James Wayland Joyce.

England's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic online

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Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 10 of 83)
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synods were convened and held here under legatine authority,
the spirit of the English Church and of her prelates was fre-
quently roused to indignant^' remonstrance against such as-
sumptions''. It might perhaps have proved more tolerable had
this legatine power been always claimed and exercised by
archbishops or bishops of the English Church ; but that such
authority should be challenged here by strangers and foreigners
was apt to be deemed an assumption somewhat surprising,
and was continually resented in language extremely ^ rough.
Of this we shall trace some examples hereafter as the subject^
is pursued ; for the practice of sending over foreigners to this
country, with the flourish of a pall as a badge of authority,
was always most unpalatable to the English Church, as also
was that subtle policy of placing them in the English sees,
a policy which prevailed after the Norman Conquest, and sub-
sequently to the deposition of Stigand the last Anglo-Saxon
archbishop, and the intrusion of Lanfranc into his place. And
they were such aggressions, often but too ineffectually re-
sisted, which mainly tended to subject this national Church
to the usurpations of the Vatican.

Place. Date. Legate. Reference.

A. D.

Windsor lO"'' f Hubert, the Papal legate, subscribes 1^ Cone. Mag. Brit.
I before the two English Archbishopsi vol. i. p. 324.

Westminster . 1 126 John de Crema Ibid. p. 408.

Westminster . 11.38 Alberic Ibid. 414.

Winchester . . 1142 Henry, bishop of W'inton Ibid. 420.

Winchester . . 1 143 Hem-y, bishop of Winton Ibid, 422.

Westminster . 1176 Hugo Ibid. 485.

London 1237 Otho Ibid. 64?.

London 1238 Otho Ibid. 663.

London 1239 Otho Ibid. 663.

London .... 1240 Ibid. 681.

London .... 1255 Rustand Ibid. "JOi).

London .... 1255 Rustand Iliid. 711-

London 1268 Othobon Ibid. vol. ii. p. 1.

London 1312 The two Arnalds Ibid. p. 421.

London 1408 Francis, bishop of Bordeaux lb. vol. iii. p. .306.

Westminster)^ .^^q I Thomas Wolsey, archbishop of\ ,, . , _

Abbey ..J I York I

King'sChaplj ^^^^ Reginald Pole Ib.vol.iv. p. 131 .

W estminster i




2. But most
of them held un-
der the Archbi-
shops of Canter-
bury, or their re-
presentatives, as
heads of the na-
tional Church.

Now all the national synods which are speci-
fied in the former of the two foregoing lists,
and which are not inserted in the latter, it is
satisfactory to contemplate as having been
called together by an authority inherent in the
national Church ; for whatever flourishes of lega-
tine exaltation may have been appended to the names of our
own archbishops, still they assuredly needed no such extra-
neous aid for the performance of their proper functions. Such
national synods therefore as we are now contemplating, the
Archbishop y of Canterbury convened and presided over, in
accordance with those rights which appertain to his high
office and his ancient prerogative. That the authority should
belong to him of convening "national synods" and presiding
in them, was made plain by the Council of Windsor in 1072,
and it has been frequently confirmed on subsequent occa-
sions. In that council it was settled, when the boundaries of
the provinces of Canterbury and York were recited, "that' if
the Archbishop of Canterbury desired to convene a synod
wherever that might be, the Archbishop of York, with all
those who were subject to him, should present themselves and
yield obedience to all canonical commands." This canon was
subscribed by the king and queen, by the Archbishops of Canter-
bury and York, by thirteen bishops, and many other persons :
it received, moreover, the signature of the Pope's legate, so that
the jurisdiction here attributed to the Archbishops of Canter
bury could not with any reason be denied subsequently at
Rome, even though no titular flourish was thence vouchsafed
to them, at least not during those years in which Eome her-
self acknowledged the orthodoxy of the English Church.
,, „ .It may not be out of place here to give.

V. Form of . „ 7. , i ? • i

holding a national m a concisc form, soms 01 the records which

synod in England. , , . . i , ,•

can be traced m various documents respecting
the constituent members of our "national synods," and
the manner of convening and holding them. It is possible
that in God's good time such an assembly may be again

* " Ita ut si Cantiiarensis Archiepiscopus concilium cogere voluerit, ubicumque

ei visum fuerit, Eboracensis Arch, sui prsesentiam cum omnibus sibi subjectis, ad

nutum ejus exhibeat, et ejus canonicis dispositionibus obediens existat." — Cone.

Mag. Brit. i. 325. Vid. quoque Cone. Mag. Brit. iv. Appendix, 786. Vid. quoque

'\ Cone. Mag. Brit. i. 391. 493. 504.

y Cone.
Mag. Brit.
vol. i. p.
.325. & vol.
iv. Appen-
dix, p. 786.




^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
vol. i. p. 325.

a Vid. Card.
Poli Moni-
tio ad Sy-
Cone. Mag.
Brit. iv. 131.
b Citatio
Cone. Mag.
Brit. iii.
701. & Cone.
Lond. ibid,
i. 363.
« Cone.
Mag. Brit,
i. 648.
^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
i. 648.
« Cone.
Mag. Brit,
i. 363.

Mag. Brit,
i. 363.

S Cone.
Mag. Brit,
i. 363.

1' Cone.
Mag. Brit,
i. 648.

' Cone.
Mag. Brit.
i. 649.
J Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 8,)].

k Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 851.

called together, and in that case ancient precedents may
afford examples suitable at the least for partial imitation.

As was before remarked, the authority for convening a
national synod at his pleasure was given to the Archbishop
of Canterbury at the Council of Windsor % a.d. 1072, and
confirmed in subsequent synods '. The constituent members of
such an assembly were the members of the provincial ^ Synods
of Canterbury ^ and York united into one body. When a
national synod was to be held, the members proceeded to the
place of meeting ^ in solemn procession, the litany mean-
while being chanted. On arriving at the church where the
assembly was to meet, and where previous preparations were
sometimes made by providing seats rising in the form"^ of
steps from the ground, the members took their places in well-
defined order. The Archbishop of Canterbury, as president,
occupied the chief seat ®. On his right was placed the Arch-
bishop of York, on his left the Bishop of London. Next the
Archbishop of York sat the Bishop of Winchester. But if
the Archbishop of York was absent, then the Bishop of
London sat on the right of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
and the Bishop of AVinchester on his left. After these pre-
lates had taken their places, the other bishops seated themselves
according to the dates of their respective ordinations \ These
rules of precedence were settled at the national Synod of
London^ in 1075, where the matter was discussed and de-
cided in accordance with the tenor of some ancient canons
of Toledo, JNIilevis, and Bracara, and after consultation with
some aged « and experienced men, who could remember the
ancient practice of the Anglo-Saxon Church. As soon as all
had been arranged in their respective places, and silence had
been obtained, the gospel " I am ^ the good Shepherd " was
read. Some proper collects were then offered uji, and the
hymn " Veni Creator" was sung. Next followed ' the sermon,
upon the conclusion of which the archbishop J explained the
causes for which the synod was convened, the necessary forms
of business were introduced by the official persons, and the
matters thus brought forward were discussed by the whole '^
assembly. There was, however, one proviso in early times on

'■" Vid. Cone. Mag. Brit, i. 391. 493; and iv. Appendix, 786.
' "Ordinations;" j«a>re, " consecrations ? "




VI. Four dif-
ferent courses
'lave been

this head, viz. that all, save bishops and abbots, were required
to obtain leave from the archbishop before they addressed the
synod. After due discussion and deliberation the opinions
of the members were publicly ' taken, and the decisions arrived
at were reduced to writing, signed and sealed by the arch-
bishops™, and signed by the other members of the assembly.

It also appears, when a national synod lasted for several
days, that a more solemn conclusion than a mere dispersion
of the members has taken place. On one occasion at least
upon record, the communion" on the last day was administered
in the presence of a vast concourse of people, and prayers
were offered up, after which one deputed to the office ascended
the pulpit, and in the delivery of a Latin address declared **,
among other things, the dissolution of the assembly.

When the intervention of the authority of a
national synod has been needed, that is, in those
sued in England cascs where it lias seemed necessary to exert
authority of a na- jurisdiction more extensive than would justly
tional synod. ^^^^^j^ ^^ ^ provincial synod, four different

courses have at various times been pursued in England.
, ^ . . The first course has been to unite the mem-

1. By uniting

the two provincial bcrs of the two provincial synods into one such
*^ " assembly as has been above described, thus form-

ing an august body properly representing the Church of Eng-
land, and so rightly deserving the name of a national synod.
This course was adopted on the occasions of the meeting of
many of those national synods detailed in the preceding lists.
The second course has been to hold the two
provincial synods simultaneously, though sepa-

business simulta- , , , . ., , , o i ^•^ ,•

neousiy in the two ratcly, oacli in its usual place, for deliberation
provinces. ^^ ^^^^ Same busiucss. This plan was pursued

when the provincial Synods of Canterbury and York were
held concurrently, and upon the same business, the one at
Lambeth P and the other at Beverley, a.d. 126L

3. By discuss- "^1^6 third course has been to discuss and
ing the business transact the requisite business first in the provin-

first in the Synod ^ ^

of Canterbury, cial Synod of Canterbury, and to send afterwards

drafts 'of\hT pro- to the provincial Synod of York drafts of the pro-

sanciilfn rf Ihe ccediugs, which having been there ratified, thus

Synod of York. obtained syuodical authority throughout England.

2. By transact-
ing the same

' Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. «52.
ni Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 853—

" Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 132.

" Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 132.

P Cone.
Mag. Brit,
i. 755 cSi 746.




1 Cone.
Mag. Biit.
iv. 378.
"■ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 379.
^ Wake's
State, Ap-
pend, p. 237,
No. clvii.
« Ibid. Ap-
pend, p. 240.

n Cone.
M.ag. Brit,
iv. 56,-).
Syn. Ang.
pt. ii. p. fiO.
* Syn. Ang.
pt. ii. p. B4.

w Cone.
Mag. Brit.

^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,

y Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 566.
Syn. Ang.
I)t. ii. p. 95.

This course of proceeding was adopted in reference to that
code of discipHne known as the Canons of 1603-4, and now
standing in an anomalous position from the ill-arranged rela-
tions between the civil and ecclesiastical courts of this nation.
Those Canons were first debated and ratified in the provincial
Synod of Canterbury, begun i at S. Paul's, London, on the
20th of March, 1603-4, and thence continued by divers pro-
rogations to the 4th of October'', 1605. They were after-
wards ^ sent down to the York provincial Synod for approval
and ratification : and it was there decreed that " all * and
singular the said constitutions and canons ecclesiastical, and
the contents of them and every of them, be for ever here-
after of full power, force, and authority within the province of

4 Bv admit- ^^^^ fourth courso has been to admit proxies,
ting proxies from elected bv the Synod of York, into that of

the Synod of York ^, ''.''.

to that of Canter-

Canterbury, charged with power to assent to
or dissent from such propositions as might be j
there entertained. This mode of proceeding was pursued,
in reference to the establishment of our Book of Common
Prayer, in 1661. The provincial Synod of Canterbury"
met on the 8th of May at S. Paul's. On the 21st of
November^ the question of a revision of the Prayer Book
was entered upon; and inmiediately afterwards the Arch-
bishop of York, who was in London, sent to the prolo-
cutor of the province of York, and the rest of the clergy
of that provincial^ synod, desiring them to appoint proxies
to act on their behalf in the Synod of Canterbury. On
the 80th of that month the required proxies were ap-
pointed, being empowered ^ to assent to or reject what
should be proposed. Happily all was harmoniously ar-
ranged, for on the 20th day of December following "they
.13ook of Common Prayer and administration of the sacra-
ment andof the other rites of the English Church, together
with the form and manner of ordaining and consecrating
bishops, priests, and deacons,"'"' received the assent and con-

2 All this notwithstanding, the highest authority in the Enghsh Church stated
on Friday, July 11, 1851, in the House of Lords, that " the Canons of 1603 trere
never submitted to the province of York." This statement has been somewhat
surprisingly omitted in Hansard.



adopted for
same purpose a
proper subject for
grave considera-

sent, the approbation and subscription of the whole sacred

This is a precedent of grave importance, and well worth
attentive consideration. It might suggest a useful example
for future imitation. And it is to be observed that on this
occasion we find the Archbishop of York, and at least ^ two
of his suffragans, together with three proctors deputed from
the provincial Synod of York, all appearing in the Convoca-
tion of Canterbury, and there uniting to give that assembly
at least the authority, if not the appearance, of a " national

Such are the four methods which have been

VII. The ques- , , . . , • i xi

tion of the mode employed m our country to give national autlio-
the rity to the deliberations and acts of her synods.
The august and imposing character of the "na-
tional* synod" which would be assembled by
acting in conformity with the frst method above
mentioned, might be reasonably pleaded in favour of pursuing
such a course. But, on the other hand, it cannot fail to
occur to every one that grave difficulties would accompany
it — arising from the distances which separate the representa-
tives of the two provinces, from the nature of those duties
which renders any lengthened absence from their respective
spheres undesirable, and also from the inconvenience attend-
ing on the assemblage of so large a body of persons at the
same time and place.

Against the second and third modes of proceeding no ob-
jections of an equal character exist. But although a simul-
taneous meeting of the two synods in their respective pro-
vinces to discuss business, or the sending from one province
to the other drafts for ratification, might secure a national
authority to their common proceedings, yet by pursuing either
of these courses it is probable that delays would occur,
and that such impediments to wholesome management

^ " At least." The Bishop of Chester had been engaged in this business, for
he signed the letter desiring the York Convocation to send up pro.xies. His sub-
scription, however, and that of Bridgman, dean of Chester, one of those proxies,
do not appear at the foot of the acts of the synod.

* For the power of the Archbishop of Canterbury to call together such a synod,
see Cone. Mag, Brit. i. 325 ; iv. Appendix, 786.




would arise, as might entail consequences of great inconve-

To i\\c fourth mode of proceeding, that of receiving into the
convocation of the chief province representatives from another
province, charged with full power to act for the synod by
which they are deputed, none of the foregoing objections,
at any rate in like degree, seem to attach.

It would, indeed, be the height of presumption in an in-
dividual to give any decided opinions upon matters of so great
delicacy and such deep importance. But since the insufficiency
of one provincial synod to legislate for the whole national
Church has been frequently and somewhat unnecessarily urged
(for no one doubted the fact), it is perhaps not presumptuous
to suggest that these four modes of procedure deserve careful
consideration not only on the part of the provincial synods of
England, but also on the part of the Irish convocation, and of
the ecclesiastical rulers of our colonial Church. One of these
modes might suggest an example useful for future imitation.
And it is surely not an expectation too unreasonable to express,
that the deliberations of those grave and learned authorities
would arrive at such practical conclusions on this subject,
as would best tend to secure the integrity, and main-
tain the just authority, of the national Church of this great

A brief but general survey has now been
taken of the nature and constitution of diocesan,
provincial, and national synods. The vast and
important subject of cecumenical synods does
not fall within the scope of our present in-
quiry. Entirely leaving therefore that wide field for re-
search, as not fruitful for our present purpose, attention
will now be turned to the councils of our own native
land, to which this inquiry will henceforth be exclusively

For the sake of distinctness, and also in order to trace,
through the several stages of our history, the successive
changes by which the earliest ecclesiastical councils of Britain
have become what they now are, pure provincial synods with
very important powers annexed, or, as we call them, " con-
vocations of the clergy," it may be useful to divide the subject

VIII. The sub-
ject of cEcumeni-
cal synods not
within the scope
of the present in-



into defined periods. These periods will be exactly observed,
one chapter being devoted to each.

" loco ' ut disposta decenti

Omnia sint opere in toto, nee meta laborum
Usquam dissideat ingressibus ultima primis."

And this plan may perhaps lighten the labour of the reader, if
any such there should ever be.

^ Vida,
Poem. lib. 2,


A. D. 3;





I. Specification of terms used in the following inquiry— 1. National synod.
2. Provincial synod. 3. Diocesan sjTiod. 4. Mixed council. 5. Wittena-
gemote. II. British Church of Eastern origin. III. Early persecutions
of the British Church. IV. Accounts of early British councils scanty.
V. Manner of holding them. VI. All here detailed. VII. Synod of
S. Alban's. VIII. A mixed council. IX. Mixed Council of Snowdon.
X. Mixed Council of Stonehenge. XI. A mixed council. XII. Mixed
Council of Llandewy Brevi. XIII. Provincial Synod of Victory. XIV. Dio-
cesan Synod of Llandaff. XV. Mixed Council of Llanhvit. XVI. Diocesan
Synod " ad Podum Carbani Vallis." XVII. Diocesan Synod of Llandaff.
XVIII. Pro\'incial Synod of Augustine's Oak, session 1 — 1. Its object. 2. Its
date. 3. The place of assembly. 4. The persons present. 5. Computation
of Easter a subject of controversy, and a proof of the Eastern origin of the
British Church. XIX. Pro\-incial Synod of Augustine's Oak, session 2 —
1. Members present. 2. A digression on the computation of Easter. 3. Other
points discussed in this synod. 4. Ill success of Augustine with the British
bishops in tliis synod. XX. Proofs that the clergy were originally members
of all councils in England, whether civil or ecclesiastical. XXI. The clergy's
counsel and advice now slenderly regarded even in matters spiritual.

'Ap^Ofiai di cnrb riov Trpoyovuv irpiZrov, diKaiot' yap avTuig Kai irpiirov Sk
iifia, iv T(p Toi<f£t rijv Tifitjv Tavrrju tTiq jivt'ifiijQ liSoaOai. — Thucvd. lib. ii.
c. 30.

" Series longissima rcrum
Per tot ducta viros, antiquae ab origine gcntis."

ViRG. yEn. i. 641-42.

I. Spo.rification CONFINING lieiiceforward our attention exclu-

rnis used in
tlic following in-

of terms used in gj^,^|y ^^ ^j^g councIls lidd in our own country,


those which first come under notice in point of


time are the British assembhes of which records remain. For

A. D. 39—

the sake of affording a ready view of the nature and number of


the public assembhes held during the several periods of our

history, into which the subject is divided, a tabular list ' will be

prefixed at the beginning of each chapter ; and then such

remarks will be appended as seem calculated to throw light

upon our subject. And here in the outset it is necessary to state

the several denominations under which those assemblies will

be ranged in the tabular lists, and to specify the meanings of

the terms which will be respectively applied to each. It is true





Archbishop or



Nature of


S. Alban's ....

Spelm. Cone. i. 47.
Cone. M. B. i. 1.


Hody, 14



Spelm. Cone. i. 49.
Cone. M. B. i. 2.

Hody, 14


Erir, i.e. Snow-

Aurelius Ambro-

Spelm. Cone. i. 60.

Mixed CouncQ.


sius, elected

Cone. M. B. i. 7.
Hody, 15

Stonehenge ....

Dubritius, elect-

Aureiius Ambro-

Spelm. Cone. i. 60,

Mixed Council.

ed to Caerleon-

sius, crowned

note. Cone. M. B.


i. 7, note. Hody, 15


David, elected to


Spelm. Cone. i. 61.
Cone. M. B. i. ^

Mixed Council.



Llandewy Brevi



Spelm. Cone. i. 61.
Cone. M. B. i. 8.
Hody, 16

Mixed Council.




Provinc. Synod.

Hody, 17. Still.

Orig. B. p. 359





Spelm. Cone. i. 62.
Hody, 18. Coll. i.

Dioc. Synod.




Spelm. Cone. i. 63.
Coll. i. 139

Mixed Council.

Podum Carbani



Spelm. Cone. i. 63.

Coll. i. 140. Hody,

Spelm. Cone. i. 63.

Dioc. Synod.





Dioc. Synod.

Hody, 18. Coll. i.

140. Cone. M. B.i.
Spelm. Cone. i. 104.


Augustine's Oak

Metropolitan of

Ethelbert, Kent ;

Provinc. Synod.



Cone. M. B. i. 24.

Usk. Seven Bri-

Northumbria ;

Hody, 18. Coll. i.

tish bishops pre-

Cadwan, N.



Wales ;
Margaduc, S.






A.D. .39—

" Kennett's
Eccl. Syn.
p. 216.

b Wake's
Auth. of
Princes, p.
158. Kcn-
nett's Eccl.
Syn. p. 249.
Cone. Mag.
Brit. i. 94.

that in the accounts of our early pubh'c assemblies the words
"synod^" and "council" have often been used synonymously,
so that it is not always possible to determine the nature of a
meeting, from the fact of its having had either the one or the
other term applied to it. But it is equally true that the
most^ correct writers have made a distinction between those
terms, and have employed the word "synod" to signify a
pure ecclesiastical assembly, and the word " council" to signify
a lay assembly, or a mixed assembly of ecclesiastics and lay-
men. This distinction, for the sake of clearness, will be hence- .
forward carefully observed, and the various assemblies will be
placed under the following denominations.

1. National sy- National syiiocl will be used to signify a pure
'^'"^- ecclesiastical assembly, claiming national juris-
diction, and consisting of the members of the provincial synods
of England united into one body.

2. Provincial Provincial sywof/will be used to signify a pure
®^'"°''- ecclesiastical assembly, composed of the arch-
bishop, bishops, and chosen presbyters of a single province.

3. Diocesan sy- Diocesaii spiod wiU be used to signify a pure
"°*'- ecclesiastical assembly, composed of the bishop
and clergy of a single diocese.

4. Mixed conn- Mixed councH \\\\\ be used to signify an as-
^^^' sembly of clergy and laity united. In such

Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 10 of 83)