The Building of St Paul’s Church, Birmingham in the 1770s

The assignment of sittings and determination of rents

As with St Mary’s the preoccupation of the trustees as the consecration approached will have been sittings and rents. Henry Kempson was deeply involved in this at St Mary’s, so it is reasonable to assume his involvement here, and perhaps with Elias Wallin, a trustee of St Paul’s, whose scheme for rents had been adopted at St Mary’s. The trustees were certainly not short of experience, and may have been able to avoid the “joining” problem. However there may have been other difficulties. At St Mary’s the number of people who subscribed £30 or over, apart from Mary Weaman and Elisabeth Walker, was 10. All would qualify as trustees, with the top three people getting 8 sittings, and the rest got 7, but this also extended down to 20gns, so there was no special privilege for trustees. At St Paul’s the number of trustees on the Indenture of July 28th 1779 (see below) was 45, all of whom must have subscribed at least £30. Using the scheme used at St Mary’s, a large number of sittings, perhaps over 300, would have been assigned to the trustees, and balloted for first. Rents would be similar to St Mary’s; with 1000 sittings and a maximum of £200 to be raised per annum, the average annual rent would be 4s, if all the sittings were sold.

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