SINECURE (Lat. sine cura, without care), properly a term of ecclesiastical law, for a benefice without the cure of souls ( beneficium sine curd). In the English Church such sinecures arise when the rector has no cure of souls nor resides in the parish, the work of the incumbent being performed by a vicar; such sinecure rectories were expressly granted by the patron; they Were abolished by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1840. Other ecclesiastical sinecures are certain cathedral dignities to which no spiritual function attached or incumbencies where by reason of depopulation and the like the parishioners have disappeared or the parish church has been allowed to decay. Such cases have ceased to exist. The term is also used of any office or place, to which a salary, emoluments or dignity but no duties are attached. The British civil service and royal household were loaded with innumerable offices which by lapse of time had become sinecures and were only kept as the reward of political services or to secure voting power in parliament. They were extremely prevalent in the 18th century and were gradually abolished by statutes during that and the following century.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)