Royal Peculiar

English church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch

A royal peculiar is a Church of England parish or church that is not under the jurisdiction of the diocese and the province it is in. It is subject to the jurisdiction of the monarch.

The church parish system dates from Saxon times. Most early churches were provided by the lord who owned the land that the parish was in. A "donative parish" (or "peculiar") was one that was not under the jurisdiction if the diocese.[1] These churches were normally held by a churchman from another district, parish or diocese. They could include the separate or "peculiar" jurisdiction of the monarch, another archbishop or bishop, or the dean and chapter of a cathedral.[2] An archbishop's peculiar is subject to the direct jurisdiction of an archbishop. A royal peculiar is subject to the direct jurisdiction of the monarch.[3]

Most peculiars lasted to the Reformation. Unlike royal peculiars, they were ended during the 19th century by Acts of Parliament. After this, they were under the jurisdiction of the diocese they were in. A few non-royal peculiars still exist.[2][3] In modern times, most royal peculiars are the Diocese of London.[4]


  1. Friar 2004, p. 309.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hey 2008, p. 532.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Chisolm 1911, p 36. Line four onwards:- "As a term of ecclesiastical law “peculiar” is applied to.....".
  4. "Church of England | Dioceses". Anglicans Online. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2012.