As civil courts they judge in first instance all questions connected with glebes and the erection and repair of churches and manses.
The benefices are almost without exception provided with good residences and glebes, and the tithes, &c., generally afford a comfortable income.
The parliamentary return of 1888 showed the value of the teinds of 876 parishes to be £375,678 and the stipends paid to amount (exclusive of manses and glebes) to £242,330.
The entire endowments of the church, including manses and glebes but not church buildings, is about £3 0,000.
The glebes and hospital lands were a fresh power in the hands of the crown, and the subservient Lutheran clergy became the most powerful class in the island, while the system of under-leasing at rackrent and short lease with unsecured tenant right extended over at least a quarter of the better land.
The former work, Arna Saga Biskups, is imperfect; it is the record of the struggles of church and state over patronage rights and glebes, written c. 1315; it now covers only the years 1269-1291; a great many documents are given in it, after the modern fashion.