Clerical income derived from two main sources: legal exactions or voluntary contribution. Established churches used the former, though as with appointments, the precise relationship between church and state determined the manner and method of payment. The pastors of the Reformed Church of Geneva were appointed directly by the Venerable Company of Pastors and paid a fixed public salary of £30 per annum. The Lutheran pastors of Württemberg were also paid a regular wage directly by the state, as were ministers of the state church in the Netherlands. In states with a more complicated church-state relationship, however, the clergy were forced to negotiate the complex and disheartening tithe system. The tithe was simply a notional tenth of the annual productive value of the parish, though it became more complicated when it was subdivided into various types and was levied and paid for in different ways. Over the course of this period, payment in cash became the norm, though in more rural areas payment in kind, whether through crops, labour or other payments, remained. To make matters more complicated, in Prussia, Scotland and England, tithes were often alienated to a lay proprietor. In Scotland, each parish was overseen by the board of heritors, a body comprising the main landowners in the parish and members of the Kirk session. They were responsible for the collection of the Scottish equivalent of the tithe, the teind, which covered the bulk of the minister's stipend. They were also responsible for the upkeep of the meetinghouse, manse, school, and glebe. Teinds were paid in kind or cash and were traditionally collected at harvest. The teind holder in a parish, usually a large landowner, was legally bound to pass on to the heritors a proportion of the teind, from which the heritors were to pay the minister. Ministers however were in a vulnerable position as teinds were heritable property and many teind holders resisted paying the full amount due to the minister.

The Scottish example illustrates the complexity of the tithe system and the clash between religious and secular priorities. The value ofthe tithe depended on a host of factors including climate, soil type, population density, the legal framework, the willingness or otherwise of the parishioners to contribute, the legacy of medieval endowments, and the broader political context. For example, the power oflay tithe owners in East and West Prussia, Mecklenburg and the Pomeranias, reduced the local Lutheran clergy to poverty with no hope of redress. The plight of Prussian pastors forced them into becoming in effect employees of their patrons, a situation that could easily alienate them from their parishioners. Tithe contributions nose-dived and clerical stipends

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