The office of Churchwarden is one of the most ancient in the church, having been traced back to at least the fourteenth century. The historic duties of Churchwardens included such matters as being responsible for holding the parish stock on behalf of the parishioners and duties under the Poor Law legislation. A more thorough account of the historic role of the office of Churchwardens can be found here.
In today's church each Parish Church has (normally) two Churchwardens, who are elected annually by a parish meeting held not later than 30 April. The duties and responsibilities of Churchwardens are set out in Canon E1 of the Canons of the Church of England.
Section 4 of the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991 also sets out the duties of Churchwardens as to the recording of information about churches and Section 5 sets out the duties of Churchwardens as to the church fabric and articles belonging to the church.