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 49 of 83)
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The transfer of titles to property from public bodies to pri-
vate persons, and that for no valuable consideration, bears a
suspicious character upon the very face of the deed. It is, as
was said, pretty clear that the behaviour of the religious was
not so exceptionable as has been sometimes represented ; but
even if they did not live up to their obligations it is by no
means plain that other men were warranted in seizing their
estates. For if disorderly behaviour was a lawful reason for
the transfer of houses and lands, titles to property in England
would become exceedingly precarious ; and some persons of
fashion and figure would find that they held under very slen-
der tenures. Nor does it seem that their possessions would
be more safely secured if it should appear that in any parti-
cular instances the property consisted of abbey lands.

A. D. 1.546.
K. Henry

e Eccl. Hist,
vol. V. p. 19.


A.D. 154C.

Robert Hol-



f Eccl. Hist,
vol. V. p. 22.

But even supposing the character of these institutions to
have been so shocking that it was incompatible with the cha-
racter of a Christian country to allow them any longer to
exist, that their example was so foul as to demoralize the
whole nation and bring all the rules of religion and the laws
of God into contempt, — if these establishments had even thus
widely missed the end and aim of their original institution, so
that it was absolutely necessary to suppress them, still it strains
an ordinary capacity to see how the public weal was advanced
by making grants of their property to court favourites, or
staking it upon the throws of dice. There are public objects
conferring more general and lasting benefits on mankind to
which one would think the buildings and revenues might have
been applied. Allowing for argument's sake that it was desirable I
forcibly to change the whole character of the institutions, yet
seminaries for youth, hospitals for the sick, colleges for orphans
and widows, almshouses for the poor, homes for the unfortu- j
nate, asylums for tlie aged, all these are objects which claim !
the attention of public benefactors. Property so disposed of
would have in some measure diminished any regrets felt for
the loss of older institutions. Somewhat would have been set
to the public account, and the purity of intention would have
been less problematical.

However, when public acts affecting the common weal are
managed by public men, it is an ungracious and, it is admitted,
a dangerous proceeding to impugn motives or doubt sincerity.
It is easy to attribute ill designs and suggest suspicions of pri-
vate interest. Actions of the most single-minded patriots, and
conduct arising from the purest intentions, have been thus
misrepresented. To interpret men's acts to the fairer sense
is the safest course, and it is well, upon some occasions, to
charge our ill opinions of others upon our own incapacity or
,, ,,. , "I do not deny," says Collier^, ''but that

Collier s sugges- . . .

tion on this sub- there might be sincerity at the bottom, and
that the courtiers might be governed by good
mejining and public regards. All that I say is, the disinter-
estedness of the matter doth not lie so open to common view ;
but then we are to consider that the inside of some tilings is
sometimes the most valuable. Some people's actions, like




rich mines, are less promising upon the surface, and when it
happens thus, every body hath not force enough to dig down
to the treasure, and reach the honesty of his neighbour's
intentions. However, it must be confessed tliere were several
shocking circumstances in the reign of Henry VIII. and
his children. For to see churches pulled down or rifled, the
plate swept off the altar, and the holy furniture converted to
common use, had no great air of devotion. To see the choir
undressed to make the drawing-room and bed-chamber fine
was not very primitive at first view. The forced surrender of
the abljeys, the maiming of the bishoprics and lopping the
best branches of their revenues, the stopping impropriated
tithes from passing in the ancient channel, these things are
apt to puzzle a vulgar capacity : unless a man's understanding
is more than ordinarily improved, he will be at a loss to
reconcile these measures with Christian maxims, and make
them fall in with conscience and true reformation ! "

It has been thought right to dwell thus at
tion in tiie num- somo length upou the dissolution of the abbeys
bcIs°of*our™pTO- and monasteries as being a subject intimately
vinciai synods by connected with our present inquiry. For from

the dissolution , ^ . p i

of the religious this act a diminution in the number of the mem-
bers of our provincial synods ensued. Those
assemblies, before composed of bishops, abbots, priors, deans,
archdeacons, capitular and clergy proctors, were now reduced,
with but inconsiderable exceptions, to the standard which
now prevails, viz. bishops, deans, archdeacons, capitular and
clergy proctors.

It is worthy of remark that by these events

Reduction also , -^^ n -r ■, i t - ii'

ofmemi.cisinthe the Houso of Lords was also diminished in
House of Lords. j^y^^^^3gj.g^ ^^^^ i^.lge^j ^^ s^ch an extent as the

houses of convocation, but still materially. Thus an impor-
tant change passed not only on the ecclesiastical synods of
England, but upon the upper house of the imperial legislature,
which was reduced by the number of mitred abbots and
priors who previously held "per baroniam," and enjoyed s
seats in that assembly. The members lost to the House
of Lords are reckoned as twenty-seven ^ by Fuller, twenty-
eight by the Lord Herbert, and twenty-nine by Sir Edward

K. H



« Col





A.D. 1546.




Robert Hoi-


' See cliap
ix. sec. 6".

J Vol. i. pp.
.'3.51 — 3")5.

„ , . . , The loss sustained bv the convocations in

Reduction m the ^ - ^

provincial synods consequencc of the dissolution of the rehgious
"'^"^ ^'^' houses was greater than by the House of Lords,

and its amount maybe discovered at a glance by a comparison
of the lists of members previous to the dis.solution, before
given ', with the lists here appended, which contain the num-
bers eventually left. The number of the members of the con-
vocations in the present day is nearly the same as that con-
tained in the documents quoted below, with this exception,
that the two additional bishoprics, Ripon and Manchester,
connected with the province of York, have added to the
members of that synod ; and that some instances of change
have elsewhere occurred, consequent upon fresh arrangements
in the ecclesiastical divisions of our country, as in the case
of the union of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol.

In order not to break in upon the continuity of the text,
notes are here appended giving the constituent members of
the two convocations as they existed subsequently to the dis-
solution of the monasteries. An inconsiderable number of
abbacies escaped for a season the general wreck, but this rem-
nant was so small as to be hardly worth consideration ; and
whether or not those who held the dignities still appeared in
our synods is not clear. A detailed account, however, of tlie
members of the Canterbury Synod, which assembled April 14,
1640, is given in Nalson's Collections J, and a list of the lower
house of that renowned convocation which met in 1661 for
the purpose of authorizing our present liturgy is still pre-
served in Kennetfs register '^ ; and from these documents
coupled together we may derive a sufficiently accurate account
of the constitution of the Canterbury Convocation subsequently
to the dissolution of the monasteries.

It appears that the Canterbury provincial
list of members Syuod \ at the pcriods alluded to in the docu-


Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop of London.

Bishop of Winchester.

Bishop of Worcester.

Bishop of Salisbvu-y.

Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry.

Bishop of Gloucester.

Bishop of Exeter.

Bishop of Norwich.

Bishop of S. Asaph.

Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Bishoj) of Oxford.

Bishop of Hereford.

Bishop of Ely. [Bishop of S. Da\-id'



subsequent to the meiits above mentioned, consisted of the fol- a. d. 1546.

dissolution of leli- , • , . K Hcmv

gious houses. lowing members, VIZ. : — , viii.

Archbishop of (




" '

Bishops .



Deans .



Precentor of S.

David's .



for Llandaff Chapter


Archdeacons .



Capitular Proctors ....


Clergy Proctors

i . . . .


Total Provincial Synod of Canterbury




— continued.

Bishop of S. David's.

Bishop of Chichester.

Bishop of Bristol.

Bishop of Peterborough.

Bishop of Bangor.

Bishop of Llandaff.

Bishop of Rochester.

Bishop of Lincoln.

Dioc. Cant.

Dean of Canterbury.



Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

Dean of S. Paul's.

Dioc. London.

Archdeacon of S. Alban's.


Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of London.

CoUege of Westminster.

Archdeacon of Essex.

Dean of Westminster.

Archdeacon of Middlesex.

Proctor for the chapter.

Archdeacon of Colchester.

Ai-chdeacon of Westminster.

Dioc. Winton.

Dean of Winchester.

Archdeacon of Surrey.


Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of Winchester.

Dioc. Ely.


Dean of Ely.

Archdeacon of Ely.

Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

Dioc. Bath and Wells.

Bath and


Dean of Wells.

Archdeacon of Bath.

Proctor for the chapter.

Archdeacon of Taunton.

Archdeacon of Wells.

Proctors for the clergy.

Dioc. Bangor.

Dean of Bangor.

Archdeacon of Anglesey.


Proctor for the chapter.

Archdeacon of Merioneth.

Archdeacon of Bangor.

Proctors for the clergy.

Dioc. O.von.

Dean of Christ Church.

Archdeacon of Oxford.


Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

\_Dioc. Rochester.




A.D. 1546.

In a former chapter

' we have seen that the numbers of


the whole provincial s}

nod of Canterbury (allowing thirteen

Robert Hol-

members for the diocese of Llandaff, omitted by some mistake


from the records) amounted before the dissolution of the

1 Vid. sup.
chap. ix.
sec 6

abbeys to 440. That

proceeding appears to have reduced



Dioc, Rochester.

Dean of Rochester.

Archdeacon of Rochester.

Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.


Dioc. Chichester.

Dean of Chichester.

Archdeacon of Chichester.

Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of Lewes.


Dioc. Salisbxiry.

Dean of SaUsbury.

Archdeacon of Sarum.

Proctor for the chapter.

Archdeacon of Wilts.

Archdeacon of Berks.

Proctors for the clergy.


Dioc. Lincoln.

Dean of Lincoln.

Archdeacon of Stowe.

Proctor for the chapter.

Archdeacon of Bedford.

Archdeacon of Lincoln.

Archdeacon of Leicester.

Archdeacon of Bucks.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of H'ontingdon.

S. Asaph.

Dioc. S. Asaph.

Dean of S. Asaph.

Archdeacon of S. Asaph.

Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

S. David's.

Dioc. S. David's.

Precentor of S. David's.

Archdeacon of S. David's.

Proctor for the chapter.

Arclideacon of Cardigan.

Archdeacon of Brecon.

Proctors for the clergy.

Arclideacon of Caermarthen.


Dioc. Llandaff.

Tlie Commendatory of the Archdeacon,

Proctor for the chapter.

[? Dean] and chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of Llandaff.


Dioc. Exeter.

Dean of E.vcter.

Archdeacon of Totncss.

Proctor for the chapter.

Archdeacon of Barnstaple.

Archdeacon of Exeter.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of Cornwall.


Dioc. Peterborotigh.


Dean of Peterborough.

Archdeacon of Northauijiton.

Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

IDioc, Xonrich.


them to 168. The southern synod was therefore diminished

A.D. 1546.

by 272 members.

K. Henry

York, list of The reduction of numbers in the northern

^ '

members subse-

quent to the (lis- synod was also considerable. It was shewn

gious houses. above ™ that previously to the dissolution of the

■" Vid. sup.
chap. ix.

sec. 6.



Dioc. Norivich.

Dean of Norwich.

Archdeacon of Sudbury.

Proctor for the chapter.

Archdeacon of Suftblk.

Ai-chdeacon of Norwich.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of Norfolk.

Dioc. Bristol.


Dean of Bristol. Archdeacon of Dorset.

Proctor for the chapter. Proctors for the clergy.

Dioc. Hereford.

Hereford. |

Dean of Hereford.

Archdeacon of Salop.

Proctor for the chapter.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of Hereford.

Dioc. Gloucester.


Dean of Gloucester. Archdeacon of Gloucester.

Proctor for the chapter. Proctors for the clergy.

Dioc. Lichfield and Coventry.


Dean of Lichfield.

Archdeacon of Stafford.

and Coven-

Proctor for the chapter.

Archdeacon of Shrewsbury.

Archdeacon of Coventry.

Proctors for the clergy.

Archdeacon of Derby.

Dioc. Worcester.


Dean of Worcester. 1 Archdeacon of Worcester.

Proctor for the chapter. 1 Proctors for the clergy.


Coll. Ch. of !

Dean of collegiate church. | Proctor for the chapter.

Wolver- 1


Chapel of

Dean of Windsor*.


* See Nalson's Collections, vol. i. pp. 351-5, and Kennett's Register and

Chronicle, pp. 480-2. Nalson gives the list of members who assembled April

14, 1C40. The document transcribed by Kennett was printed by Nathaniel

Brook in one large sheet, as " A catalogue of the prelates and clergy of the pro-

vince of Canterbm-y in the lower house of convocation now sitting at Westminster,

Monday, June 24, ICGl " (see Kennett's Register, p. 434). But it is observable

in the list given by Kennett that Worcester diocese (in error), Wolverhampton,

and Windsor are omitted, though a proctor for the Wolverhampton chapter, and

the Dean of Windsor, are mentioned as members of convocation by Wilkins in his

day, A.D. 1737. Vid. Epist. Dissert, p. xv.




A.D. 1546.




Robert Hol-


religious houses the whole provincial Synod of York con-
tained 96 members, but upon a perusal of the list given in
the note * it will appear that the assembly, subsequently to
that event, consisted only of the following, viz. : —

Archbishop of York ..... 1

Bishops ....
Deans ....
Archdeacons .
Capitular Proctors [York 2]
Clergy Proctors








Thus the northern synod was reduced from 96 to 55,
is, by 41 members.

While the nefarious and sacrilegious proceedings of K.
Henry VIII. deprived the southern synod of 272, and
the northern of 41 members, the upper house of the impe-


" In convocatione, a. d. mdcxxviii,
Dominus Archiepiscopus Ebor.
Episcopus Dunelm.
Episcopus Carliol.
Episcopus Cestriens.
Decanus Ebor.
Decanus Dunelm.
Decanus Carliol.
Decanus Costrise.
Arclndiaconus E :or.
Archidiaconus Eastriding.
Archidiaconus Cleaveland.
Archidiaconus Nottingham.
Archidiaconus Dunelm.
Archidiaconus Northumbrise.
Archidiaconus Carliol.
Archidiaconus Cesh-ife.
Archidiaconus Richmond.
Capitulum Ebor.
Capitulum Dunelm.
Capitulum Carliol.
Capitulum Cestriens.
Capitulum Southwell.
Capitulum Rippon.
Clerus Archid. Ebor.

Ex dissertatione Davidis Wilkins
constitutione, p. xvii.


, Maii 20 :"—

Clerus Archid. Nottingham.
Clerus Archid. Eastriding.
Clerus Archid. Cleaveland.
Clerus Archid. Dunelm.
Clerus Archid. Northumbrite.
Clerus Archid. Carliol.
Clerus Archid. Cestriae.
Clerus Archid. Richmond.
Clerus jurisdictionis decani et

Clerus jurisdict. capituli de Southwell.
Custos jurisdict. peculiaritatis de IIow-

Custos jurisdict. peculiar, de Allcrton,

&c., spect. ad episcopum Dunelui.
Custos jurisdict. peculiar, de Allerton,

&c., spect. ad decanum et capit.

Clerus jurisdictionis pecul. de Howden.
Clerus jurisdictionis pecul. de Allerton

episcopi Dunelm.
Clerus jurisdictionis pecul. do Allerton

decani et capituli Dunelm.

de veteri et moderna synodi Anglicanse



XIX. A.D. 1547
N. s. The two pro-
vincial synods
meet in Januaiv
—Death of K.
Henry VIII.—
Accession of K.
Edward VI.

rial legislature was also diminislied, as remarked before °, by
nearly 30 members, so that the civil as well as the ecclesias-
tical assemblies of our country felt the effects of those dis-
graceful acts of tyranny and spoliation.

We now pass on to the year 1547, and we
shall find during its course the provincial Synod
of Canterbury busily and successfully employed
in advancing the reformation of the English

The convocations of both ° provinces had been prorogued to
the same day, Jan. 15 (1547 n.s.). No business of import-
ance however as transacted at that time appears upon record.
The dangerous illness of K. Henry VIII. now foretold his
speedy end; and on the night °'' of the 28tli of January he
breathed his last, leaving his only son K. Edward VI. at the
age of nine years three months and sixteen days p the heir of
his father's crown, but happily not of his character. The late
king had by his will appointed sixteen executors for the i
management of state affairs, and to these were added a council
of twelve, whose duty was to assist vi'ith their advice. But
these gentlemen, having been many of them ^ raised from in-
ferior positions, as they were needed by their late master to
promote unworthy designs, had neither^ hereditary influence
nor proper qualifications sufficient for the direction and
management of the great affairs of this nation.

The Protector Thus they Were more readily induced to
Somerset. clioosc a protcctor ; and this appointment was

conferred upon the Earl of Hertford, shortly * afterwards
created Duke of Somerset. He was uncle of the young king,
and though by this relationship a suitable person for the high
office to which he was called, yet his subsequent proceedings
reflect little credit on his royal connexion, that is, if self-enrich-
ment by sacrilegious means is considered to cast any stain on
political character. Fuller indeed tells us that "the Duke of
Somerset was religious, a lover of all such as were so, and a
great promoter of the reformation." However, in another
place that author says, ■•' he built Somerset House, where
many like the workmanship better than either the foundation
or materials thereof. For the houses of three bishops —
Llandaff, Coventry and Lichfield, and Worcester — with the

A.D. 1547.
K. Henry

" Vid. sup.
n. 449.

° Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 1.3.

"° Hume,
chap, xx.xiii.
p. 350.

P Heylin's
Hist, of Ref.
p. I.

'i Hume,
chap x.\.\iv.
p. 354.

r Ibid.

Feb. 17.



A.D. 1547.




Robert Hol-


" Fuller,
Ch. Hist.
Cent. XVI.

book vii. p.

* Ilallani,
cited in
Coll. Hist,
vol. V. p.
523, note,
ed. 1840.

*f Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 2.
^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 3. 9. 29.
>• Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 10. 17.
27. 31.
^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 17.
* Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 30.

»> Cone.
Mac. Brit.

<■ Himie,
ehaj). .\x.\iv
p. 35.">.

church of S. JNIary-the-Strand, were phickt down to make
room for it. The stones and timber were fetcht from the
hospital of S. John "."

Now with all due regard to Mr. Fuller's powers of reasoning,
it is not altogether clear that these sacrilegious removals of
bishops' residences, the demolition of a church, and the destruc-
tion of a hospital, discover any excessive strains of devotion,
shew a distinguishing love for the religious, or prove the author
of such proceedings to have been a disinterested promoter of
true reformation. This nobleman, moreover, unless he had
been diverted from his purpose "■' by timely gifts of land, would
have swept away Westminster Abbey, and in that case pos-
terity would have been furnished with a still more sensible
and lamentable proof of his reforming zeal.

The practices of The protector and his colleagues during the
hif associateTIn ^arly part of the young king s reign issued in
spiritual matters. ^\-^q royal name commissions '% injunctions'',
letters -^ mandates ^, proclamations ^, and other instruments
which affect very excessive strains of ecclesiastical jurisdic-
tion. These gentlemen in such matters assumed greater
powers than, according to the just interpretation of the En-
glish constitution, appertain even to the crown itself. The
late king had not been backward in his assertions of preroga-
tive ; but his executors and the assistant council advanced
several steps beyond their late master ; and especially in the
commission vouchsafed to the Archbishop of Canterbury,
authorizing him to discharge^ functions which were already
inherent in his office, they arrogate powers so surprising as
to lead to the belief that they held very undistinguishing and
confu-sed ideas upon the difference between spiritual and civil
jurisdiction. They were persons, moreovei*, who displayed a
singular anxiety for retaining all that they had acquired by
sacrilegious spoliation in the preceding reign, and evidently
hoped by their peculiar managements to •= add more to their
store. As children of this world they were more than com-
monly wise in their generation. But the use which they made
of the prerogative of the crown, and the extent to which they
strained that prerogative, were the less warranted from the
extreme youth of the king. Those high powers and solemn
responsibilities which are entailed upon the anointed kings of



England can very hardly be thus exercised and fulfilled by
deputy. The personal and individual authority of the monarch
(notwithstanding a prevailing desire in ministers to usurp that
authority) seems no more than needful for the just and proper
discharge of such high functions. And as the infant now upon
the throne had not arrived at the age of ten years, it is a
stretch of the imagination "to suppose him a judge in con-
troversy ^ thus early, and make him say he knew what was fit
to be done.'" Upon a calm review of the proceedings of that
time it is hard to believe, as has been observed, " that ® a prince
so much within his childhood should be furnished with learn-
ing and grown up to that maturity of judgment, as to be in a
condition to pronounce upon articles of faith and to settle the
discipline and worship of the Church. This is a performance
which requires a very penetrating and enlightened under-
standing. To determine these points, all the advantages of
age and improvement are no more than necessary."

Homilies pub- But — to procccd to matters more intimately
^'*'^*^''- connected with our subject — we must trace that

part which the convocations took in the advancement of the

In order to ^ direct the teaching inculcated in sermons,
twelve homilies were now published. These homilies had been
composed five years before &, in 1542 n.s., and in the follow-

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 49 of 83)