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The smallest unit of ecclesiastical and administrative organization in England. In the 7th and 8th centuries regional churches (‘minsters’) were founded, staffed by teams of priests who served large ‘parochiae’ covering the area of perhaps five to 15 later parishes. These were broken up during the 10th to 12th centuries as landowners founded local churches for themselves and their tenants, though it was only in the 12th century that the territories which these served crystallized into a formal parochial system.

Subjects: History.

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