Queen Victoria Clergy Fund

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 109 QVCF
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      150 bundles, 119 booklets, 102 files, 42 documents, 39 volumes, 18 photographs and 1 box of film.

Scope and Content

The Queen Victoria Clergy Fund was formed to raise support and funds both from diocesan bodies and the laity to augment the incomes of poor clergy, similar to the efforts made by Queen Anne's Bounty (founded 1704) and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (founded in 1836) and emerged directly from two lay organisations dedicated to ameliorating clerical hardship - the Tithe Redemption Trust (or Fund) in 1846 and the Church of England Incumbents' Sustentation Fund in 1873 - both of which were ultimately absorbed into the Queen Victoria Clergy Fund (in 1899 and 1897 respectively).

This collection contains materials relating to the operation of the QVCF and its subsidiary funds between 1848 and 1995, arranged as following:

* Charters and Regulations

* Internal Governance

* Annual Reports

* Internal Finance and Investments

* Appeals

* Legacies and Will Bequests

* Annual Subscriptions, Donations, Collections and Quotas

* Grants and Funds

* General Correspondence

* Historical Books and Images

Administrative / Biographical History

The Queen Victoria Clergy Fund was formally founded in 1896 as the Clergy Sustentation Fund for the Two Provinces of York and Canterbury. The following year, appreciating the value of associating itself with the monarch in her golden jubilee year, they applied for a charter from Queen Victoria and thus became the Queen Victoria Clergy Fund (henceforth the QVCF).

The QVCF was setup with the intention of 1) impressing upon the entire church the need to contribute to the support of the clergy; 2) supplementing and extending the diocesan organisation for the support of the clergy; and 3) generally promoting the sustentation of the clergy.

It was funded by the annual payments from affiliated dioceses and revenue from annual subscriptions, donations, church collections, legacies and the occasional public appeal. In return, the Fund made block grants to the Diocesan funds, in proportion to their needs, who in turn were left to distribute grants as they saw fit.

At the beginning the QVCF looked like it might prove a great success - the connection with Queen Victoria and her golden jubilee proved particularly important; the monarch herself gifted the Fund £1000. From its foundation to the end of 1897 it raised over £140,000 and by the end of 1899 all but three dioceses were affiliated.

However, this initial success was not to last. Subscriptions and donations fell rapidly to the point that QVCF became largely dependent, besides the diocesan quotas, on the returns from capitalised legacies and the minimal returns from special appeals. Its subsequent history was to show that, despite doing much good, it was not by itself able to seriously address the problem of clerical poverty.

Firstly, there was the difficulty of persuading the general laity that clerical poverty was a true problem in face of the common belief that the Church of England and most of its clergy were wealthy, and any poverty could be addressed by better management of available resources. Secondly, not unconnected to the first problem, there was growing resentment towards the Church in the early twentieth century, derived from amongst other things the acute unpopularity of tithe rent-charges, and growing indifference as society became ever more secularised. And thirdly, there was from the outset an acute tension between the central fund, the affiliated funds and the Diocese over the amounts paid out by the QVCF in its block grants that derived ultimately from a resentment of richer Dioceses to subsidise their poorer brethren, despite such redistribution being an explicit aim of the QVCF.

Despite this the QVCF still exists as a charitable body due to its small size and its continual adaption to the changes affecting the Church.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

The bulk of the collection was deposited with the Church of England Record Centre in March 1992 and in March 1993.

Appraisal Information

All material to be kept permanently.

Custodial History

The records of the QVCF have always been in the custody of the Fund at Church House prior to transfer to the Church of England Record Centre.


Further accruals expected through the Church of England Record Centre's Records Management system.


'The Queen Victoria Clergy Fund 1897-1997, A Centenary History'' by Peter Hughes, London, 1997.