Our Vestry Team.
Cople Parish is blessed with a great leadership team!
History of the Vestry
In the colonial era, vestry service was a political honor, and its vestrymen were of the top strata. Membership was a political stepping stone to higher office. The first vestries were elected by a vote of the freeholders, but soon they became self-perpetuating, quasi-governmental bodies. Their power extended into everyday life. Vestries leveled annual taxes on their parishioners that paid for social services, church repairs, new churches or chapels, and the minister’s salary. Vestries received fines for social offenses such as swearing in public and fornication, which were tried in the courts, as well as for failure to attend services. Members were assigned as wards for indigent orphans. Vestries were in charge of Processioning, a vital procedure, where once a year, property owners in groups would mark out their boundaries. This practice was aimed at reducing boundary and trespass litigation which clogged the courts. There were numerous other manifestations of power. The vestries were answerable only to the Council and House of Burgesses.