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 67 of 83)
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desire, better that those qualities were indefinitely postponed, or
altogether disregarded. Take heed, moreover, I will not say
to the heretics and schismatics, but to those ungodly oppo-
nents with whom we ha^•e to wage a fight terrible as that of
S. Paul at Ephesus, men who despise ecclesiastical authority,
and of whose obedience I despair. Take heed to those Jesuits
who have deserted from your company. Take heed to those
unquiet and disturbed spirits, who would ever impose laws
upon the Church, but never themselves practise obedience.
Take heed to your discipline, purify your remedies, or the
bulwarks of Zion will be transformed into a tower of Babel.
Our present discipline does but loosen the purse-strings, and
greater heed is taken to the produce of the flock than to the
pastoral care, to worldly emolument than to Christ our Lord.
The tremendous denunciation of God's anger is prostituted if
our aims are unworthily directed, and the vulgar crowd
is thus encouraged to treat the censures of the Church with
a sneer."

* Ironii ally said of the parliamentary interference in matters ecclesiastical.




Temporal busi- I" ^liis syiiod a grant of two subsidies to the
ness transacted. queen was agreed to ^ in both houses, and then
the assembly proceeded to ecclesiastical business.

^ , . . , Two papers ^ were brouoht before the synod ;

Ecclesiastical ' -i . ° . •

business trans- one of questions and answers relative to the
subject of marriage within the degrees of affi-
nity, a subject afterwards settled definitively by the ninety-
ninth canon of 1603-4. The other paper contained orders to
which the bishops had agreed, and which were directed to
secure a more ready execution of the ecclesiastical laws, so
as to repress disorders. This measure was probably taken as
a means of preventing any just causes of complaint on the part
of that clamorous party in parliament now so ready to bring
accusations against the clergy.

From this synod also ^ an address was di-

An address to *' . .

the lord treasurer rected to the lord treasurer, signed by certam
deans and prebendaries of the cathedrals of the
new foundations. For some ill-disposed persons had vexatiously
pretended that much of the revenues of those establishments
was derived from " concealed lands,'' and therefore legally
belonged to the crown. Archbishop Whitgift had endea
voured to check such aggressions upon the clergy's property,
and had so far prevailed with the lord treasurer, that he had
represented to the queen the injustice of any attempts to
spoil those religious foundations which had been established
by her father and brother. Being thus encouraged by the
interference of the archbishop and the lord before mentioned,
a letter on the subject was addressed to the latter from the
convocation-house ^, and was signed by fourteen of those
clergymen ^ who were chiefly interested in its contents.

The letter set forth that property had passed away from
divers cathedral and collegiate churches for very slender con-
siderations, so that the revenues were wastefully diverted
from pious uses ; and as the subscribers had learnt that his
lordship had a due regard for such institutions, and had gone
so far as to testify it in her majesty's presence, and moreover

^ W. James, Gabriel Goodman, Humphrey Tyndal, Martin Heton, Thomas
Nevyle, Will. Redman, Philip Bisse, Tho. White, Hadrianus Saravia, John Freake,
Jo. Pratt, P. Williams, Will. Wilson, Thomas Monforde. — Cone. Mag. Brit. iv.

A.D. 1593.
Q. Eliz.

<■ Strvpe's
p. 397.
f Strvpe's
p. 39«.

g Cone.
Macr. Brit,
iv. 343.
Card. Svn.

ii. .577. ■

h March 16,
15.03 N.s.




A.D. 1593.
John Piers.

« 1593.

J Cone.
Ma^. Brit,
iv. 343.
p. 39f.
i' Cone.
Jlag. Brit,
iv. 345.
A.D. 1597.
' Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 152-7.
Card. Svn.
)i. 579. '
Coll. vii.
p. 510.
St.nte, p.

"" Strvpe's
p. 50)J.

n Strvpe's
p. 508.

o Strvpe's
p. 509.

P Cone.
Mas. Brit,
iv. 357.

had graciously received their own remonstrances on the sub-
ject, they thought it their duty to thank him for his good
offices, and to desire at the same time tliat by his mediation a
confirmation of the grants made to the religious foundations
which they represented might be ratified. They urged fur-
ther that such a course would redound to the glory of God, to
her majesty's as well as to his lordship's honour, and would,
moreover, promote learning, and secure to the petitioners and
others quiet homes. Thus they committed their cause to his
lordship, beseeched God to bless him, and so took their leave.
This synod continued its sessions till the

The two pro- m i i

vincialsynodsdis- month of April, wlicu the usual penalties having
been denounced against those members who had
absented tliemselves without leave, the assembly was dissolved
by Archbishop Whitgift in person on the eleventh ' of that
month J, the northern synod continuing in existence^ for nine
days longer.
„„. „ The two provincial svnods' met simultane-

XVI. Provin- I

eiai_ synods of ously ou the 25th day of October, 1597.

Pariiamentavv ^^^^ parliament had now become somewhat
interference in wcarv of makinjj oi)en assaults upon the Church,

Church matters ...

does not pass with their sallies™ against the forms and usages of
public worship having proved of late eminently
unsuccessful. Indeed the opposition of the archbishop and
of the queen herself to their operations had checked progress
in this direction, and these circumstances hung so heavy a
weight upon the parliamentary managements as to prevent
them from passing with an easy motion, and in truth sunk
them to the bottom of discomfiture. In consequence of these
failures the parliament, despairing of success in the open field,
approached by means of undermining the outworks, and struck"
at the jurisdiction and practices of the spiritual courts. And,
besides all thi.s, an array of grievances ° said to exist in the
Church would have been paraded before the commons, and
exhibited in bills brought in by private members, had it not
been for the exertion of power in higher quarters; but these
were not even read, and so were stifled in their birth.

We have no records of the proceedings of

Canterbury pro- , ,, , . . , ^ 1,1 i 1

vinciai Synod of the York provincial Synod P now held under the
presidency of Archbishop Matthew Hutton be-




practice of return-
ing ex oiBcio
members as proc-

yond the business connected with their subsidy, but in the
southern synod, which was opened on this occasion with the
usual 1 solemnities, many important affairs of an ecclesiastical
character were transacted.

It may here be remarked by the way that a
very mischievous practice had grown up in some
dioceses, by which the number of the members
ArchWs^hopWhit"^ attending in the southern provincial synod was
g''^'- diminished. It seems that in several cases deans

and archdeacons had been returned as proctors for the clergy ;
but if persons who were members ex officio were also to hold
the offices of elected members as well as their own, it is clear
that the assembly would be deprived of its just proportions.
To check this abuse Archbishop Whitgift, shortly after' the
publication of his mandate for this synod, ordered a notice to
be issued relative to the elections, in which he required his
suffi-agans to premonish the clergy "that no dean or arch-
deacon be chosen proctor for the clergy."
^ , , , ^ In the fourth session ' of this synod the arch-


foi-manda intro- bisliop summoued the prolocutor * and the clergy
to the upper house, and laid before them a sche-
dule of disorders in the Church. This schedule" referred
to — 1, ministers'' excessive apparel; 2. prebendaries' neglects
in cathedrals; 8. disorderly marriages; 4. divorces slightly
passed ; 5. multitude of somners ; 6. convening men by in-
formation of somners without due presentments by church-
wardens ; 7. somners farming their places ; 8. an inquiry into
the number of somners heretofore, and how many there should
be in each diocese.

On the same day' a schedule was brought in by the Bishop "^
of Bath and Wells, with a view to establish a more correct
method of keeping the register-books of baptisms, marriages,
and burials. The tenour of this schedule was that injunc-
tions ^ on this subject already given, or hereafter to be set
forth in visitation, should be accurately observed — that ^ the
registers should be of parchment, the entries fairly written,
and their accuracy certified at the visitation — that^ the register-
book should be kept in the church chest under three keys,
one belonging to the minister and one to each of the church-
wardens, and that all entries made in it each week should be read

A. D. 1.597.
Q. Eliz.

1 Cone.
Mao. Brit.
iv. 35-2.
Card. Syn.
ii. 579.

f Wake's
State, p.

' Nov. 18.

' Cone.
Mac. Brit.

Card. Syn.
i. 579.
Ibid, and

v Sess. 4,
Nov. 18.
™ Strype's
p. 510.

'^ Item I.
y Item 2.




A.D. 1597.






=> Item 4.
•• Item 5.

d Str^-pe's
p. 512.
c Strvpe's
App. No. 47.

f Strype's
p. 512.

8 Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 352-6,
and Card.
Syn. 147.

publicly in the church on the following Sunday after morning
and evening prayer — that ^ a true copy of the book afore.said
should be sent from every parish yearly to the consistory
court of the bishop, where a book was to be kept for recording
the same — that^ the contents of old decayed paper books
containing parish entries should be fairly written into the
new parchment book, and that great care should be taken to
secure accuracy in the transcription — that° in order to pre-
vent any tampering with the contents of the new register-book
the resident parson, or in his absence the curate of the parish,
together with both churchwardens, should subscribe their
names to every separate page.

Maniage li- ^^ accouut of an cudeavour which had been
ccnces. made in parliament^ to deprive the bishops"'

courts of the power of granting marriage licences, reasons^
were offered by this synod in order to shew that the received
usage in that respect was not exceptionable, as had been re-
presented, and that solid advantages were derived from it to
the public in divers instances.

Draft of ordi- A draft ^ of ordinances to be allowed by the
"owed* \y ^ the q"een was it seems drawn for the consideration
1"^^"- of this synod, probably by Archbi.shop AV^hit-

gift. They had reference to the management of the eccle-
siastical courts, and .specially to cases of collision between
ecclesiastical and civil tribunals, and were arranged under
distinct titles, which run to the number of twenty-six; but
whether they were definitively assented to by the synod or not
is uncertain.

Constitutions of "^^c cliicf busiucss, howcvcr, of this synod was
^■'^'^- the definitive enactment ^ of twelve constitutions.

They ran to a considerable length. But the following heads
will give a sufficient idea of their contents, which were directed
to very good and desirable objects, and were of the tenour
following: ]. that fit men be admitted to holy orders and
ecclesiastical benefices ; 2. of restraining the plurality of bene-
fices ; 3. that tho.se who were beneficed should exercise hos-
pitality ; 4. that deans and canons should preach in their
turns in cathedrals ; 5. on the restraint of marriage licences ;
6. of not lightly pronouncing sentences of divorce ; 7. of re-
I forming excesses about excommunication ; 8. of publicly de-




nouncing recusants and excommunicate persons ; 9. of mode-
rating the commutation of solemn penance; 10. of fees due
to ecclesiastical officers; 11. of reforming the excesses of
apparitors; 12. of committing to safe keeping the registers
in churches. And to these was, moreover, appended ^ a form
in which marriage licences were in future to be granted.

These constitutions ' having been synodically ratified, were
confirmed by the queen's letters patent J, which were exhibited
by the archbishop ^ himself in the synod in the twenty-third
session ^ As regards their contents generally, it is clear that
some of their regulations were founded upon the " canons of
1584, and that another was in accordance with the "^schedule
brought in by the Bishop of Bath and Wells at the fourth
session of the present synod. This assembly, having been
continued through twenty-eight sessions, was dissolved on the
10th of February, 1598 n.s.
^,^„^ „ . The last provincial synods held durino; this

aVII. Provm- ^ ^ ^ •' "

rial synods of reign met in October, 1601. The Canterbury

Synod assembled™"^ on the 18th, and the York
Synod on the 28th ° of that month. But as no ecclesiastical
business is recorded in the proceedings of the latter, we
may pass to the consideration of the history of the southern

Canteibuiypio- The Canterbury Synod met at S. Paul's
vinciai Synod. cathedral, and the usual service was performed.
Dr. William ° Barlow, one of her majesty's chaplains, after-
wards Bishop of Rochester, and more lately Bishop of Lincoln,
officiating as preacher. His sermon was upon this text,
" Occupy P till I come."

The gentleman chosen as prolocutor of the

lower house was Matthew i Sutcliffe, LL.D.,

dean of Exeter.

In the fifth and sixth "^^ sessions a grant of

four subsidies was luade and formally ratified.
No constitutions weve now enacted. The assembly, however,
was continued through eighteen sessions ; and before the sepa-
ration of the members Archbishop Whitgift directed ^ that the
canons made in 1597-8 should be carefully observed, and ex-
horted the bishops to be diligent in discharge of their duty.
He particularly ' cautioned them on the following '^ subjects:

Dr. Matthew
5iitcliffe prolocu-

Synodical busi

A.D. 1591
Q. Eliz.

»• Card. Syn.
p. 161.

' Sparrow's
Coll. p. 245.
J Att.

Rifrhts, App.
p. h'Ol.
k Card. Syn.
ii. 580.
" Jan. 2.5,
1598 N.s.
" Sup. p.

'" Sup. pp.

A.D. 1601.

"=>» Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 363.
" Cone.
Mao;. Brit,
iv. 364.

» Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. X. p. 1.

P S. Luke
xi.v. 13.

q Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. X. p. 2.

"■ Strvpc's
p. 547.
>* Sess. 18,
Dec. 21.
' Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 363.
Card. Syn.
ii. 583. ^
" Strvpc's
p. 547.
Coll. vii.




w Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 363.
Card. Syn.
ii. .583.
A D. 1603.
" Hume,
c. xlv. p.
p. 558.

y Hume,
c. .\lv. p.

^ Strvpe's
p. 559.

1, not to proceed in court upon apparitor"'s promoting, without
churchwarden''s presentment or other just inquisition ; 2. to
take order that ecclesiastical judges hold not too frequent
courts, nor oftener than once in five weeks ; S. that chancellors
and officials call not men to several courts for the same fault ;

4. to have yearly but once, not quarterly bills of presentments ;

5. to take care that the curates of non-residents be able
persons and have good allowances ; 6. and that none but
chancellors grant licences for marriage.

Such prudence did this archbishop shew in his management
of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and in the measures which he took
to silence the clamours and disable the attacks of that in-
creasing party in parliament and elsewhere which was ill-dis-
posed towards the Church and clergy.

The synod (lis- ^" ^he 21st of December ^ this synod, having
^°^^''^'^- sat through eighteen sessions, was dissolved ^^ ;

being the last which assembled under the presidency of Arch-
bishop Whitgift or during the reign of Q. Elizabeth.

XVIII. Death That monarch's soul ^ passed into the other
of Q. Elizabeth, ^^.q^.]^ ^^ ^j^g 24th of March, 1603 n.s. Arch-
bishop Whitgift attended her in her last moments, and de-
sired her majesty, as became a Christian, to divest her mind of
secular considerations, which the courtiers ^ were very inop-
portunely suggesting, and bid her fix her thoughts upon God.
To such seasonable advice she answered that she did so, and
that her thoughts did not wander from God. As a sign that
this was truly the case, she lifted up her hands and eyes
towards heaven, and shortly after her spirit returned to Him
who gave it.

XIX. Acccs- Upon the head ^ of her successor, K. .James I.,
sionofK.Jamcsi. Archbishop Whitgift placed the crown of Eng-
land on the 25th of July, 1603. This king was well disposed
towards bringing the ecclesiastical law of England into a
definite and compendious code. He also desired that a con-
ference should be held between the representatives of
various opinions in religion, vainly expecting that some har-
monious agreement might ensue between the rulers of the
English Church and the Presbyterian schismatics, and also
hoping that matters connected with the ecclesiastical state
generally might be placed on a satisfactory footing. Such



was the origin of the Hampton Court * conference ; but as
this assembly does not fall within the scope of our present
inquiry, it must suffice thus to mention it only. In conse-
quence of the proceedings which there took place no satisfac-
tory conclusions were arrived at : nor, indeed, could any happy
issue have been reasonably expected.

Before the assembly of the next provincial
AvchbisiiopWbit- syuods in England Archbishop Whitgift was no
more. Going in his barge to Fulham to meet
some of his suffragans and judges of his courts, in order to con-
sult on ecclesiastical affairs, he caught a cold from which he
never recovered. When on his death-bed it is said that these
words expressed his readiness to depart : " Now '', O Lord,
my soul is lifted up, that I die in a time wherein I had rather
give up to God an account of my bishopric than any longer
to exercise it among men." The archbishop gradually and
peacefully sunk to his rest on the 29th of February, 1604 n.s.;
his last expressions *= intimating that which lay nearest to his
heart, as from his expiring lips these words were heard, —

" Pro Ecclesia Dei."

A.D. 1603.
K. James I.

* Str\-pe's
p. 571-6.
Coll. vii.

b Sti-vpe's
p. 578.

c Strype's
p. 578.






I. Unsatisfactory state of the canon law in England— A new code of ecclesiastical law
established by synodical anthority on the accession of K. James I. II. Provincial
synods of 1604 n.s. — Canterbury Synod — Dr. Ravis jirolocutor— Sundry heads
of synodical business— Puritanical endeavours against the Prayer Book — Thirty-
nine articles of religion again ratified —Debate on the sign of the cross in baptism
— Convocational privilege of freedom from arrest — The book " Limbo-Mastix "
brought under notice of the synod — Motion on the oath against simony — Canons
of 160.3-4— Ecclesiastical authority of the canons of 1603-4— Civil authority
of the canons of 1603-4. Opinions of learned judges on this subject — Commonly
received notion of the obligation of the canons and canon law — Revised Prayer
Book of this reign sanctioned synodically. III. Parliament of 1604 N.s.
IV. Accession of Archbishop Richard Bancroft. V. Provincial synods of
November, 1605 — 1. Canterbury Synod— " Articuli cleri " exhibited against
the common law judges— Sir E. Coke magnifies the replies of those learned
j)ersons unreasonably— Overall's convocation book — How far synodically sanc-
tioned — Never received civil sanction — Sundry heads of sjniodical business —
2. York Synod — Royal licence for enacting canons sent to the synod — On
account of Archbishop Ilutton's death, Dr. Thornborough, Bishop of Bristol,
elected president — Dr. William Goodwin prolocutor — Canons of 1604 sanc-
tioned by the northern synod — How far Overall's convocation book was
sanctioned by this synod. VI. Provincial synods of November, 1606—1. Can-
terbury Synod — 2. York Synod — Tobias Matthews, their new metropolitan,
somewhat of his character. VII. Provincial synods of Feb. 1610 n.s —
1. Canterbury Synod— Dr. ISIorton preacher — Sundry heads of sjTiodical
business — Crashaw convened for his book. Some account of it — Draft of an act
touching the election of clergy proctors— Sundry heads of synodical business,
and death of Archbishop Bancroft — 2. York Synod. VIII. Accession of
Ai-chbishop George Abbot to the see of Canterbury, and somewhat of his
character. IX. Provincial synods of April, 1614 — Liberality of the English
prelates in aiding the king. X. Provincial synods of Jan. 1621 n.s. XI.
Provincial synods of Feb. 1624 n.s. — 1. Canterbury Synod. Dr. Hall preacher,
Dr. Donne prolocutor— Proposal for investigation of books and MSS. in
Cathedral and university libraries — 2. York Synod. XII. Death of K. James I.,
and accession of K. Charles I. XIII. Provincial synods of 1625 — Canterbury
Synod — Dr. John Bowles prolocutor — Canterbury Synod removed to Oxford




— Dr. James's motion for an investigation of MSS. &c.— A party in this synod
leaning towards Calvinism. XIV. Provincial synods of 1626 n.s. — 1. Canter-
bury Synod — Dr. Donne prolocutor again — Bishop Goodman's sermon— 2.
York Synod — Debate on the subject of proxies. XV. Provincial synods of
1628 N.s. — 1. York Synod, Archbishop Matthews dies — 2. Canterbury Synod —
Dr. WinnifF preacher — Bishops appointed to preside in place of Archbishop
Abbot under suspension — Dr. Curie prolocutor — But little synodical business
done. XVI. Accession of Ai-chbishop Samuel Harsnet to the see of York.
XVII. York provincial Synod. XVIII. House of Commons affects synodical
functions —Mr. Pym vouches the Lambeth articles for the doctrine of the
Church of England — Such proceedings of dangerous consequence. XIX. Death
of Archbishop Abbot and accession of Archbishop Laud to the see of Canter-
bury — Somewhat of the latter prelate's character, XX. Intermission of synods
and parliaments in England. XXI. Provincial synods of April 1640-1. Can-
terbury Synod — Dr. Turner's sermon — Formal business transacted — Dr. Richard
Steward prolocutor- — Confirmation of the prolocutor — Archbishop Laud's speech
introducing royal licence to enact canons — Sundry heads of synodical business —
Question arises whether on a dissolution of parliament the provincial synods are
dissolved as a matter of course — This question determined in the negative by
members of the learned profession — A second royal Ucence to enact canons
issued — Riotous mob threaten in vain Lambeth palace and the convocation-
house — The synod again settles to business — The king desires the synod to
proceed with energy — Sundry heads of business transacted — The seventeen
canons of 1640 — Some opposition to them in the upper house — Some heats in
the lower house — The Archdeacon of Huntingdon misbehaves himself remark-
ably — The seventeen canons of 1640 concluded in the synod — Bishop Goodman
subscribes reluctantly — The synod dissolved — 2. York Synod — Second royal
licence to enact canons received — Dr. Wickam prolocutor— Seventeen canons
of 1640 ratified by this synod — The synod dissolved. XXII. The seventeen
canons of 1640 confii-med by royal letters patent — Popular outcry against these
canons— The sixth canon specially disliked as containing an &c. in the oath
enjoined — This matter explained. XXIII. Canterbury Synod of November
1640 — Dr. Bargrave preacher — Dr. Steward prolocutor— Mr. Warmistre's essay
against the seventeen canons lately enacted — Sundry heads of synodical business
— This synod ended amid confusions of Church and State. XXIV. Parliament
of November, 1C40 — House of Commons attacks the acts of the late provincial
synods — Passes resolutions against the seventeen canons — But the House 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 67 of 83)