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 66 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 66 of 83)
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please to appoint. And, further, they take notice of the ex
treme peril both to her majesty's person and the laws of the
land which must ensue from the propagation of such tenets

The synod The last scssiou ^ of this synod was held at

breaks up." Westminster on the 24th of March, ]587 n.s

After prayers and the preconization of the lower house the
prolocutor and clergy attended the archbishop and his suffra-
gans in K. Henry VII.'s chapel. On this occasion ^ Archbishop
Whitgift took notice of the absence of some of the members
cited, and of habits unbecoming the clerical character which
prevailed among some clergy of his province. For a redress of
these abuses he warned the archdeacons to be vigilant in their
office, and to invoke if needful the aid of the diocesan or the
metropolitan, or even of the queen herself, lest any scandal
should be brought on the doctrines of the gospel. His
grace then exhibited a schedule of the names of such as were
suspended from the celebration of divine offices and the exer-
cise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction on account of their contuma-
cious absence from the synod. These penalties ^ were, how-
ever, afterwards remitted ; and among others the Bishop of
S. Asaph, who had incurred them, obtained the benefit of
absolution, and so the assembly was dissolved.

. The two provincial synods ^ met simulta-

ciai synods of neously ou the 5th of Feb. 1589 n.s. The
business of the northern synod appears to
have been confined to temporal matters, a subsidy having
been unanimously ^ granted, but in the southern province some
greater activity was displayed.

A.D. 1587.
Q. Eliz.

^ Strype's
p. 263.

t Strype's
p. 263,
quotes MSS.

8. 14.

* Syn. Ang.
pt. ii. p. I(i3.

« Card.
Svn. li. 562.

A.D. 1589.
'' Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 335. 340.

y Cone.
Mag. Bri
iv. 340-1.



A.D 1581).
John Whit-
pift, John

^ Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv.B35. 341.

Syn. Ang.
ii. 164.
Card. Svn.
282. Coll.
vii. 112.
a Strypc's
p. 282.
b Syn. Ang.
pt. ii. p. 165.

c S>-n. Aug.

d Vid. sup.
p. 592.

f Strvpe's
p. 282.
' Svn. Ang.
170. 173-4.

S Svn. Ang.
pt. Ii. 171.

h Hnme,
c. xlii. pp.

' Strype's
p. 282.

J Coll. vii

Subsidy granted.

Canterbury pro- ^^^^ Canterbury Synod ^ met at S. Paurs.
vinciai Synod. -pj^g ususi] Solemnities were observed, and the
ordinary formal busine.ss transacted.

The preacher was Mr. John Styll, archdeacon
preacher and pro- of Suffolk, and afterwards master of Trinity Col-
lege, Cambridge, who took occasion in his ser-
mon to remark ^ upon the singularities of the dissenters, now
termed, according to a mild nomenclature, " favourers of the
discipline." This same gentleman '^ was chosen prolocutor of
the lower house by unanimous consent at the election which
took place in S. Mary's chapel, at the eastern end of the
cathedral, under the direction of the dean, Alexander Nowel;
Dr. Richard Fletcher, dean of Peterborough, being at the
same time appointed to present. It may be remarked that
the prolocutor ^ chose only eight assessors as his assistants in
this synod, to whose names the clergy gave a ready approba-
tion. Fourteen was the number chosen"^ in 1586.

The subsidy first engaged the attention of
the assembly, and was dispatched with speed ^
and cheerfulness after some debates^ and divisions in the
lower house ; the clergy being sensible of the dangers now
impending over this Church and kingdom from the combina-
tion of enemies at home and abroad. A double subsidy^ indeed
was now granted, the last year having brought with it unusual
expenses in providing against the attack of the Spanish Ar-
mada. The willing liberality of the synod •' at this juncture
seems to have been well taken, for when .Serjeant Puckering
and the attorney-general brouglit down the bills from the
House of Lords to the Commons confirming this subsidy, the
Serjeant bestowed upon the clergy's grant some special com-
mendations '.

By the way, that learned gentleman was here
engaged within his proper function, and, it may
be presumed, discharged his duty to satisfac-
tion. But on another occasion when, as speaker of the House
of Coumions, he waited upon i}. Elizabeth with an address J
from the parliament for the execution of the Queen of Scots,
he made a .speech in which lie ran out into topics of divinity;
and then by rambling out of his i)rofession he appears to have
lost his way beyond recovery. In fact he entangled himself in

Serjeant Puck-
erinp's essay in




a metaphor every way surprising, overlooked patent distinctions, j
adduced examples wide of the mark, and indulged in reason-
ing altogether foreign to his purpose and proportionably incon-
clusive. For instance, the serjeant, in speaking of the Eng-
lish nation, informed the queen that she was their " natural
mother '',■'■' thus bringing her majesty into a parental consan-
guinity with vast multitudes of persons quite incomprehensible,
and withal using a figure of speech not altogether seemly to a
virgin queen. Then the learned serjeant drew a parallel between
Saul and Q. Elizabeth on the one part and Agag and the
Queen of Scots on the other; and moreover, together with other
scriptural allusions, brought in the names of Jezebel and
Athaliah as applicable to the case of the latter princess. But
upon consideration neither does the parallel hold good, nor are
the examples adduced pertinent to the occasion. In fact
nothing could be more unhappy or more unconvincing than
Serjeant Puckering's essay on this occasion ; and had bethought
fit to confine himself to topics within his proper calling, his
character for good sense and for a competent proficiency in
sacred history would have been less open to suspicion.

. ^, . , As Archbishop \Vhito-ift was ill ^ during the

Archbishop ^ " ^ , ^

whitgift prevent- scssions of tliis svnod, somo of the meetings were

ed by illness fioin ,,, -^ ii"^!- •,,• •.!

attending the sy- held at Lambeth ; his grace sitting in the great
"°*^' chamber, and the lower house meeting in the

chapel'". And, indeed, his illness so far increased that at one
time he was confined to his room, when his official functions "
were discharged by a committee of bishops.

However, his grace appears to have in some
asticai business measure regained health, for we find that
transacted. shortly afterwards" he called the lower clergy

into his presence, pronounced p the absent contumacious, and
admonished those who were doubly beneficed to reside alter-
nately upon their cures, or, at least, if their residence was
dispensed with, to provide worthy substitutes.

Contribution in He also moved the synod to make a con-
t%woTonvtte" tributiou for the support of two persons, lately
Romish priests. Roiiiish pHcsts 1, who had been converted to
the English Church. In accordance with which request
the lower clergy, after having returned to their house, con-
tributed"^ forthwith 3^. 14s. lOd. for the objects of charity

A. D. 1.589.
Q. Eliz.

k Coll.

"Syn. Ang.
pt. ii. p. 175.

» Syii. Aug.
pt. ii. p. 170".
" Strype's
I). 28-2.

o Sess. 12.

P Stryjie's
p. 282.

1 Strype's


p. 282.

f Syn. A ng.

pt. ii. p. 171





A.D 1589.
John Whit-
gift, John

' Lathbuiy,
p. 201, note.

' Sess. 15,
Mar. 19.
" Syn. Ang.
pt. ii. p. 172

^ Strvpe's
pp. 282-3.
Card. Svn.
572. Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. .572.
Coll. vii.

" Strype's
p. 283

proposed. The names of these converted persons were
William Tydder and Anthony Tyrrel ; they had been brought
up as seminary priests in the English college at Rome, but
had lately recanted their errors at S, Paul's cross, assigning
publicly as their reason for separating from the Church of
Rome " the ^ wicked counsell and devilish devises of the Pope
and his children against the queene's majestie and our most
deere countrey."

Orders for the Towards the end of the sessions ' of this
terbury^ ° intro- syuod the archbisliop introduced six orders",
''""'^- which were to be observed throughout his pro-

vince, to the following effect : —

1. Single^ beneficed men were obliged to constant resi-
dence, with the exception of prebendaries and royal and
noblemen''s chaplains ; there was also a proviso in the case of
those who were allowed non- residence by act of parliament.
However in such cases a licensed preacher was to be provided
as curate.

2. Double beneficed men were to reside an equal proportion
of time on each of their cures, and when absent to provide a
licensed curate.

3. Beneficed men absent one hundred and twenty days were
to keep licensed curates.

4. Scandalous ministers were to be removed, and not re-
admitted to any cure.

5. No ignorant person unqualified to catechise was to be
admitted to any cure.

6. No curate might be displaced without authority from
the archbishop or the bishop of the diocese.

These orders do not appear to have passed into synodical
decrees, but both houses accepted them and promised obe-
dience to their injunctions ^.

A party in the A petition to her majesty was unanimously
rouJrr'under-" agreed to in this synod. It'is believed to have
mine the Church. \^qq^ drawn up by yVrclibisliop Whitgift himself,
and is directed against the restraint upon pluralities which the
parliament at this time was endeavouring to effect. There was
a party now in the House of Commons who, urged on by the
dissenters, were striving to undermine the Churcli. They
saw, however, that rough expedients and close measures were




not likely to succeed ; and so under cover of effecting purposes
of general advantage they opened their trenches at a dis-
tance, hoping not unreasonably that time and labour might
bring them in upon the fortress and ensure its destruction.

One member, Mr. Damport, moved in the commons that
the existing laws ^ were inadequately exercised by the eccle-
siastical authorities, and prayed a remedy. This gentleman,
however, received a check from Secretary Wolley, who
took notice that her majesty had sent down an express inhi-
bition through the lord chancellor against the interference
by that house with any ecclesiastical causes ; whereupon Mr.
Damport's paper was handed back to him by the speaker.
Another member brought in a billy for the restraint of
pluralities. This proceeding carried a fairer face upon it ; and
if we could believe that it was only intended to remove scan-
dals from the Church, the memory of its mover might be
entitled to more respect. But the characters of the gentle-
men^ to whose management the bill was committed forbid
such belief. And though this bill sank, another of the same
tendency received more support. It was introduced by
Treasurer Knollis, and though opposed stoutly by Wolley and
another member, it passed the commons. Less success,
however, attended it in the lords, where it ^ also was swamped.
This miscarriage of the parliamentary endeavours to inter-
fere in ecclesiastical affairs seems to have afflicted the puritan
ministers so far as to set them upon some tragical ^ strains of
lamentation. And because the queen and her ministers did
not choose to submit ecclesiastical matters to the civil legis-
lature, one'' of the malcontents took the freedom to liken
her majesty's progress to parliament to the passage of Agrippa
and Bernice "into'= the place of hearing" at Csesarea.

The clergy were so nearly touched by the bill above men-
tioned, and so much afraid of consequences which might ensue,
that they agreed in synod upon an address to her majesty
upon the subject.

, , Their address*^ craves the royal protection

rhe svnod ad- . ./ i

dress hei majesty agaiiist measurcs wliicli may reduce the clergy
jcct. ^^ ^ state of distressing want. It takes notice

3 Treasurer Knollis, Mr. Morrice, Mr. Beal, Sir R. Jermin, Sir F. Hastings, all
favourers of the Puritans.

A.D. 1589.
Q. Eliz.

" Strj'pe's
p. 279.

' Strype's
p. 279.

^ Strvpe's

* See Eger-
ton to Fenn.
p. 281.

b Egerton.

<-■ Acts x.w

•J Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 339.
Card. Syn.
574. Strvpe'i
p. 280.




A.D. 1589.
John Whit-
gift, John

that the plan suggested in parliament for the increase of a
learned ministry would rather promote ignorance, effect a
diminution in their means of support, disable the Church
service, and introduce confusion. The danger of unsettling
what is established is urged, and the troubles which have
befallen others are quoted as warnings. The learning of the
English clergy is said to surpass that attained in any of the
reformed Churches ; and this, as well as other advantages
derived from her majesty's careful government, are heartily
and joyfully acknowledged. Further, as requests without suf-
ficient reasons are unworthy of regard, the queen is be-
seeched to consider the present state of the clergy, as well
as that to which they would be reduced in case the parliamen-
tary bill before alluded to should be allowed to pass into a
law. As regards their present state, the clergy affirm that
100,000^. annually of their tithes are absorbed by impropria-
tions. That nearly the same sum is lost to them on account
of the abbey lands, which remain tithe-free, though now in
lay hands. That some statutes have deprived them of the
tithe of wood which has reached more than twenty-one years'*
growth. That moduses have been set up in some parishes
to their great disadvantage. They do not, indeed, now repine
at these past arrangements, but suggest that they ought
not further to bo disfurnishcd of the means of subsistence.
As regards the future, the clergy suggest that some bishops
will be unable to maintain a proper appearance if the bene-
fices which they now hold in comraendam should be taken
away. That by the plan proposed there will be no dif-
ference between a doctor in divinity and a scholar. That
learned men will be the subjects of the least regard. The
address also takes notice that the bill as proposed in
parliament required an impossibility, for that out of 8800 and
more benefices there were not (iOO left with sufficient stipend
to support learned clerks ; and, indeed, further, that there
were not men enough to supply all those posts. Moreover it
is suggested that one benefice is not sufficient to support such
as are appointed queen's chaplains, public preachers, or mem-
bers of synod, who are thus put to extraordinary charges.
This fact is also urged, that the laity by this bill are dealt
more softly with than the clergy ; for though the clergy are




forbidden by it to be pluralists, even though they do their
duty personally or provide sufficient substitutes, yet the laity
are not restrained from multiplying impropriations which are
served by under-qualified curates. The inconveniences to
cathedrals and the universities, the hindrances to religion,
and the difficulties which her majesty herself would experience
should the bill become law, are also pressed ; and, in con-
clusion, Beza's judgment on the matter in hand is animad-
verted upon : for this person had taken leave, though a foreigner
and labouring under strange misapprehensions, to set down his
opinions ® on the state of our Church.

Archbishop Such was the chief business transacted in

o^'ltS^payS this synod, but before it was finally dissolved
of subsidies. i]^q archbishop took occasion to issue a letter ^

in somewhat sharp terms to some clergy who were behind
hand in the payment of their quota to the subsidies, and
especially to the benevolence last granted. This backward-
ness had caused complaints in parliament among those who
at this time were forward in finding fault on all occasions,
when any clergyman was concerned ; and therefore the arch-
bishop, anxious to save the whole body from censure, which
was only deserved by a few, dealt somewhat severely with the
defaulters, shewing the dangerous consequence of their con-
duct, and assuring them that they might expect rigid measures
if they continued incompliant.

When the assembly was ready ^ to break up, the arch-
bishop suspended absentees, and such as had departed
without leave, among whom appears by name the Bishop
of Lichfield; and on theii 2nd of April, 158.9, the Bishop
of Peterborough, as his grace's commissioner, dissolved the

,_^ „ The Canterbury" and York'' Synods assem-

XV. Piovm- . .

ciai synods of bled in the year 1593' simultaneously on the
20th of February'^, the day after the meeting
of parliament.

„ ,. , The parliament still pertinaciously exhibited

Parliamentary »■ _ ^ ^ •'

interference in ec- a desire to interfere unreasonably in ecclesias-

clesiastical mat- ,. , ry. . ii.ii,' xi • i

ters again renew- tical atiairs, auQ to this coursc they were mamly
* ■ urged by the out-door pressure of the dissatisfied

and ever restless dissenters.

A.D. 1589.
Q. Eliz.

e In his
notes on
1 Cor. xiv.

' Strvpe's
p. 283.

g Mar. 28,

Sess. 21.

'' Syn. Ang.

A.D. 1593.
i Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 343.
k Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 345.
'1593 N..S.
" Coll. vii.




A.D. 1593.

John Whit-
gift, John

n Coll.


o Strvpc's
p. 387.

P Strype's
p. 387.
1 Strype's
p. 38b'.
■■ Strype's
p. 391.
« Strype's
pp. 387-9.

' Strype's
p. 387.
" Strype's
p. 389.
" Strvpc's
p. 387.

But checked by The queen was however prudently apprehen-

the queen. gj^.g ^f ^j^^ miscavriages wliich would take place,

and of the mischiefs which would inevitably ensue, if questions
of divinity became the subjects of discussion in parliament, an
assembly notoriously unfitted for such engagements. To guard
against any contingencies of this nature, when the customary
request for liberty of speech was made by the speaker of the
lower house. Sir E. Coke, then also solicitor-general, this answer
was returned in the queen's name by Puckering ", at this time
lord keeper : " As to privilege of speech, it is granted, but
you must know what privilege you have : it is not a licence for
every one to speak what he lists, or to throw out every fancy
that comes into his brain, but your privilege is to say ' yea '' or
' no.' Therefore, Mr. Speaker, her majesty's pleasure is, that if
you perceive any idle heads that are hardy enough to run them-
selves upon danger, that will venture to meddle with reforming
the Church and transforming the commonwealth, if any such
bills are offered, her majesty's pleasure is that you would not
receive them, till they are viewed by those who it is fitter
should consider such things, and can better judge of them."

Notwithstanding this unmistakeable and very necessary direc- l
tion, some meddlers in the House of Commons introduced two I
bills on the subject of Church government, one° concerning
subscriptions and offering of oaths, the other concerning the
penalty of imprisonment inflicted upon refusal. Sir Francis
KnoUisP, Mr. Morrice*', and Mr. Robert Beal'', a person who
sometimes misbehaved himself excessively, were the foremost
champions of the puritan party, and exercised their powers of
oratory against the received government of the Church ; and not
only so, but the first of those gentlemen was so zealous in the
cause, that he put liimself to the pains of writing two letters*,
one of extreme prolixity, to the lord treasurer on the subject.
Still the rights of the. Church were not without supporters;
Mr. Dalton ', a very learned civilian. Dr. Lewen ", and Sir John
Wolley^, the queen's secretary, speaking to much purpose
against the bill introduced by Mr. Morrice. Mr. Dalton took
notice that this bill suggested dangers which did not really exist,
that garrulity might conjure up mountains out of molehills ;
and he moreover drew a very just and patent distinction, which
appears however to have escaped the notice of his opponents,



60 :

cial Sy
1593 N.s.

between government ecclesiastical and temporal. He con-
cluded by expressing a backwardness to stir matters which her
majesty had expressly forbidden that house in the first in-
stance to meddle with. As for Sir John WoUey^, he drove
straight to the point, and opposed the whole proceeding as being
in contravention of her majesty's express directions, and these
two gentlemen being reinforced in their arguments by Sir Ro-
bert Cecil, the bill was not received by the house, but left in the
hands of the speaker, who explained his position in this affair
thus plainly to the members : " Upon my allegiance I am com-
manded, if any such bill be exhibited, not to read it." And thus
this counsel, as it deserved, for the present came to nought.

As nothing appears on the records of the

Canterburv pro- <=> i i

)d of northern^ convocation now assembled, except
the grant of their subsidy, we may pass at once
to the business transacted in the southern provincial synod y,
which, as was said, met at S. Paul's cathedral on the 20th of
Feb. 1593 n.s.

Andrews' ser- The scrnion was preached by the archbishop's
™°'^- chaplain. Dr. Andrews, so highly renowned for

his eloquence in the pulpit. His text was taken from Acts
XX. 28, " Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you over-
seers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased
with his own blood." The reverend pi'eacher divided his dis-
course ^ into three heads : 1 st, he spoke on the meaning of the
words " take heed ;" 2ndly, he shewed how extensive was this
duty ; and Srdly, how diligently it ought to be practised. He
prayed that the assembly might not be merely the ghost of a
synod, in which nothing beyond the business of a subsidy
should be transacted, and the members be then discharged, but
that heed should be taken for the good of the flock, and that
the shearing of them should not occupy all the attention. He
complained that many turned theology into a war of words,
and the Church to a mere house of gossip ; so that from the
more mysterious doctrines being strangely omitted in preaching
the science of divinity did as it were uplift her hands in sup-
plication for the remedy of such neglects. He reminded those
who would readily interpret his meaning that any mismanage-
ment on the part of a bishop was hailed as a triumph in

A.D. 1593.
Q. Eliz.

"■" Sti-}'pc's
p. 3!i7.

s Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 345.

y Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 343.
Card. Syn.
ii. .577.
3,97. Coll
vii. 1G6.

^ Strype's
p. 397, and
A pp. No.




A.D. 1593.

John Whit-
gift, John

a Head 2.

^ Mark xiv.
c' Head 3.

d Luke X.

Askelon. On * the other hand the preacher took notice that
some bishops were over rigid in their demeanour, and insuffi-
ciently furnished with the graces becoming their office. " Un-
less ye," said he, " take heed to the flock, the flock will take
heed of you, of which event late examples have been seen. The
people in very truth* is attending to you. What, 'Simon'',
sleepest thou' while Judas is wakeful? Ye'^ are called to be
bishops by the Holy Ghost only. That is your character. And
your flock, if it hath not golden fleeces, has souls of worth
inestimable. The Holy Ghost is the common guardian, guide,
and head of us all, and if any man by steps of auroition or
access of bribery has entered into the sheepfold, no wonder
if such an one neither takes heed to the flock nor the flock to
him. Surely, in such case, money is treated with higher
regard than virtue. Your ecclesiastical courts are your
proper care, your visitations the right means for taking heed.
Approaching your Church in this synod, and seeing her lying
stripped and wounded, will you, like the priest in the gospel,
' pass"^ by on the other side V Surely the poefs words, ' Money
should be first sought,*' are a prophetic warning to the clergy.
For if with them piety and virtue are not the first objects of

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 66 of 83)