., of the Church. It is also their duty to complain to the Bishop or Archdeacon if the Incumbent be neglectful or irregular in the conduct of Divine Service.

When Church Wardens have been chosen, they are admitted to their office by the Archdeacon. The office is of one year's duration only. In many larger parishes they are assisted by Synodmen, or Sidesmen.

A Church Warden should be a resident rate-payer; but non-residence is not always a disqualification. The following are certainly disqualified to hold office,—all aliens born, as well as aliens naturalized; all Jews; all children under 10 years of age; all persons convicted of felony; all idiots and insane persons.