Glebes (Clergy Reserves)

In early Upper Canada, parcels of land or “glebes” were reserved for the “established church.” Scadding tells how in walking up Yonge Street north of Davisville one could see:

“To the right of this tract was one of the Church glebes so curiously reserved in every township in the original laying out of Upper Canada (one lot of two hundred acres in every seven of the same area) in accordance with a public policy which at the present time seems sufficiently Utopian. Of the arrangement alluded to, now broken up, but expected when the Constitutional Act passed in 1791 to be permanent, a relic remained down to a late date in the shape of a wayside inn, on the right near here, styled on its sign the ‘Glebe Inn’-a title and sign reminding one of the ‘Church Stiles’ and ‘Church Gates’ not uncommon as village ale-house designations in some parts of England.”

This policy was dropped when it became apparent that no one denomination could be “established” in Upper Canada. Glebe Road remains as a reminder of that abandoned policy. A map showing the location of some such parcels is attached below.