16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 21


Sut,—I am not concerned to criticise or justify the disparity between clerical incomes, but the letter of Mr. H. W. Pearson on this subject in your last issue but one ought not to be allowed to pass without comment.

He propounds the surprising theory that this disparity must be explained by reference to ancient endowments of particular parishes by pious testators, and can only be justified because we respect the validity of a will. The theory is ingenious but untenable. Its author will find in many old churches a list of benefactions for the parish by pious testators, but I doubt whether he will find a single instance of a gift for the mainten- ance of the incumbent for the simple reason that such mainten- ance was provided for by the tithes exacted from the parishioners. The position remains the same today except in the case of modern endowments.—Yours faithfully, K. C.