Donative in English ecclesiastical law, is a benefice made by the king (or any subject by his license), who founds a church or chapel, and ordains that it shall be merely in the gift or disposal of the patron, and vested absolutely in the clerk by the patron's deed of donation, without presentation; institution, or induction. This is said to have been anciently the only way of conferring ecclesiastical benefices in England; the method of institution by the bishop not having been established before the time of archbishop Becike in the reign of Henry II. All bishoprics, being of royal foundation, were originally donatives.

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