His place knows him no more in many churches. We have a black-gowned verger in our towns; a humble temple-sweeper in our villages. The only civil right which he retains is that the prospectors of new railways are obliged to deposit their plans and maps with him, and well do I remember the indignation of my own parish clerk when the plans of a proposed railway, addressed to “the Parish Clerk,” were delivered by the postman to the clerk of the Parish Council. It was a wrong that could scarcely be righted.
I would venture to suggest, in conclusion, that it might be worth while for the authorities of the Church to consider the possibility of a revival of the office. It would be a great advantage to the Church to restore the parish clerk to his former important position, and to endeavour to obtain more learned and able men for the discharge of the duties. The office might be made again a sphere of training for those who wish to take Holy Orders, wherein a young man might be thoroughly educated in the duties of the clerical profession. It would be an immense assistance to an incumbent to have an active and educated layman associated with him in the work of the parish, in teaching, in reading and serving in church, and in visiting the sick. Like the clerk of old, he would be studying and preparing for ordination, and there could be no better school for training than actual parish work under the supervision of an earnest and wise rector.
The Church has witnessed vast changes and improvements during the last fifty years. The poor clerk has been left to look after himself. The revival of the office and an improvement in the position and education of the holders of it would, I fully believe, be of an immense advantage to the Church and a most valuable assistance to the clergy.
Absolon, Chaucer’s portrait of, 26
David, clerk of Great Yarmouth, 185
“Acts,” a Christian name, 264
Addison, on clerks, 64
Advent, a carol for, 168
“Ales,” clerk’s, 42
Allington, Kent, 230
Alnwick, Turner, clerk of, 232
“Amen” epitaph, 97
Ancient Mysteries, 137
Andrews, W., Curious Epitaphs, 100
Curiosities of the Church, 188
Antiquity of clerk’s office, 16, etc.
Apostles, complimenting the, 265
Appointment, the right of, 246
Arms of the Company of Clerks, 111
Art of Politicks, 184
Art, the clerk in, 195, etc.
Ashford, Isaac, the story of, 68
Aston, Yorks, 5
Astronomical clerks, 209, 258
Atchley, Dr. Cuthbert, 49
Atkinson, Rev. Canon, 302, 303
Atkins, Thomas of Chillenden, 236
Augustine of Canterbury, St., 16, 35
Avington, female clerk at, 202