Steventon rectory, once home to Jane Austen

A rectory is the residence, or former residence, of a rector, most often a Christian cleric, but in some cases an academic rector or other person with that title. Many former rectories may still be referred to locally as a rectory once a church or religious organisation has vacated the property.

Depending on denomination, local custom, and the status of the minister, the clergy house inhabited (or formerly inhabited) by the leader of a local Christian church can be referred to by one of several names.

In Roman Catholic churches it is usually called a presbytery, or rectory (and in Scotland, chapel house) if appropriate. Catholic clergy houses may be lived in by several priests from a parish, as opposed to other denominations where a church leader is often married and raising children. A rectory also often functions as the administrative office of the local parish.

In churches that are members of the Anglican Communion, the building will most commonly be called a vicarage or rectory, depending on the status of the incumbent. Parsonage is informal, and little used in recent times.

Methodists might refer to it as a manse, the usual term in Scottish Presbyterianism, or parsonage, while the latter is quite frequently used in English-speaking Lutheran churches. Manse is the usual name for the house of a Church of Scotland minister.

Pastorium is the usual term in the Southern United States, especially among Baptists.

These homes are normally owned and maintained by the church, as a benefit to their ministers; if a minister makes his own living arrangements his residence is unlikely to be given a special title. The practice continues to this day in many denominations because of the tendency of church officials to be sent from one church to another at relatively frequent intervals. Many buildings described as "vicarage" or "rectory" that are sold by the church retain their former names, often qualified, such as "The Old Rectory", etc.

The Rectory of St. Paul's School, Darjeeling is one of the oldest buildings in Darjeeling built during the British India Era in 1813. It was the residence of the owner of the Jalapahar estate until 1846 when the estate was acquired by Bishop Cotton to establish St. Paul's School. The splendid building was christened the 'Rectory' and is used today as the official residence of the school Rector (principal) and his family.


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