occurred amongst the lower clergy; the income of perpetual curacies (a type of endowed curacy, which provided the curate with a degree of security of tenure), for instance, increased by a staggering 686 per cent over the same period.
Compared with established churches, non-established churches across Europe were on the whole less wealthy, the payment and collection ofstipend more haphazard, and the variation in levels of income greater. This was especially true of persecuted French Protestant pastors who could often expect nothing more than a bed for the night provided by a member of the congregation. In more settled areas such as Ulster, stipend arrears were a serious problem for many Presbyterian ministers in the late seventeenth century, though the existence of a strong system of church courts made it possible to force at least some of the recalcitrants to pay. In 1674, the Antrim Meeting decided to set a minimum stipend of £30 per annum, while congregations were instructed to provide their minister with housing, fuel, land, and grain. Often a minister's stipend was paid in kind, congregations providing peat, land, bolls of oats, labour and other commodities as well as money. Though arrears remained common, the regulations had made a salutary impact upon income levels by the 1690s when the average stipend rose to £33 9s 6d. The minimum stipend was increased to £40 in 1753 and to £50 in 1770. Nevertheless inequalities remained. By the 1790s, the ministers of only two congregations had incomes over £150 and 131 ministers received less than £60 per annum. As in established churches, overall economic, political and social developments determined the actual payment of the agreed stipend. For example, owing to poor harvests, only one minister in Ireland's Route Presbytery was paid his stipend in 1717. Old Dissent in England also experienced enormous variations in the level of stipend. An enquiry in 1690 found that actual incomes of Dissenting ministers could vary anything from 40s to £100 per annum, with the average stipend being between £20 and £40. These income levels left little margin in the event of poor harvests or other economic difficulties, and many ministers had to find alternative sources of income. By the turn of the eighteenth century, various funds were established to ease the financial pressures upon Dissenting ministers, yet local congregations remained primarily responsible for a minister's stipend and this proved a considerable burden for many. Perhaps ironically, both Presbyterians in Ireland and Old Dissenters in England received an annual grant from the crown known as the regium donum, or Royal Bounty, which was intended in part to ensure their political quiescence. This was symbolically important in Ireland and was augmented on a number of occasions over the course of the eighteenth century, though the actual share per minister would always remain
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