This Province of North Carolina being a member of the Kingdom of Great Britain; & the Church of England being appointed by the charter from the Crown to be the only Established church to have Public encouragement in it: Wee, therefore, to express our gratitude to the Rtt Honble the Society for promoting the christian Religion in Forreign parts, and their Zeal for the promoting our Holy Religion by making such provisions for the building of Churches & Chappels & maintainance of the Clergy as the circumstances of this Government will admitt, Do pray that it may be enacted, And
Be it Enacted by his Excellency the Palatine &c. It is hereby enacted that this province of North Carolina be divided into parishes according to the Divisions & precincts hereafter menc̄oned that is to say—Chowan precinct into two parishes, to be divided by Albemarle Sound & Chowan River & shall be distinguished by the names of the Eastern parish of Chowan & the South West parish: Pasquotanck precinct into two parishes to be divided by Pasquotanck River & shall be distinguished by the names of the North East parish of Pasquotanck & the South West parish
And Be It Further Enacted by the authority aforesaid that there shall be a Vestery in each & every of the aforesaid precincts and parishes consisting of the Ministers of the parish, when any such shall be there resiident, & Twelve men whose names are hereafter mentioned.
which said Vestrymen are to be summoned by the Marshall or his Deputy in each precinct or parish to meet together at the church, chappel or Court House in every precinct, Or if there be none, then at such other place as the Marshal shall appoint within forty Days after the publication of this Act; Or if any person or persons appointed by this Act to be a Vestryman shall fail to meet as aforesaid, upon such summons, he & they shall forfeit, & pay the sum of Three pounds.
And if the Marshal shall refuse or neglect to summons the Vestrymen as is before menc̄oned & appointed he shall forfeit the sum of Twenty shillings for every Vestryman not summoned.
And Be It Further Enacted, by the authority aforesaid that all & every person or persons who by this act are appointed Vestrymen within any parish or precinct within this Government shall on or before the Easter Monday next ensuing the Ratification of this Act; and all and every person who at any time hereafter shall be elected a Vestryman or become a member of any Vestry within this Government, shall within one month after his becoming a Vestryman, or Member of any Vestry before some one or more Justice or Justices of the Peace within that parish or precinct besides taking the Oaths by Law enjoyned make & Subscribe the Declaration following, viz. I, A. B. do declare that it is not lawfull upon any pretence whatever to take up Arms against the King & that I will not apugne the Liturgy of the Church of England as it is by Law established.
And that all & every person who shall neglect & refuse to do the same within the respective times aforesaid shall be deprived of such his place of Vestryman & of being a member of such Vestry to all Intents & Purposes, & such places shall be actually void; & if such person is not a known & publick Dissenter from the Church of England, he shall also forfeit the sum of Three pounds.
And that from & after such neglect or refusal it shall be Lawfull for the remaining part of the Vestrymen to proceed to the election or nomination of some other discreet Freeholder of the respective parish, in the Room of such persons so neglecting or refusing as aforesaid.
And if such person so to be elected in the Room of such person so neglecting or refusing, shall also neglect or refuse to make & Subscribe the Declaration & Acknowledgment in manner & Time aforesaid; In such cases, if the Vestry shall not proceed to election within one month after such vacancy, that it shall be Lawfull to & for the present Incumbent (if any) & for want thereof, the Commander in chief of the Government for the time being, under his hand & seal to select & nominate a discreet Freeholder
And Be It Further Enacted—by the Authority aforesaid that the Vestrymen of every Precinct or Parish, or the greatest part of them shall choose two persons who are Vestrymen to be Church Wardens, who shall continue in that office one year & no longer, unless he or they shall be willing, and then two other Vestrymen shall succeed in the same office for the next year & so successively, until every Vestryman hath served in the office aforesaid.
And Be It Further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid that if any person who shall be chosen Church Warden shall refuse to execute that Office, without lawfull cause, he shall forfeit and pay Thirty Shillings, to be levied upon the Estate of the person refusing—by Order of the Vestry or greater part of them, to be disposed of for the use of the parish, upon which such person shall be excused 'till his turn come again in course.
And the Church Wardens in each respective parish and their Successors shall have full power to call the Vestrymen together & to appoint the time of their meeting, & in case of their neglect so to do when occasion shall require, it shall be Lawfull for three or more of the Vestry to do the same.
And if any Vestryman shall fail to give his Attendance at such time of meeting without Lawfull cause to be allowed & approved of by the Vestry or the greatest part of them, shall forfeit and pay Tenn Shillings for every such Default to be Levied & disposed of in manner aforesaid.
And Be It Further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that the several Church Wardens & Vesteries or the greatest part of them shall use their best & utmost endeavors to procure an able and Godly Minister qualified according to the Ecclesiastical Laws of England—& a person of a sober life & Conversation to be Clerk, & to raise for him or them, such Stipends yearly as they shall think convenient, so as such sum or stipend for the Minister be not less than Fifty Pounds yearly; & that in the raising thereof & all other parish charges, the whole do not exceed five shillings per Poll on all the Taxable persons in the parish. Provided allways that such Minister for whom such moneys are to be raised yearly be constantly resident in the parish & do not omit officiating at the Church or chappel within the parish above One Sixth part of the Sundays in the year, unless permitted by the Church-Wardens & the Vestry to officiate in the Neighboring vacant parishes.
And Be It Further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the Church Wardens & Vestrymen, or the greatest part of them, in each respective precinct or parish aforesaid & their successors forever shall have full power and Authority to purchase Land for a Glebe to build one Church & one or more Chappels in every respective precinct or parish aforesaid, as they or the greatest part of them shall think necessary, & the same as often as need shall require to repair & also to provide and take care to satisfie and pay all Parochial Charges out of such Gifts, Goods, & Chattels as shall come to their hands for the Church or parishe's use, towards the payment of which parochial charges all the Fines & Forfeitures of this Law incurred shall be Levied by the Church-Wardens in each respective precinct or parish & by them accordingly applied.
And Be It Further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid that for the defraying or paying whatsoever charges shall or may from time to time arise by force of this Act, or which shall properly be a parish charge, altho not menc̄oned in this Act. It shall & may be Lawfull for the several Church Wardens and Vestrymen or the greatest part of them & their successors in every respective precinct or parish aforesaid to raise & levy money by the Poll so as the same do not exceed Five Shillings by the Poll pr Annum: which sum or sums of money so laid equally by a Poll tax, shall after Twenty days notice given by the Church-Wardens to the parishioners be paid by the time appointed for the payment thereof, either at the Glebe-Church, chappel, or at such other place as by the Church-Wardens shall be appointed, under the Penalty of Double Distress to be made by the Church-Wardens on the Goods of such person refusing or neglecting to bring the same by the time appointed.
And Be It Further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, that the Church Wardens of every precinct or parish aforesaid shall take due care & order that all such sum or sums of money as Vestry shall order & appoint, be duly raised & applyed & payed to such uses as by the said Vestry shall be directed for which the Church-Wardens shall be allowed on their Accts the sum of Three pr cent & no more. And if any Church-Warden shall refuse or neglect to perform his duty therein he shall be obliged to make good and pay all such sum and sums so ordered by the said Vestery to such person or persons as should have had the same had the taxes been duly levied & paid excepting Insolvents. And to prevent Illegal & Unlawfull Marriages not allowable by the Church of England but forbidden by the table of Marriage
Be It Enacted by the Authority aforesaid that no Minister, Priest, or Magistrate (who is hereby impowered to join persons together in Marriage
Provided such persons come to the Parish Church or Chappel at Time of Divine Service, for Solemnizeing such Marriage.