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Combe Martin parish church (St. Peter ad Vincula), North Devon, England.
A parish church in the Church of England is the church which acts as the religious centre for the people within the smallest and most basic Church of England administrative region, the parish - since the 19th century called the ecclesiastical parish (outside meetings of the church) to avoid confusion with the civil parish which many towns and villages have.
The Church of England is made up of parishes, each one forming part of a diocese. Almost every part of England is within both a parish and a diocese (there are very few non-parochial areas and some parishes not in dioceses). These ecclesiastical parishes are often no longer the same as the civil parishes in local government. Larger towns and cities, even those with cathedrals, still have ecclesiastical parishes and parish churches.
Each parish is ministered to by a parish priest, usually called a vicar, rector or priest-in-charge. More rarely the parish priest is known as a "perpetual curate". In one instance only the priest is also, by historical custom, officially known as an "archpriest". Each parish usually has one active parish church, though rarely and historically more than one; if there is no parish church, the bishop will usually license another building and may designate it as a Parish Centre of Worship. A parish may also be served by a number of chapels of ease. Unused 'redundant' parish churches may exist in parishes formed by the merging of two or more parishes, or because of the cost of upkeep. These redundant churches may survive as ruins, remain empty, or be converted for alternative uses.
12th-century priest's door and low window of the parish church at Guiting Power, Gloucestershire
The Church of England parish church was always fundamental to the life of every community, especially in rural areas. However, by the late 20th and early 21st century, with the decline in the number of worshippers and the shortage of Anglican priests, there has been a trend towards team or shared ministry and many parish churches no longer have a service every Sunday.
BedfordBedfordshire, St Paul's church, on the site of a former ancient minster, the present medieval 'hall church' was the BBC's wartime home of the Daily Service, now the county church with a fine Bodley screen and maintains a choral tradition.
Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, Beverley Minster: Perpendicular west front, continuous vault, Percy tomb, Hawksmoor font cover, the largest parish church in England by floor area (3489 m2).
Burford, Oxfordshire, St John's Church: Merchants' guild chapel, Red Indian memorial, Kempe glass.
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, St Mary's Church: Burial place of Mary Tudor, Queen of France, sister of Henry VIII, second longest aisle for a Parish Church in England. Hammer beam roof with carved angels. Has a traditional robed choir which has existed for hundreds of years.