(3) Control of lay office-bearers, churchwardens, sidesmen, organists, parish clerks, sextons.
It is his especial duty to inspect the churches within his archdeaconry, to see that the fabrics are kept in repair, and to hold annual visitations of the clergy and churchwardens of each parish, for the purpose of ascertaining that the clergy are in residence, of admitting the newly elected churchwardens into office, and of receiving the presentments of the outgoing churchwardens.
The legal point in the dispute (which Campbell afterwards made the subject of a separate pamphlet) was whether the churchwardens of the parish, in the absence of the vestry, had any means of enforcing a rate except the antiquated interdict or ecclesiastical censure.
A proclamation issued (December 6, 1553) directed the churchwardens to obtain the proper ornaments for the churches; and the bishops (at any rate Bishop Bonner, see Visitation Articles 1 554, Cardwell's Doc. Ann.
Churchwardens are always lay persons, and as they may, like "artificial persons," hold goods and chattels and bring actions for them, they are recognized in law as quasi-corporations.