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 35 of 83)
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1463; of Hugh Latymer^^ in 1532 n.s., and of others.

Convocations Occasionally, though not perhaps very fre-

sometimes, though quentlv, the convocation, itself having passed

not frequently, in- ^ " «» i • n- i "^ • i

flicted under'thcir Sentence ou the offender, niiiicted punishment
penalties ^on'"|')ti- Under its owu authority. But as it does not
*°"*- (at least so far as is easily discoverable) appear

that the convocations had available machinery for punishment
at their own disposal, this was not very often the case. There
is, however, an account of a penalty inflicted under their
own authority which is somewhat amusing, and perhaps in-
structive. In October, 1424, on the occasion of John Wathe's
trial, who was convened before the whole* convocation for
forging bulls with ^lartin V.''s name attached to them, the
offender confessed his fault, and submitted himself to the sen-
tence of the assembly. Archbi.shop Henry Chicholey, to whom
the office of giving judgment was committed, pronounced it in
the following March in the chapter-house at S, PauKs, and it
was thus executed '. The forged bulls were hung open round
John Wathe"'s neck, and a high paper cap was placed on his
head, bearing this inscription in letters large enough to be

^ Latimer's submission was couched in these words : " !M)' lords, I do confess
that I have misordered myself very farre, in that I have so presumptuously and
boldly preached, reproveing certain things, by whii-h the people that were infirm
hath taken occasion of ill. Wherefore I ask forgiveness of my misbehaviour. I
will be glad to make amends ; and 1 have spoken indiscreetly in vehemence of
speaking, and have erred in some things ; and n manner have been in a wrong
way (as thus), lacking discretion in many things." — Cone. Mag. Brit. iii. 7^7.

* " Coram toto concilio adducebatur quidam dominus Johannes Wathe," &c. —
Co:ic. Mag. Brit. iii. 429.




read by all bystanders, "the forger of bulls." In such guise
he was set upon a horse without saddle, and made to ride in
sight of the populace at the head of a general procession of
the whole city of London through Cheapside and Walbrook.
Thence returning by Watling Street, he was forced to witness
the burning of his forged bulls in a fire before the south door
of S. Paul's Cathedral, and then, being led into the church,
had to swear before the archbishop, that he would undergo
the same penance in the city of Lincoln and the town of
Great Grimsby, where it was asserted he had previously

Such a penalty, under civil sanctions, might, without much
impropriety, be considered fitting for the authors of many of
those mischievous publications which in this day disgrace our

But even if right-minded men would see
longs rather to without regret such ignominious punishments
*^' "^'^ P°^""- inflicted upon the authors of some of those
immoral, obscene, and blasphemous writings which ema-
nate from a portion of the press of the present day, — a
cause of shame to the virtuous, of gratification only to the
licentious and profane, — such inflictions would, under all cir-
cumstances, be best executed by the civil power. Corporal
and personal punishments are scarcely fitting weapons for the
Church''s warfare. Her arms are spiritual. The proper
penalty for her to inflict is a withdrawal of spiritual bless-
ing. Her province is to separate the wicked from the com-
munion of the faithful ; to forbid the unholy an approach to
her holy altars ; to deny him who scoffs at Christ's law any
participation in Christ's best gifts —

" Si autem Ecclesiam non audierit sit tibi sicut ctlinicus et publicanus ™."

A.D. 1279

"' S. Matt.




A.D. 1.500

— io;u.

Dean, Tho-
mas Sav.igc.




A.D. 1500—1534.



I. Death of Archbishop John Morton, and accession of Archbishops Henry Dean
and William Warham. II. The English provincial synods or convocations the
only rightful authority for efiecting a reformation in reUgion. III. Circum-
stances now tending to promote a reformation in religion — Luther — Removal of
large bodies of men from papal jurisdiction. IV. Domestic affairs of K. Henry
VIII. — English divines generally favourable to K. Henry's divorce and opposed
to the Pope in this respect. V. Origin of K. Henry VIII. 's notion of becoming
head of the clergy — Circumstances combined to promote the rejection of the
papal supremacy in England. VI. Meeting of Canterbury Synod, a.d. 1530 —
Clergy involved in a priemunire — The king endeavours to extort from them the
title of "supreme head," a.d. 1531, n.s.— The clergy resist — The king some-
what recedes — The title granted with a salvo— Proceedings of York Synod in
this business — Bishop Tunstall's protest — These acts of the two provincial
synods the forerunners of 24 Hen. VIII. c. 12. VII. Canterbury Synod, a.d.
1532 — Complaint of king and commons against the clergy — Clerg\''s first reply
— Clergy's second reply — Articles of submission transmitted to the synod —
Proceedings of the synod on the articles of submission — Final form of submis-
sion passed in synod. VIII. Judgment of the two provincial synods on
K. Henry and Queen Catherine's marriage. IX. Final rejection of papal
supremacy by the provincial synods of England — Canterbury — York.

Kai tKtivoi Tt a^tot tTraivov . . . KTr}(Tafitvot yap irpbc olg iSi^avTO, o(Tt]v
ixo/xiv apxriv, ovk dirovui, rjfiiv toiq vvv irpoffKareXiTrov. — Thucvd. Hist.
lib. ii. c. 36.

" Libertas quae sera tamen respexit."

ViRG. Ec. i. 28.

T Death of ArcHBISIIOI
Archbishop John

Morton, and ac- On the fifteenth day of September, a

John Morton departed this life




cession of Arch- in * the ninetieth year of his age. To him suc-
pearand"wi7 ceeded ^ HeniT Dean \ who was translated from
liam Warham. Salisbury to the see of Canterbury. After
this time the acts of the Canterbury Convocation were not
recorded in the archbishop's registers, as previously, but were
entered into distinct volumes. These last mentioned docu-
ments*' perished in the great fire of London, a.d, 1666. And

A.D. 1500

K. Henry

Biog. Diet.
b Coll.
Eccl. Hist,
iii. 448.
<= Hody, Pt.
iii. p. -281.

LIST OF ENGLISH SYNODS, a.d. 1500—1534.

1502 N.s.

1504 N.s

1509 N.s

1510 N.s
1512 N.s

S. Paul's, London

S. Paul's, London

Archbishop or


1512, Nov.

1515 N.s.








S. Paul's, London


S. Paul's, London


S. Paul's, London

Henry Dean, abp. Henry VII.

of Canterbury
Thos. Savage, abp.' Henry VII.

of York i

W.Warham.abp. Ct Henry VII.
Thomas Savage ..[Henry VII.
C.Bambridge,abp.Y Henry VII.




S. Paul's, London
Westmin. Abbey
Westmin. Abbey

Will. Warham .
WiU. Warham . . . .
Christ. Bainbridge

Will. Warham . . . .

WUl. Warham . . . .

Christ. Bainbridge
WiU. Warham....

Thos. Wolsey as
Chas. Booth, bp. . .


1530, April
29 t

1531 N.s.
Jan. 12

S. Paul's, London
S.Paul's, London


Will. Warham..
Thos. Wolsey . .
Thos. Wolsey

WiU. Warham .
WUI. Warham .

See vacant

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.

Ibid. 744

of Ely.
Pro vine. Synod.
Prov. Synod, con-
tinuations at
Westmin. chap-
ter-house until
March 28, 1531.
Prov. Synod, with
continuations to
May. 4.
[1531, Oct. 16
* Wolsey endeavom-s vainly to unite these two provincial synods into one national council,
t " Ipsorum prffilatorum et cleri atque abbatis et conventus dicti monasterii voluntate et
assensu expressis." — Cone. Mag. Brit. iii. 698.

J " Quantum per Christi legem licet etiam supremum caput." Title granted to K. Henry
VIII. in this convocation.


Henry VIII..
Henry VIII..
Henry VIII. .

Cone. M.B. iii,

Ibid. 647 ... .

Ibid. 647
Ibid. 649
Ibid. 651
Ibid. 651 ,
Ibid. 652 ,
Ibid. 657

Nature of

Ibid. 658 ,

Ibid. 658
Ibid. 658

Henry VIII... Ibid. 652
Henry VIII.

Henry VIII..
Henry VIII. .

Henry VIII. .
Henry VIII. .

Henry VIII..
Henry VIII..
Henry VIIL.
Henry VIIL.
Henry VIIL.

Henry VIIL.


Ibid. 659
Ibid. 661,

Ibid. 681
{Ibid. 693
Ibid. 699
Ibid. 698

iv. 49
\ 712

ilbid. 717....
Ibid. 724. 742-


Provinc. Synod.

Prov. Synod, with

Provinc. Synod.

Provinc. Synod.

Provinc. Synod.

Provinc. Synod.

Cant. Pro. Synod.

York Pro. Synod,
with continua-

Cant. Pro. Synod.

Prov. Synod, with

Provinc. Synod.

Prov. Synod, with

York Pro. Synod.

National Synod
of bishops.

Diocesan Synod.

Diocesan Synod.
. I Provinc. Synod.

York Pro. Synod.

Legatine Synod.





A. D. 1500

Dean, Tho-
mas Savage.

d Coll. Eccl.
Hist. iii.
^ Cone.
Majr. Brit,
iii. 647.

thus the student of our synodical history is taken at a great
disadvantage, from the loss of many of the records of our
Church which relate to that most important era now following.
Happily, however, from various collateral sources information
may be gathered ; and sufficient proofs of undoubted autho-
rity may be produced to shew that the reformation of the
English Church was her own proper work, and effected by
legitimate means, — the acts of her provincial synods.

Archbishop Henry Dean lived but a short time after his
promotion to the see of Canterbury. At his death Arch-
bishop William Warham* succeeded, whose first provincial
synod was held at S. Paul's % Feb. 16, 1504 n. s.

Having traced the constitutional history of
our convocations, as settled upon the ancient
basis of the primitive provincial synods of the
Church, we now must inquire, in the prosecu-
tion of the subject, into the part which the
convocations took in the proceedings connected
with that great event — the Reformation in England. It is of
course assumed, according to the universally admitted prin-
ciples of the Church of Christ in every age, that questions of
doctrine, religious rites, and spiritual discipline can only be
rightly and justly settled in the recognized synods of that
branch of the Church to which such questions apply. It is

II. The Eng-
lish provincial sy-
nods or convoca-
tions the only
rightful authority
for effecting a re-
formation in reli-

LIST OF ENGLISH SYNODS, A.D. 1500 — 1534 — continued.



Archbishop or


[531, Cct.

1532 N.s.
Feb. 7

1532, April

1533, Mar.

Westmin. chap-

Will. Warliam ,

Henry VIII.

York Edward Lee, abp. Henry VIII.

I of York I

Westmin. chap- Will. Warham Henry VIII.


S. Paul's, London Tlios.Craumer,abp. Henry VIII.
of Canterbury

1533, May York
13 i

1534, Mar I

31 !

1534, May, York

Ed. Lee

Thos. Cranmer
Ed. Lee

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.

Cone. M.B.iii. Cant. Pro. Svnod,


Ibid. 748—67
Ibid. 748-9 . .

Ibid. 756

Ibid. 767 • • . •

,Ibid. 76»

■Ibid. 782, and
Wake's App.|
221. ;

continuations to
March 21, 1532

Prov. Synod, with

Provinc. Synod,
continuations to
March 26, 1533.

Provinc. Synod,
continuations to
March 3 1,1534.

Provinc. Synod.

Cant. Pro. Synod.
Provinc. Synod.



by no means asserted that other and extraneous powers have
not been sometimes brought to bear on these subjects ; but
such managements should be looked upon as warnings, not as
examples. The mischievous eccentricities of tyrants which
abound in the pages of history may bring forth some fruit in
season, if they serve only to put succeeding generations on
their guard against repetition of outrage.

It would of course be quite beyond the limit of inquiry here
prescribed to attempt even the roughest outline of the history
of the Reformation generally in Europe. But it comes within
the proper scope of the undertaking before us to trace care-
fully and distinctly the part which our convocations took in
that great change as regarded our own country. And that
that part was far more important than has often been repre-
sented, will appear to any one who carefully considers the re-
cords which bear upon the matter. The Reformation could
only have been legally carried on by the formal acts of England"'s
provincial synods ; and that such formal acts were passed,
both in discarding the jurisdiction of Rome, and in ratifying
the authoritative documents, service books, and articles which
were subsequently received into this Church, and which now
form her code of laws and her authorized ritual, will, it is
hoped, appear to be satisfactorily proved as the subject is
proceeded with. The great act which led in due course and
by a natural succession of consequences to the completion of
the Reformation here was, the reject io7i of tlie fjapcd supremacy hy
the English Church. This important act was authorized finally
and formally by the Convocations of Canterbury and York in
the year 1534; and that era must therefore be looked upon as
the turning point at which our Church by her own inherent
power recovered her ancient liberty, and as the memorable
occasion which records a claim asserted by her own voice for
the restitution of her just independence. The present period
of our inquiry ends with that event, and it will be needful
to glance at some of the circumstances which led to it.

Ill Ciicum- Men's minds throughout Europe were at this
stances now tend- period generally directed to the abuses which

ing to promote a , , • i -r» ru ^

reformation in re- had grown Up m the Roman Church as regarded
^^''*°' doctrine and practice, and were busied in in-

vestigating the slender foundations upon which that Church

A.D. 1500

K. Henry



A. D. 1500


fCoH. iv.

g Coll. iv.

I Coll. iv.

J Coll. iv.


rested her assumed title to universal dominion. At the same
time, from the over-munificence of Pope Leo X., the papal
exchequer had become low, and endeavours were made to
recover it by the sale of indulgences.

This traffic in the hopes and fears of men
in reference to another world — never defensible
— was now carried to a shocking extent ; and the abuse
excited to action, in the year 1517, Martin Luther, a hermit
friar of Wittemburg. " He *" thought the people doubly
cheated ; and that they not only lost their money, but were
in danger of suffering much farther in their spiritual interest."
From his exertions a great movement commenced in Ger-
many. The controversy grew warm. Luther was cited ^ to
Rome to answer for his boldness. But the Pope being
solicited to permit the cause to be tried in Germany, made
concession, by consenting ^ that Luther should appear before
the legate Cardinal Cajetan at Augsburg. The hermit friar,
however, during the conference indulged in too great an exhibi-
tion of freedom, and the cardinal taking offence, their meeting
was brought to an abrupt termination. Upon this the Pope,
fearing lest his authority might suffer by the continuance of
the controversy, sent a bull to Cardinal Cajetan, which was
published at Lintz, in Au.stria. This document set forth the
value of indulgences, and the power of the Pope, as vicar of
Christ, to grant them ; maintaining also that such was the
doctrine of the Church of Rome, and that her resolutions in
faith ought not to be disputed. Luther saw that, if this bull
should be accepted as the exposition of the truth, his cause
was lost ; and as it was evident that there was now no hope
of a reconciliation between himself and his antagonist, he
began to manage the controver-sy with less reserve, used more
freedom of language, and so widened the breach, already suffi-
ciently alarming. He, informed the Pope that so long as he
taught the truth his autliority should not be opposed: but then'
he made bold to add, that even his holiness was not exempt
from such infirmities as are common to men ; that tlie com-
bat was unequal between so powerful a prelate as the Roman
Pontiff and himself; and that he must retreat for protection to
a council. Thither, therefore, he referred his case, as to " the^
last resort of justice, and the highest authority in the Church."




Much excitement, somewhat adverse to the papal claims, was
caused by this appeal : upon which Luther, perceiving his
doctrines to advance and his party to increase, took up fresh
ground, made further inroads upon his antagonist's position,
and struck at other points — decrying auricular confession, and
assailing the weaknesses of the monastic orders. He made,
also, demands of a more pressing character than before, and
claimed the restitution of the cup to the laity in the holy
communion. To so direct and general attack the Pope
thought it necessary to oppose a bold front ; he published a
bull in which he "condemns'^ forty -two articles in Luther's
doctrine, prohibits the reading of his books, and orders them
to be burnt." The flame was thus no longer smouldering, but
now burst forth with open violence. Luther's resentment was
so far kindled when he heard of the burning of his books at
the universities of Louvaine and Cologne, that he ventured
upon reprisals similar in kind ; and before the assembled
university of Wittemberg had a fire prepared, into which he
threw, the Pope's bull and decretals together. These rough
proceedings on both sides laid the foundation of the Reforma-
tion in Germany, and were not without their effects on the
subsequent history of our own country.

Removal of It was uot ouly in reference to the doctrines
men' fmm'papai taught, that the Reformation of the sixteenth
jurisdiction. century worked an alteration on the Church at

large ; but a deep and important change was effected by the
blow struck at the indefensible claim of papal supremacy,
and by the consequent removal of vast bodies of men from the
influence of Roman jurisdiction. The English Church, of
old time independent of Rome, had by various arts in
which the Popes were well skilled been brought into sub-
jection, but now opportunities appeared to present them-
selves for the recovery of her ancient liberties. We have
seen in former chapters^'' how ill English Churchmen bore
the interference of the Roman see, the mission of legates
into this country, and the assembling of synods here under
that foreign authority. The general aspect of the affairs of
Europe seemed however now to hold out a promise that by the
assertion of her just rights the Church of England might free
herself from the fear of such encroachments for the future.

A.D. 1500

K. Henrv


" Coll.

kk Chap. V.
sec. 19, and
cliap. viii.
sec. 11.




A.D. 1500


Coll. is

m Coll.,iv.

n Coll. iv.

" Coll. iv.

oo Virg.
JEn.iv. 172,

The opportunity ^vas hopeful, and she ultimately made good
use of it.
„. ,, ,. There were, moreover, other circumstances of

IV. Domestic ^

affairs of K. an unusual character connected with this country

Henry VIII. , . ., • i • , • ,

at the juncture under consideration, which
somewhat tended to affect the current of ecclesiastical affairs.
K. Henry V III. married early in life Catharine of Arragon,
the widow of his elder brother. Prince Arthur. To marry a
brother's widow was in direct contradiction to the law of the
Church ; and therefore, in order to render this second mar-
riage of Catharine a valid one, a dispensation ^ was obtained
for its solemnization from Pope Julius II, The children of
K, Henry VIII, and of Queen Catharine died young, with the
exception of the Princess Mary, afterwards Queen of Eng-
land. Now as time wore on K. Henry VIII. transferred his
affections °^ from his wife to Ann Boleyn, and so cast about to
devise means by which he might, under the protecting mantle
of law, cover his wickedness in discarding his first partner
and joining himself to another. To this end he said that his
conscience " was vexed at having married his brother's widow.
He suggested that he was troubled with fears lest the Pope's
dispensation, which allowed him so to marry, was null and
void; for though his holiness "could" dispense with the
canons of the Church, he had no privilege to relax the divine
laws." Hence the king argued that his marriage with Queen
Catharine was an improper one ; and so sought to be absolved
from it, in order that he might enter into the holy estate of
matrimony with one against whom no such exceptions could
be brought —

'.' Conjugium vocat, hoc praetexit hominc culpam ""."

It would be out of place here to enter into the interminable
correspondences which pas.sed between K. Henry and the
Popes on this subject. All the powers which his majesty
could bring to bear were exercised to induce the successors
of Julius II. to cancel the dispensation which he had given
for the royal marriage. And, on the other hand, all the delays
which the court of Home could devise were interposed so as
to prevent the conclusion of this thorny business either one
way or the other. If their holinesses gave a blank refusal,



there was danger of bringing clown upon themselves the anger
of K. Henry VIII. and his ally Francis, the king of France.
If, on the other hand, they consented to annul the original dis-
pensation of Julius II., so as to dissolve the marriage of
K. Henry with Q. Catharine, and leave him free to marry
again, the Emperor Charles V. (who was her nephew) would
have been highly displeased, and might have proceeded to
exact reprisals of a temporal character in return for such an
exercise of spiritual authority. And besides these menacing
horns of this dangerous dilemma, there was somewhat else in
the way which rendered any advance towards the king of
England's wishes exceedingly perplexing. For one Pope to
retract documents which another Pope had authorized (though ^
indeed, such a contingency is not without precedent) would
be matter of ill example, and might go far to shake the
opinions of men in the doctrine of infallibihty.

It must be remarked that the English divines
were generally favourable to the divorce of
K. Henry from Q. Catharine, holding the
opinion that in such a matter the original dis-
pensation of Pope Julius II. was a strain of
power which he had no right to exercise, and therefore that
the acts consequent upon it were null and void. If therefore
all submission on the part of the English Church to the
court of Eome should be thrown off, and a judgment of the
provincial synods of England should be obtained inK. Henry's
favour, the most formidable obstacles to his wishes would be
removed, and he would be enabled to enter upon his new
marriage under ecclesiastical sanction. And, indeed, the
Convocation of Canterbury did subsequently, in April, 1533,
vote for the divorce, carrying the question by large majo-
rities P * ; the York Convocation following their example i in
the month succeeding.

2 Sec the case of Apiarius, the African presbyter, and the Canons of Sardica,
misqvioted by Pope Zozimus, and by him attributed to Nice, and subsequent con-
duct of Popes Boniface and Coelestine. — Co 1. i. 78 — 80.

* Two questions were debated ; I. Was the marrying a deceased brother's wife
after consummation of marriage prohibited by God's law and above the Pope's dis-
pensation? — affirmatives, 253; negatives, 19, II. Was the marriage between
Prince Arthur and Queen Catharine consummated ?— affirmatives, 41. — Cone.
Mag. Brit. iii. 756. Vide infra, sec. viii.

English divines
generally favour-
able to K. Henry's
divorce and op-
posed to the Pope
in this respect.

A. D. 1500

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 35 of 83)