Queen Anne’s Bounty is the name applied to a perpetual fund of first-fruits and tenths granted by a charter of Queen Anne, and confirmed by statute in 1703, for the augmentation of the livings of the poorer Anglican clergy. First-fruits (annates) and tenths (decimae) formed originally part of the revenue paid by the clergy to the papal exchequer. The former consist of the first whole year's profit of all spiritual preferments, the latter of one-tenth of their annual profits after the first year.
In accordance with the provisions of two acts about 3900 poor livings under the annual value of £50 were discharged from first-fruits and tenths. The income derived from first-fruits and tenths was annexed to the revenue of the crown in 1535 and so continued until 1703. Since that date there has been a large mass of legislation dealing with Queen Anne's Bounty, the effect of which will be found set forth in a Report of a Joint Select Committee on the Queen Anne's Bounty Board, 1900. The governors consist of the archbishops and bishops, some of the principal officers of the government, and the chief legal and judicial authorities.
The augmentation proceeds on the principle of assisting the smallest benefices first. All the cures not exceeding £10 per annum must have received £200 before the governors can proceed to assist those not exceeding £20 per annum. In order to encourage benefactions, the governors may give £ 200 to cures not exceeding £45 a year, where any person will give the same or a greater sum. The average income from first-fruits and tenths is a little more than £16,000 a year. In 1906 the trust funds in the hands of the governors amounted to £7,023,000. The grants in 1906 amounted to £28,607, the benefactions to £29,888.
The accounts are laid annually before the king in council and the houses of parliament. The duties of the governors are not confined to the augmentation of benefices. They may in addition lend money for the repair and rebuilding of residences and for the execution of works required by the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Acts, and may receive and apply compensation money in respect of the enfranchisement of copyholds on any benefice. The governors are unpaid; the treasurer and secretary receives a salary of £1000 a year. He is appointed by patent under the great seal, and holds office during the pleasure of the crown.