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 50 of 83)
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ing year'^ were brought' into the synod. Never however
having been authorized by the late king, they had lain by ; but
now receiving that last imprimatur, the royal ratification, by
which they obtained the authority of the State as well as of
the Church, they were published. It is admitted that not-
withstanding we find these homilies introduced into the convo-
cation in 1542 N.S., there is no record of their having been for-
mally passed there, though it seems that Cranmer J was satisfied
at the time of their authority. At any rate, if a deficiency in
this respect now existed, it was fully made up afterwards when
they were ratified by the convocation of ^ 1553 n.s., and en-
joined with twenty-one more by the synod of J 563 n. s., thus
making up the thirty-three homilies now received by the Church,
and authorized by the thirty-fifth of our present articles.

XX The two ^^^ ^^^^ parliament of K. Edward VI. met
provincial synods Nov. 4, 1 547 ^ The Convocatious of Canter-

A.D. 1547.
K. Ed. VI.

d Coll. V.

e Coll.

f Hume,
chap, xxxiv.
p. 356.
s Att.
Rights, p.

'• Vid. sup.
p. 411. &
Cone. Mag.
i Feb. 1(),
1543 N. .s.

J Att.
Rights, p.

' Hume,
chap, xxxiv.
p. 359. &
Stat, at
large in loc.




» Sess. 1.
P Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 15.
1 Cone.
Mag. Biit.
iv. 15.
■■ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 15.
« Att.
Rights, p.

* Strype's
p. 155.
" Warner,
ii. 249.
V Coll. V.


" 31 Hen.
VIII. c. 14.

*Nov. 18.
* Strype's
p. 155.
" Sess. 3.
= Nov. 22.
<' Strype's
p. 155.

«" Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 15. &
p. 155. &
Coll. V. 220,

meet in Novem- bury ™ and York" assembled on the following
^*^' ' day — that being then as now the usual practice.

To the convocation of the Canterbury province now con-
vened especial regard is due, because to it we owe the syno-
dical re-estaljlishment of the communion in both kinds ; — that
sacred inheritance of the Church bequeathed by her Lord, but
of which she had for some time been deprived by the corruption
of Roman error. The compulsory coelibacy of the clergy was
also discharged by this synod.

On ° the 5th of November the southern p

an ei urj . gyjjQ(j assembled at S. Paul's. The authorized
religious 1 ceremonies having been concluded, and the usual
formal ^ documents produced, John Taylour, dean of Lincoln %
was elected prolocutor of the lower house by universal con-
sent '. At the opening of this convocation, according to
custom, Archbishop Cranmer" addressed the assembly on
subjects connected with the business which would be brought
under their notice. He reminded the clergy that it was their
duty to abide closely ^ by the rule of Holy Scripture, to pro-
mote the cause of true reformation, and to divest the Church of
such remains of error as were inconsistent with primitive usage.
Some of the clergy, however, were imder apprehension '^ lest the
act of the six articles ^, that cruel enactment of parliament
denominated the whip with si.-^c strings, should be applied if
they punctually discharged their duty. But these fears were
removed, Cranmer prevailing with K. Edward to release
the penalties of that statute, and thus the synod was enabled
to enter freely and fearlessly into the needful debates.

In^ the second^ session Dr. Taylour the prolocutor was
presented ^ to the archbishop.

Four petitions I^ ^ the third "^ scssion ^ four petitions of an im-
P"* "P- portant character were agreed upon in the lower

house, and it was decided that these should be carried up by the
prolocutor to the archbishop. They wei'e to this effect : —

1. That^ provision be made that the ecclesia.stical laws
may be examined and promulged according to that statute of
parliament in the 35th year of K. Hen. VIH,

2. That for certain urgent causes the convocation of this
clergy may be taken and chosen into the lower house of i
parliament, as anciently it was wont to be.




A.D. 1547.

K. Ed. VI.

f Vid. sup.

this <liap.

p. 412, ad

an. 1543


Mag. Brit.

iii. 863.

3. That the works of the bishops and others, who, hy the
command^ of the convocation^ have laboured in examining, re-
forming, and pubhshing the Divine Service, may be produced
and laid before the examination of this house.

4. That the rigour of the statute of paying the king the
first-fruits may be somewhat moderated in certain urgent
clauses, and may be reformed if possible.

As regards these four petitions, the first refers to the
publication of that book which was afterwards printed under
the title " Reformatio legum Ecclesiasticarum," and of which ^
notice has been taken above.

As regards the second petition, the clergy insist on the due
execution^ of the " preemunientes clause" in the bishops'
summons to parliament, by which chosen representatives of
the clerical order (as we ^ have seen above) had a constitu-
tional right at that time, a right still in our own time re-
maining, to be summoned to parliament and to take their
places in the House of Commons at least as spiritual advisers.
But if this request were not granted, the lower house of con-
vocation desired that no •> statutes or ordinances which should
be made " concerning matters of religion and causes ecclesias-
tical may pass without the sight and assent of the said clergy."

Now this does not seem an^ unreasonable request, or
one unsuitable to any period of our history. For if the
constitutional right of sitting as spiritual advisers in the House
of Commons upon due application should be denied to the
parliamentary^^ representatives of the clergy, it would seem an
unwarrantable strain of rigour to deprive their convocational
representatives also of the divine right of supervising matters
spiritual in their proper synods. Even if it appears a war-
rantable stroke of sound policy to cancel the rights of the
clergy as subjects of the realm, it is certainly a less pardon-
able exercise of power to annihilate an important part of their
proper functions as ministers of Christ. It is hard to perceive,
at any rate, how either proceeding can tend to serve the cause
of constitutional law, or strengthen the foundations of spiri-
tual religion.

As regards the clergy"'s third petition, respecting the labour
of those bishops who had been engaged in reforming the of-
fices of Divine Service, it may be observed that this is a very

S Supra

h Coll. Eccl.
Hist. vol. V.
p. -221.
' Vid. sup.
chap. ix. pp.
272 & seq.

J Coll. V.
221. & Cone,
Mag. Brit,
iv. 15.

k See Re-
cords, No,
56. Coll.
vol. i.x.

kk Sup. ch.
i.Y. pp.272-




A.D. 1547.




Robert Hol-


' Vid.sup.p.
412. & Cone.
Map. Brit,
iii. 863.
»' Viil.
infra, sec.

Sess. 4.

o Strypc's
Life of
p. 15.5.

P Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 16.
q Strype's
p. 135.

s Sess. 6,
Dee. 2.
' Strype's
Cranmer, p.
156. Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 16. Coll,
Reel. Hist.
V. 220. 224.

important record, as shewing that that work had been done by
the command* of convocation. Indeed, this doubtless refers to
the arrangements which had been made in the convocation
held' at the beginning of the year 1543; but of this more
hereafter™, when we come to consider the first Prayer Book
of K, Edward VI/s reign.

As regards their fourth petition, since it simply involves a
question of money payments, we may pass by that matter, con-
sidering that others of a spiritual character and of much greater
importance are pressing on our notice. It may, however, be
observed by the way that the first-fruits of benefices, the
subject of this petition, were by the pious bounty of good
Queen Anne subsequently restored to the uses of the Church,
and now form part of that fund which is devoted to the erection
and reparation of glebe-houses in England.

Of the fourth session of this convocation " no records re-

Restoration of In the fifth ° scssion, however, held on the SOth
^Xkinirbv s'v" of November, a matter of the highest and most
nodieal sanetion". solemn' interest to the English Church — the re-
storation P of the communion in both kinds — was introduced
into the synod. " This i day JMr. Prolocutor exhibited and
caused to be read publicly a form of a certain ordinance,
delivered by the most reverend the Archbishop of Canterbury,
for the receiving of the body of our Lord under both kinds, viz.
bread and wine. To which he himself subscribed and some
others, viz. Mr. Prolocutor, Mr. Cranmer, archdeacon of
Canterbury, Mr. May, Mr. Jenyngs, Mr. Williams, Wilson,
Carlcton, &c."

And' in the following session, held Dec. 2, a synodical
decree on this most important point was carried without a
dissentient voice. " This ^ session, all this whole session *, in
number sixty-four, by their mouths did approve the proposi-
tion made in the last -session, of taking the Lord's body in
both kinds, 'nullo reclamante.'' "

* " Item ut opera einscoporum ct aliorum, qui alias, cv maiulato convocationis
servitio divino examinando, reformando, et edeiido invigilarunt, proferantur, et
liujus domus c.xaminationem subeant." — Cone. Mag. Brit. iv. 15.

^ Some larger account of this memorable convocatioik may be read in Bishop
Stillingflect's Irenicum, pp. 397 — 402, and Strype's Cranmer, pp. 155-7.




^ , , . A committee ® was also appointed " to draw

Other business. t « « p i-

up the form of an act of parliament for the pay-
ment of tithes in London.

In' the seventh^ session, held Dec. 9, another committee'
was appointed on the subject of the second and fourth petitions
carried up in the third session to the upper house. And two
gentlemen * were nominated to accompany the prolocutor on
an interview with the archbishop, " to ^ know a determinate
answer what indemnity and impunity this house shall have to
treat of matters of religion, in cases forbidden by the statutes
of this realm to treat in."

Compulsory cce- The eighth y and last session was held on the
gy'''Ischarged^by ^^^^^ °^ December, and here again an important
the synod. syuodical docision was decreed. Not one, indeed,

so deeply affecting the sacred mysteries of the Church of
Christ as that determined upon in the sixth session, but still
one which cast off a badge of corruption imposed by Eo-
man usurpation, and during the reformation in the Church
of England borne by her even up to this time. " This ^
day was exhibited a certain proposition under these words :
viz. That all such canons, laws, statutes, decrees, usages,
and customs heretofore made, had, or used, that forbid any
person to contract matrimony, or condemn matrimony ah*eady
contracted by any person for any vow or promise of priesthood,
chastity, or widowhood, shall from henceforth cease, be utterly
void, and of none effect." To which proposition many sub-
scribed partly in the affirmative, partly in the negative ;
fifty-three members appearing in favour of it, and twenty-two
against it.

Thus was the compulsory imposition of ccelibacy on the
clergy synodically discharged by a majority composed of more
than two-thirds of the whole number voting. And that this
decision was considered as authoritative "in foro conscientise,"
even by some of those who opposed it by their voices, we may
gather from the fact that several' members whose votes

" Mr. Dray cot, Bellasis, Dakins, Jeffrey, Ellyce ap Rice, Oking *, Pool, and
ap Harry.

7 Mr. Rowland Merick, John ap Harry, John WilUams, and Dr. f Eliseus Pi-ice.

* Dean of Winchester and Mr. Draycot.

^ Dr. Oken, Mr. Rayner, Mr. Wilson, &c. — Strype's Cranmer, p. 157.

A. D. 1547.
K. Ed. VI.

" Strype's
Cramner, p.
1.56. Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 16.
" Sess. 7.
w Cone.
Ma?. Brit.
Cranmer, p.

^ Strype's
p. 156.

y Sess. 8.

» Strype's
Cranmer, p.
156. Cone.
Ma<r. Brit.
iv. 16. Coll.
Eccl. Hist,
vol. V. p.

+ .' Ellyce
ap Rice.




* Strype's
Cianmer, p.
157. Cone.
Miig. Brit,
iv. 16, 17.

b Vi<l. sup.
p. 35 1 .

c 1 Edw.
VI. c. 1.
VI. c. 21. &
sec Warner
ii. 270.

were now on the negative side subsequently considered
themselves justified in entering upon the holy state of matri-

^ _ , , It may also be remarked bv the way that
opinion on this Dr. John Rcdmayn, a very learned divme, and
^" ^^*^'' one of great credit for ability in deciding ques-

tions of conscience, having been absent from this session of
convocation, was subsequently desired to declare his sense on
the point decided as above in the synod. His opinion* he
gave in writing to the following effect. The word of God
counselled priests to live unmarried, yet the positive restraint
on their matrimony depended only upon ecclesiastical canons ;
he thought that the prie.sts in the Church of England were
bound by no vow on the subject ; and that since canons on
such a subject were neither universal or everlasting, but might
be altered upon consideration, " therefore the king's majesty
and the higher powers of the Church may, upon such reasons as
shall move them, take away the clog of perpetual continency
from the priests." From which opinion, as it respected the
higher powers of the Church, we may gather that that learned
man paid greater deference to the authority of our provincial
synods than some persons of the present day.

The foregoing

iS^ow here we are to consider that this


8io"n*f paLed InTo viucial synod had decided upon two most impor-
actsof parliament, tant points. The importance of the first, indeed,
which authorized the restoration of the cup to the laity in
the holy communion, as affecting the highest mystery of the
Christian religion, cannot be overrated, and is a matter of
equal, perhaps of greater, consideration than the synodical
discharge of the papal supremacy'' in 1534.

The second decision referred to, which allowed the clergy
to marry, though a matter of far inferior consequence, still
effected a considerable change in the discipline of the English
Church. Both these decisions were subsequently ratified by
the civil legislature, and were the footstones upon which two
acts of parliament were afterwards built : one entitled " an
act •= against such as shall unreverently speak against the sacra-
ment of the altar and of the receiving thereof under both kinds,"
the other entitled " an acf to take away all positive laws made
against marriage of priests." It may be observed that this last




act did not follow, as in the former case, immediately upon this
decision of convocation. The cause was this : after the deter-
mination respecting- the marriage of the clergy was arrived at
in the synod, a bill on the subject was forthwith brought into
parliament. It was ^ read thrice in the commons, and agreed
to. Thence it was sent up to the lords ; but as their session
ended within a few days after the matter ^ came before them,
it lay unfinished. In the following year therefore, 1548, the
synodical decision, not having yet obtained the force of statute
law, was again " debated earnestly and thoroughly sifted in the
convocation^." On this occasion a greater number of the
lower house voted for the relaxation of the coelibacy of the clergy
than before. The former '^ number of fifty- three supporters
of the measure now' increased to seventy, and most of the
bishops in the upper house also subscribed^ a document in
favour of annulling the restraint. Upon this second synodical
decision the statute above referred to was enacted ^.

In reference to this act of parliament \ and its successor on
the same subject™. Collier thinks it right to be somewhat
pleasant. While generally commending the object of the
statutes, his view seems to be that it was, to say the least, an
odd management on the part of the parliament to dispossess
the clergy of a great part of their incomes and then to legalize
an increase in their expenditure. " When " the tithes," he
says, " were taken away in many places, and the parish duties
lessened, they had the freedom of engaging in a more expen-
sive way of living : when the revenues were cut short, it was
at their choice to increase their charge. They had an oppor-
tunity of wanting more things when the means of procuring
them were more slender than ever. Thus they had liberty
without much property. They might if they pleased be legally
undone, and starve by act of parliament."

However, in these two instances of legislation respecting
the "holy communion," and " the marriage of the clergy," we
see again the ancient principles of the British constitution
adhered to, viz. that decisions on spiritual matters should first
be settled in synods, and subsequently, if approved, be armed
with the force of law by the intervention of the civil power.
What was established by the synod " became ° obligatory ' in
foro conscientise ;' and was then confirmed and ratified by

A. D. 1547.
K. Ed. VI.

<^ Strvpe's
Mem. vol.
ii. p. 134.

S Strype's
Mem. vol.
ii. p. 134.
I' Vid. sup.
p. 401.
' Strype's
Mem. vol.
ii. p. 134.
J Ibid.

i<2& 3
EJw. VI.
c. -21.
1 -2 & 3
Edw. VI.
c. 21.


Edw. VI.
c. 12.

" Coll. V.

° Wheatly
on Com.
Prayer, pp.
28, 29.




A.D. 1547.




Robert IIol-


P Rev!^!.

on Siipre-

PP Vid. sup.
p. 4G0.

Rev. R. I.

on Supre-
macy, p.

>■ Warner,
Eccl. Hist,
ii. 25G.
« Strype's
Cranmer, p.

• Strype's
Cranmer, p.
156. Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 16. Coll.
Eccl. Hist.

V. 224.
" Att.
Rights, p.

» 1 Edw.

VI. c. 1.
» Sec. 7.

the supreme magistrate in parliament, and so also became
obligatory ' in foro civili.'' "

It has, indeed, been said by a late writer p that "o/ all the
formularies of faith, tchether doctrinal or devotional, lohich were
put forth during the ascendancy of the Tudors, none can he sheicn
to have had the sanction of convocation except the Thirty-nine
Articles.'''' Now this announcement is in a high degree start-
ling, even at first view, as it is altogether incompatible with
many facts which have been already considered ; moreover, it
will be found contradictory to some plain records of history
accessible to all, and hereafter to be produced.

It has also been asserted in another quarter with much
shew of confidence that '''' act of parliament'^ in 1547 alone
ordered the giving of the cup to the la'ityy The untruth of this
statement may be gathered from the facts above pp recited ; and
however acceptable such an assertion maybe in some quarters,
as tending to derogate from the part which our provincial
sjTiods took in the reformation of religion and to ignore the
authority of those assemblies ; yet it is not clear that the lay
members of the English Church in general would be satisfied
to date the saci-ed bequest of a full participation in holy com-
munion to an act of parliament. Nor can it be supposed that
the country at large is prepared to admit that the Houses of
Lords and Commons were ever invested with the proper
powers of an ecclesiastical synod. Such a statement as the
foregoing will only be accepted as true on unanswerable evi-
dence ; and if such a position is to be defended, the outworks
must be built on surer foundations of facts and dates.

Now to be somewhat specific on this point S which has been
so rudely assaulted, the declaration for receiving the com-
munion in both kinds was first promoted "" by Archbishop
Cranmer among the bishops, and it was sent to the lower
house ^ of convocation Nov. SO, 1547. It was decreed * in
that house Dec. 2, thus, receiving full synodical sanction. A
bill on the subject, brought into the House of Lords by Arch-
bishop Cranmer, was read " a second time on Dec. 3, the day
after the vote in convocation ; and shortly after the statute'' was
passed, in which it was enacted "^ that the connnunion should

' Edinburgh Review, No. 1!)2, Oct. 1851, p. 544. The article alluded to was
afterwards reprinted with the name of the author attached to it.




be administered in both kinds. K. Edward VI. had a
very different opinion from the gentleman who has lately
told us ^'■tJiat'^ act of parliament in 1547 alone ordered the
giving of the cup to the laity!''' In a proclamation issued at
this time^ the king forbids all contentions on the subject
" until ^ such tyme as the king's majesty, by th"" advice of
his highes council and the clergy of this realme, shall define,
declare, and set furthe an open doctrin therof." And, con-
sidering the facts of the case, we must conclude that his
majesty ""s view of the matter was somewhat more correct than
our author's.

Denial of cup The synodical emancipation of this Church
dern inDovat^o™of from the gross Corruption of the denial of the
^°™'^- cup to the laity is an tera in her history which

calls for serious thankfulness. That innovation of half-com-
munion was of comparatively recent date, and its rejection by
proper authority in England bears a national testimony against
one of the strangest abuses of the Church of Rome. The laity
were not denied ^ their right to a participation in " the com-
munion '' of the blood of Christ " until after the chapter " de-
fining the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation, was presented
by Innocent III. at the fourth Lateran Council'^ (a.d. 1215).
William the Conqueror caused ^ his army to connnunicate
in both kinds, according to the usage of his time, imme-
diately before the battle of Hastings, a.d. 1066. Thomas
Aquinas, who lived about the year 1260, says that in his
time ^ the cup was not given to the people in some churches ;
but by thus restraining the practice, his evidence proves the
general usage of the Church then to have been otherwise.
In the thirteenth session of the Council of Constance, begun
A.D. 1414, this abuse finally passed into a synodical decree of
the Roman Church ; l)ut all history incontestably proves how
modern this practice is, and how little of ancient authority and
primitive usage can be pleaded for its adoption. The English
Church on the occasion before us threw off this modern gloss,
which mutilates the highest mystery of the Christian religion ;
and in carrying out so wise and pious a determination she was
fortified by the prompt assistance and powei'ful co-operation
of the civil legislature. Happy for our nation if such aids
were always extended to the Church for the removal of abuses

A.D. 1547.
K. Ed. VI.

'^ Edinb.
Rev. No.
192, p. 544.

y Dec. 27.
^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 19.

* Ilussey,
Ch. from
the begin-
ning until
now, p. 15.
b 1 Cor. X.

<^ No. 1.
J Vid. Lan-
don's Ma-

e Hevlin's
Hist.' Ref.
p. 30.
' Heylin's
Hist. Ref.
p. 50.




A.D. 1548.






e Vid. sup.
p. 412, and
Cone. Mag.
Brit. iii.

i< Vid. sup.
p. 459.
Masr. Brit,
iv. 15.

J Att.
Rights, p.

•t Heylin's
Ref. p. 57.

1 Coll. V.
p. 158.

■" Heylin's
Ref. p. 58.

XXI. A.D. 1548
N.S. First reform-
ed communion

and the establishment of rehgion upon the foundations laid by
our blessed Lord Himself.

As soon as the synodical decision, that the
communion should be administered in both
kinds, was ratified by parliament, measures
were taken for the preparation of an office for the purpose.
The work was managed by a committee ^ Now a committee
for revising the offices of the Church had been authorized in
the late king's time by the convocation held Feb. 21, 1543
N.s.S; and it may be remembered that a petition •' had been
sent up from the lower house in the third session of this pre-
sent convocation to the effect, that the labours of that com-
mittee which had been authorized " It/ the command ' of con-
vocation " should be laid before the synod. It has been
thought that this committee before us was only a continua-
tion J of the old committee of Feb. 1543 n. s. ; but however
that may be, it is clear that the present committee acted in
accordance with the late decision of convocation on the sub-

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 50 of 83)