Church of England parishes and benefices

In centuries past, each parish in England would have had its own incumbent (the vicar or rector in charge of the parish), but more recently reductions in church attendance and income have forced many parishes to merge under a single incumbent to form a multi-parish benefice. In 1960 17% of parishes in England were part of a multi-parish benefice, whereas it's now 62%. (One source claims the number was 71% in 2011, but I don't know how they got that number. My figures won't include parishes in which the church has been closed completely, but they don't count as part of any benefice so can't affect that number.) Many rural areas have benefices with over a dozen parishes and churches, and each year more are amalgamated to form larger benefices usually under a single priest, perhaps with a curate (newly-ordained training priest) or occasionally other clergy.

Using the data from achurchnearyou, use the links below to find the total number of benefices, parishes and (Anglican) churches in a given diocese/archdeaconry/deanery/benefice, but also the benefices with the most churches.

To use the site, click on a diocese to list the archdeaconries into which it is divided. Archdeaconries are in turn divided into deaneries, which consist of benefices, which consist of parishes. Many parishes now have more than one Anglican church. (There are a couple of instances of single parishes in London with two benefices, but otherwise it's a strict hierarchy.) On any page the second table lists the benefices with the most churches for the restrictions you've selected so far and selecting a benefice will list the parishes within that benefice.

The Church of England's 'Diocese in Europe' is included for completeness, but its benefices are unusual in that they can span multiple European countries and of course have no 'parish', so can be ignored for the purposes of looking at multi-parish benefices.

 

 

DioceseArchdeaconriesDeaneriesBeneficesParishesChurches
Bath & Wells319178462558
Birmingham212139150182
Blackburn214178233271
Bristol27106165199
Canterbury315102219316
Carlisle311109234327
Chelmsford724305467576
Chester218213265340
Chichester421275359474
Coventry211122199239
Derby28144254312
Durham314172210264
Ely215154305329
Europe7888265
Exeter422158488598
Gloucester2991297379
Guildford212139159211
Hereford21380337400
Leeds525279449592
Leicester210106243309
Lichfield428239422541
Lincoln322179482625
Liverpool415134196235
London624404410481
Manchester420177254305
Newcastle212128169235
Norwich320162545636
Oxford429284607810
Peterborough212125349377
Portsmouth37116137166
Rochester317181215260
Salisbury419135437566
Sheffield212142172208
Sodor and Man14141539
Southwark625254294352
Southwell & Nottingham29144238295
St.Albans320192336404
St.Edmundsbury & Ipswich318116442477
Truro212105213301
Winchester315175291398
Worcester21390168272
York321238443583
Totals13066267921233815707

 

62.42% of parishes are part of multi-parish benefices

 

Benefices with the most churches

BeneficeChurches
Gibraltar74
France64
Eastern33
Bolingbroke Deanery30
Retford Area Team Ministry28
North West Europe27
South Cotswold Team Ministry22
Leominster22
Italy and Malta21
Launditch and The Upper Nar19
Scandinavia19
Wilford Peninsula18
Switzerland18
Three Valleys17
The Winchcombe Team Ministry16
Nadder Valley (Team Ministry)16
Vale of Pewsey16
North Hinckford15
Papworth15
Cheriton Fitzpaine, Woolfardisworthy, Kennerleigh,15

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