Chicheley had been careful enough to obtain " Papal provisions " for himself, his pluralities, his bishopric and archbishopric.
The system of pluralities carried with it, as a necessary consequence, systematic non-residence on the part of many incumbents, and delegation of their spiritual duties in respect of their cures of souls to assistant curates.
The evils attendant on this system were found to be so great that the Pluralities Act 1838 was passed to abridge the holding of benefices in plurality, and it was enacted that no person should hold under any circumstances more than two benefices, and this privilege was made subject to the restriction that his benefices were within ten statute miles of each other.
By the Pluralities Act 1850, the restriction was further narrowed, so that no spiritual person could hold two benefices except the churches of such benefices were within three miles of each other by the nearest road, and the annual value of one of such benefices did not exceed £loo.
The Pluralities Acts Amendment Act 1885, however, enacted that, by dispensation from the archbishop, two benefices could be held together, the churches of which are within four miles of each other, and the annual value of one of which does not exceed £200.