The church rate was a tax formerly levied in each parish in England and Ireland for the benefit of the parish church. The rates were used to meet the costs of carrying on divine service, repairing the fabric of the church and paying the salaries of the connected officials.
Except for a brief period during the Commonwealth of England in the 17th century, the raising of Church Rates has never been confirmed by statute. It was always a matter of 'Common Law'. The compulsory levying of the church rate was abolished by statute in 1868; however, it remains on a voluntary basis in many parishes.
Chancel repair liability in England however remains enforceable by law.