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The term benefice (or living) is used in the Church of England to describe a parish or group of parishes under a single stipendiary minister, but the term is much older and dates from the grant of benefices by bishops to clerks in holy orders as a reward for extraordinary services. The holder of a benefice is said to own the "freehold" of the post (the church and the parsonage house) but this freehold is now subject to many constraints. To meet European regulations on "atypical workers", the freehold is to be phased out in favour of new conditions of service called "common tenure" (a term that sounds ancient but is of recent invention).  

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