The rector, vicar or incumbent is a corporation-sole, in whom is vested the freehold of the church and churchyard, subject to the parishioners' rights of user; their rights of burial have been enlarged by various acts.
They marry and work, and sometimes even bear arms like their parishioners, from whom a large part of their income is derived, in the shape of offerings and fees.
But the custom of England transferred this burden to the parishioners, and some particular local customs (as in the city of London) placed even the burden of repair of the chancel on them.
For the reception of his parishioners he had three tables well covered - one for gentlemen, the second for husbandmen, the third for day-labourers; and this piece of hospitality he never omitted, even when losses or scarcity made its continuance difficult.
Among his parishioners he was looked up to as a judge, and did great service in preventing law-suits amongst them.