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

. (page 38 of 83)
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 38 of 83)
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and the laws of your realme, the same to be abrogated and taken away by your
grace and the clergye. And such of them as shall be seen by your grace, and by
the most part of the said thkty-two persones to stand with Goddes lawes, and the
lawes of your realme, to stand in full strength and power, your grace's most royall
assent and authorite ones impetrate fully given to the same." — Cone. Mag. Brit,
iii. 754-5. Ex Rcgist. Warham in ann. 1532.

A.D. 153-3.
K. Ilcniy

I Att.
Rights, pp.

g 2.5 Ilcn.
VIII. c. 19.

I' April 25,




A. D. 1532






•' Cone.
Mao;. Brit.
iii. 749.

' Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 756.
J Coll. iv.
■f Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 756.

' Cone
Ma?. Brit,
iii. 756.

"> Cone.
Mag. Biit.
iii. t56.
" Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 756.

" Cone
l\l:ig. Brit,
iii. 756.

P Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 756.
1 Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 756.
■■ Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 756.
* See note
sup. sec. 5.

VIII. Judgment
of the two provin-
cial synods on K.
Henrj-'s and Q.
Catharine's mar-

of the learned lord chief justice and the other justices of the
Court of Queen's liench, a.ssigning to it a different position in
the chronology of our national records. In this instance of
legislation, whatever other charges may be raised against its
moderation, at least the ancient principle was again adhered
to, that conclusions touching ecclesiastical law should first be
arrived at in synods and afterwards confirmed by the temporal
sanctions of the civil legislature — a principle more scrupulously
observed during this period now under review than many
writers would have us believe.

The provincial Synod of Canterbury, after
the debates on the submission were concluded,
was continued to Nov. 5, 1532, and thence''
through several sessions to the 26th of JSIarch,
1533. On that day it met at S. Paul's ^ Arch-
bishop Warham J had departed this life in the previous August ;
his successor in the see of Canterbury, Archbishop Thomas
Cranraer, now brought down to the convocation documents''
connected with the divorce of K. Henry from Q. Catharine,
as well as some opinions ' of foreign universities on this
subject. The determination of the faculty of theology at
Paris, which embraced*" the judgment of the other universi-
ties, appears to have carried much weight with it, and to
have been referred to as a precedent" upon which the con-
vocation might safely order their proceedings and frame their
conclusions. The debate was carried on warmly, and ex-
tended through several sessions. On the 28th of JSIarch the
upper house, consisting ° of the Bishops of London, S. Asaph,
and Lincoln, with thirty-six abbots and priors, assented to
the judgments of the foreign universities, that the royal
marriage was void. The question appears to have been
divided into two heads for tiie consideration of the lower
house. On the second of April p it was determined* by a
majority there, 1st, that "it was unlawful i to marry a de-
ceased brother's wife," for that such a " prohibition ^ of the
divine law could not be dispensed with by the Pope ;" and
2ndly, on the following day (April 3) it was determined* that
the original marriage between the Prince Arthur and Q.

* Affirmatives in the whole convocation, 253 ; negatives, 1 ; according to Coll,
iv. 173.



Catharine had been consummated. On the 5th of April
Dr. Tregunwell, counsel on the king's behalf, appeared
(Master Rolland Lee appearing' for the same purpose on
May 13 in the York convocation) ; and these gentlemen
having made statements on the part of his majesty " and the
nobles of the realm, to the effect that matters concerning the
king and the unburdening of his conscience had been debated
in the convocations, desired that public instruments should be
prepared from their authentic documents, setting forth the
conclusions which had been arrived at. These instruments "
were accordingly drawn, and the judgment of the EngHsh^
Church is here recorded against marriage with a deceased
brother''s wife. It is not improbable but that the question of
marriage with a deceased wife's sister might, if formally
raised, be decided in the same way by the same authority '.
It therefore behoves those who move in this question, at the
present time, to proceed with cautious steps, lest perchance by a
heedless advance they may stumble into some serious difficulty
of which they have neither perceived the magnitude nor the
consequences. Neither should it be forgotten that the legiti-
macy of the crown of England, in the person of Q. Elizabeth,
was involved in the solution of this question, and that con-
siderations of no common gravity on that score are connected
with it. But to confine ourselves to our proper subject, the
same determinations on this matter with those of the province
of Canterbury were agreed to, as was before observed, by
the Convocation of York ^, two members only dissenting there
from each point proposed, fifty-one ^ voting by themselves
or by proxy upon the first, and forty-nine or fifty on the

After the affair of the divorce was concluded by the decision of
the two provincial synods, the ^ formal sentence was pronounced
by Archbishop Cranmer in the churcli of S. Peter, at Dun-
stable, in the diocese of Lincoln, on the 23rd of May, 1533.
This place % it is said, was chosen because Q. Catharine re-
sided in the neighbourhood, at Ampthill, and, as being near,
could not pretend to ignorance of the proceedings, and so
subsequently interpose delays to the conclusion of the process ;

5 Such a marriage is forbidden by the table of kindred and affinity authorized
by the 99th canon.

A.D. 1533.
K. Henry

' Conr.
Marr. Biit.
iii. 767.
" Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 757.

^ Cone.
Maff. Brit,
iii. 757 «.
w Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 757-3.

y Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 767.

^ Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 759.

^ Coll.




A.D. J534.


b Conr.
Mao;. Biit.
iii. 757.

<: Vide sup.
p. 336.
<i Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 7'25.
e Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 744-5.

f Vid.
p. 346


g Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 749.

'■ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 757-8.
' Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 7C7.

and thus a cause which had been six years under litigation
was determined at last. The Convocation of Canterbury after
concluding this long vexed business was continued through
sundry sessions to the 31st of ]\Iarch^ 1534.

IX Final re- ^" ^^^^ '^^^ mentioned day we meet with a
jection of papal most important event among such scanty

supremaey bv the ■, n i • i t e

provineial synods rccords of the couvocational proccedmgs oi
ng an . ^j^.^ period as survived the disastrous fire of

London in IGGG. It is, indeed, much to be regretted that
fuller records do not remain ; but it is, at any rate, a most
happy circumstance, that evidence is still forthcoming amply
sufficient to mark the dates of the formal rejection of the
papal supremacy in England by the respective synods of both
our provinces. The English Church had already virtually
thrown off the authority of the Pope ; but the full and formal
ratification of that act was reserved to this time. AVe may
trace three distinct steps as the acts of the Church in that
most just proceeding. The first step'' was taken in loSl,
when the Convocation*^ of Canterbury on the 11th of Feb.,
and that of York ^ on the -Ith of iNIay, recognized the king
"as the singular protector, the only and supreme gover-
nor, and, so far as the law of C/irisi permits, even the supreme
head of the English Church and clergy ; " thus di.sabling all
papal claims of power in England. The second step ^ towards
this consummation was taken in 1532, when the Convocation
of Cantei'bury, on the 15th s of May, consented, among other
things, to a review of the ecclesiastical law of England by
thirty-two commissioners, witliout any reference to Rome.
The third and last step was that decisive and definitive rejec-
tion of the papal supremacy, in direct terms, which will now
be considered. It should moreover be called to mind that,
since these two first steps had been taken, and previously to
the third, the English .Church had come into direct collision
with the papal authority on the subject of the legality of K.
Henry VIII.'s marriage with Q. Catharine. For the con-
vocations of both provinces, as we have seen, had decided that
such marriage was illegal; and those doci.sions were embodied
in public instruments by the southern province on ^ April 5,
1533, and by the northern, on J\Iay 13' in the same year.
The Pope, on the other hand, had decided that the marriage





was valid, nor indeed could he well have come to any other
decision on the principles by which he was bound. For if
Clement YII. had revoked the dispensation of his prede-
cessor Julius II., for the celebration of the royal nuptials,
he would have struck a very alarming blow against Roman
consistency, and the doctrine of infallibility would have
staggered under so heavy a shock. The decision of the
Pope, confirming the vahdity of K. Henry's marriage with
Q. Catharine, was embodied in an instrument J read before
the consistory at Rome ; and thus the papal see and the
English Church were in direct and irreconcileable collision
on this point as well as on others. As might be expected,
there now ensued the last and decisive act by which the
English Church threw off the fetters which had been so
long fastened upon her — the third and final step in those
proceedings which secured her independence on any foreign

The debates of the Canterbury Synod on
this subject (the registers having been burnt)
are not extant. But, happily, sufficient evidence remains
to fix the date of the presentation of the formal decision of
the lower house to the upper, on this important question.
It was on the Slst day of March, 1584. On that day'' the
sense of the lower house' was carried up to this effect, —


To the same conclusion the members of the

York Synod gave their unanimous'" consent

in their Convocation begun on the 5th of May following ; upon

which " a formal document upon the subject was drawn up and

signed with the seal of Archbishop Edward Lee.

The renunciation of the Pope by the English clergy and
the several religious bodies now became general. The
original instruments which were drawn up on the subject re-
mained for many generations in the Exchequer. The learned

^ " Eshibitum est scriptum per Will. Saye notar. public, de responsione domus
inferioris ad quaestionem, viz. : ' An Romanus pontifex habeat aliquam majorem
jurisdictionem collatam sibi a Deo in S. Scriptura, in hoc regno Anglise, quam alius
quivis externus episcopus?' "—Cone. Mag. Brit. iii. 769-

A.D. 1534.
K. Hcnrv

viii. ■

J Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iii. 769.

^ Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 76.0.
' Conf.
Fox's Acts
& Mon. 'J.
fol. 1-203.
apud Hevl.
Eccl. Viiid.

r. 7.

"1 Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 782.
° Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iii. 783.



[chap. X.

A.D. 1534.






o Coll. iv.
P Ibid,
q Ibid.
>• Ibid.

Vii-. JEn.
ii. li>3.

Mr. Wharton "had" in his custody no less than 175 "
authentic copies thence transcribed ; and "these transcripts p
contained the subscriptions of all the bishops, chapters,
monasteries, colleges, hospitals, &;c. of thirteen dioceses."
He also saidi, that "to his certain' knowledge the original
subscriptions of the remaining dioceses were lodged elsewhere."
So readily did the mass of the national clergy join in protest-
ing against tliat papal jurisdiction which was now renounced
formally by the provincial synods of England.

By such steps as those which have been described was
this long desired result achieved, and it may be dated as finally
and formally concluded by the act of the York convocation
begun on the 5th of May, 1534. To this period, then, wc
look back as being the era whence we may reckon the
restoration of the Church of England to her ancient indepen-
dence, and date the legitimate commencement of that refor-
mation which, by degrees, gave back to her the pure light of
the Gospel and the unsullied doctrines of the primitive faith.
Thus, by her own authoritative acts, the English Church
rejected the papal supremacy, banished that hostile power
which had so long restrained her just liberties, and in her own
provincial synods asserted successfully her righteous claims
to a proper national independence. The Pope's power in
England was no more : his jurisdiction, as far as this country
was concerned, now retired within juster limits.

" Iloste vacai-e domos, sedesque adstarc rclictas*."




BISHOP THOMAS CRANMER, A. D. 1534— SEPT. 14, 15';3.



I. Fresh hopes for the English Church. II. The Submission Act, 25 Hen. VIII.
c. 19 — The preamble of this act not according to truth— 1. Enacts that the
convocations always shall be assembled by authority of the king's writ—

2. Enacts that the clergy shall not attempt to enforce any old canons —

3. Enacts that the clergy shall not " enact, promulge, or execute " any new
canons without the royal assent and licence — A resolution of the learned judges
on this provision in the reign of K. James I. — But all precedents in courts of
law not binding on posterity — A remarkable instance in that age now under
consideration — More modern instances — Surprising announcements in the Court
of Exchequer, a.d. 1850, in reference to this statute before us — Still more sur-
prising announcements in the Court of Queen's Bench, a.d. 1850, in reference
to this statute — 4. Enacts that no canons shall be made repugnant to the pre-
rogative royal or the laws and customs of the land. — 5. Enacts that thirty-two
persons shall be appointed to revise the ecclesiastical laws — The " Reformatio
Legum " — 6. Enacts that a breach of this statute shall be punishable by impri-
sonment and fine at the king's will. III. An unfounded assertion. IV. Pro-
ceedings in convocation after the discharge of the papal supremacy and the
enactment of 25 Hen. VIII. c. 19 — Title of legate struck off from their metro-
politan by the Canterbury provincial synod — Addi-ess from the synod for the
suppression of heretical books and for a translation of the Scriptures. V. a. d.
1535. Cromwell — Monasteries — K. Henry VIII. excommunicated by Paul III.
VI. A.D. 1536. Canterbury provincial synod— Cromwell's ridiculous assump-
tion — Divorce of Queen Anne Boleyn by the synod — Erroneous opinions repre-
sented to the synod — Complaint against heretical books by lower house —
Articles of 1536 confirmed by the synod— Holy days defined by the synod —
Decision of the synod respecting the papal summons to Mantua — York pro-
vincial synod. VII. a.d. 1537- National synod — Cromwell's speech — Arch-
bishop Cranmer's speech— Bishop Fox's speech— The " Institution of a Chris-
tian Man." VIII. A.D. 1539. " Statute of six articles " (31 Hen. VIII. c. 14)
— Canterbury provincial synod— Statute of the six articles passed — Its cruel




provisions. IX. Canterbury provincial synod of Nov. 4, 1539. X. a. d. 1540.
National synod — A digression — Contract of marriage between K. Henry VIII.
and Anne of Cleves — The question of her pre-contract referred to the national
synod — A digression on the appointment of committees by synods — Proceedings
of a committee of the synod in reference to the contract between K. Henry VIII.
and Anne of Cleves. XI. a.d. 1542. The two provincial synods meet — Can-
terbury — Crannier's speech — The synod desired to promote the reformation,
and amend the translation of the Scriptures — A digression on the translations
of the Scriptures : WicklifFe's, Tindal's, Coverdale's, Matthews', HoUybushe's,
Cranmer's, Taverncr's — Debate in the synod on the translations of the Scrip-
tures— Prelates appointed to correct translations — Lower house united with the
upper for this purpose — Further proceedings with a view to reformation in
religion — Synodical origin of the revision of the English service books — ^New
edition of the Sarum use — Translation of the Scriptures impeded by K. Henry
VIII. 's interference — York. XII. a.d. 1543 n.s. Canterbury provincial
synod — Revision of service books — An order made for reading lessons in the
vulgar tongue. XIII. a.d. 1543. Canterbury provincial synod — "Erudition
of a Christian Man " — Its complete synodical authority. XIV. a.d. 1544 n.s.
Canterbury provincial synod — The Enghsh litany. XV. a.d. 1545. The two
provincial synods meet — The Canterbury synod — The York synod. XVI. a.d.
1546. The two provincial synods meet— A summary of all public records from
the discharge of the papal supremacy to the death of K. Henry VIII., shewing
that in spiritual matters synodical decisions preceded civil enactments. XVII.
Dissolution of the abbeys and monasteries — This subject important to our
inquiry, as thus our provincial synods were materially reduced in numbers —
Cromwell appointed visitor — The abbey commission — The lesser rehg'ous houses
fall — K. Henry VIII. covets the greater rehgious houses — The abbey commis-
sion surprisingly increased — The greater religious houses fall — Advantages lost
to the nation by these managements, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 — Profane disposal of con-
secrated property — Tlie king's coronation oath — Treasures of learning sacrificed
by the pillage of the religious houses— John Bale's evidence on this subject —
A defence of the spoliation of the religious houses untenable — Collier's sugges-
tion on this subject. XVIII. Reduction in the number of members of our
provincial synods by the dissolution of the religious houses — Reduction also of
members in the House of Lords— Reduction in the provincial synods greater —
Canterbury, list of members subsequent to the dissolution of religious houses —
York, list of members subsequent to the dissolution of religious houses. XIX.
A.D. 1547 N-S. The two provincial synods meet in January — Death of K. Henry
VIII. — Accession of K. Edward VI. — The Protector Somerset — The practices
of that nobleman and his associates in spiritual matters — Homilies pubhshed.
XX. The two provincial synods meet in November, 1547 — Canterbury — Four
petitions put up — Restoration of communion in both kinds by synodical sanc-
tion — Other business— Compulsory celibacy of the clergy discharged by the
synod — Dr. Redmayne's opinion on this subject — The foregoing synodical
decisions passed into acts of parliament — Denial of cup to the laity a modern
innovation of Rome. XXI. a.d. 1548 n.s. First reformed communion office.
XXII. First reformed Prayer Book — a.d. 154f). This book received full
synodical sanction. XXIII. Reformed ordination service. XXIV. "Refor-
matio legum Ecclesiasticarum " promoted again at this time. XXV. Second
reformed Prayer Book — Revision of the former book promoted in the Canter-




bury synod in 1550 — Its review by a committee of divines — Second reformed
Prayer Book received sanctions ecclesiastical and civil. XXVI. Forty-two
Articles of 1552— Publication of the Articles of 1552 — Corroborative proofs of
the synodical authority of the Articles of 1552. XXVII. Catechism of 1553.
XXVIII. General remarks on the sjmodical proceedings of this reign.

'Etti to (3e\riov to Trpay^a Ty ttoXii ^vvoiffSTai,

Aristoph. Nub. A. I. So. vi. 1. 594.

" Salve magna Deum manibus sata semine sacro,
Pulchra comis, spectata no vis virtu tibus arbos ;
Spes hominum, externi decus et nova gloria mundi."

Fracastor, Poem. lib. iii. 405 — 7-

The papal supremacy was now discliaro-ed by
T. Fresh hopes ^^ , e .u • ^^ i % T?

for the English the tormal acts 01 the provincial synods oi il-ng-

land\ That yoke which had so long been forced

upon our Church was removed by competent authority, and

her ancient liberty was rightly regained. Galling, indeed, had

A.D. 1534.
K. Heniy

> LIST OF ENGLISH SYNODS, a.d. 1534—1553.

Nature of Assembly.

1534, Nov

1535, Feb.

1535, Nov.

1536, Feb


York . .
S. Paul's

S. Paul's . .

1539, May S. Paul's

' i

1539, May York
1539, Nov.


1542 N.s.
Jan. 20

of Cant.

Edward Lee, abp.
of York
Th. Cranmer . .

Th. Cranmer . .

Th. Cranmer

Ed. Lee . . . .

Th. Cranmer
Th. Cranmer

S. Paul's . ,

Ed. Lee

Th. Cranmer . ,

Th. Cranmer .

S. Paul's , . Th. Cranmer . ,

Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII,

Cone. M.B. iii.
769. 776

Ibid. 783 .

Ibid. 770 . .
Ibid. 802-3

Ibid. 803. Coll.
iv. 343

Cone. M.B. iii.


State, 584
Cone. M. B.iii.


Ibid. 850 ... .
Ibid. 846 ... .

Ibid. 850-1.

Ibid. 860. 862

Provinc. Synod, with
continuations to De-
cember 19.

Provincial Synod.

Provincial Synod.

Cant. Provinc. Synod,
with continuations in
Feb. and March, dis-
solved April 24.

Provinc. Synod, with
continuations to July

York Provinc. Synod.

National Synod.

Provinc. Synod, with
continuations to July
1, 1540.

Provincial Synod.

Cant. Provinc. Synod,

with continuations to

Jan. 16.
Prov. Synod changed

into a National Syn.,

with continuations to

July 28, 1540.
Provinc. Synod, with

continuations to Ap.

3, 1542.

[1542 N.s.




A.D. 1534.






Cone. Eph.
and see Coll.
Eccl. Ilist.
vol. i. p. 84,

Labbe, torn,
iii. p. 801.

been the tyrannies of Rome, in her unjust assumption of
authority over provinces which had become subject to her,
not in accordance with the ancient laws of the Church, but in
direct contradiction to * primitive practice. Encroaching had
been her constant poHcy, at one time avaihng herself of civil
commotions, at others of foreign invasion, and at others of
political intrigue, to extend hither her spiritual sway ; and
in consequence frequent had been the collisions, though with
too little success on their parts, between our Churchmen and

LIST OF ENGLISH SYNODS, A.D. 1534 — l5o3— Continued.



Nature of Assembly.

















York . .






S. Paul's
S. Paul's

York . .

S. Paul's
York . .






1547, Nov.

1547, Nov.

1548 N.S.
Jan. 20

1548, April

1548, April
1548, Oct.


S. Paul's

York . .
York . .
York . .

Ed. Lee

Th. Cranmer . .

Th. Cranmer . .

Th. Cranmer . .

Th. Cranmer . .
Th. Cranmer , .

Robt. Holgate,
abp. of York

Th. Cranmer . .

Robt. Holgate . .

Th. Cranmer . .

Robt. Holgate . .

Th. Cranmer . .

Robt. Holgate . .
Robt. Holgate . .
Robt. Holgate . .

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.

Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.
Henry VIII.
Edward VI. .

Edward VI.
Edward VI.
Edward \l.

Cone. M. B,
iii. 862
Ibid. 863 ... .

Ibid. 868 ... ,
Ibid. 808-9 . ,

Ibid. 809 ... .
Ibid. 869. 871

Henry VIII. . . Ibid. 877

Ibid. iv. 1 . .
Ibid. iii. 877- •
Ibid. iv. 1 . .

Ibid. 3

Ibid. 15-16 ..

Ibid. 26 ....

Ibid. 26

Ibid. 26

Th. Cranmer . . lEdward VI.

Robt. Holgate . .
Robt. Holgate . .

Edward VI.
Edward VI.

Ibid. 15. 26,
I Strj'p. Mem,
I ii. 134
IConc. M. B,

iv. 26
!lbid. 26 . . . .

Provincial Synod.

Cant. Provinc. S},Tiod,
with continuations to

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 38 of 83)