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 68 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 68 of 83)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Commons here pressed somewhat hard upon the English constitution of that
age— The canons of 1640 stand on the same footing as those of 1604. XXV.
Imprisonment of Archbishop Laud.

SravTtQ y' ic 6p9bv Kai TrtaovTiQ van^ov. — Soph. (Ed. Tyr. 50.
" Ambigua sed lege loci jacet invia sedes.

Sic male deseruit, nullosque exegit in usus
Hanc partem."— Luc. Phars. ix. 307. 310-11.

I. Unsatisfac- The aiiibiguous and unsatisfactory state, injA.D. 1G04.
ianouiawin°En^- whicli the caiion law of England now stands, ' ^i_^"^^-
^^"<^'- certainly demands consideration on the part of j




A.D. 1604.


See of Cant.




a Vid. Bup.
p. 366.

those who hold the cliicf places ecclesiastical and civil in this
land. It is little creditable to the good sense of this nation
that a code of laws (not to speak now of that part of the old
papal law still binding ^ in accordance with the provisions of
25 Hen. VIII. c. 19) affecting a most important branch of

LIST OF ENGLISH SYNODS, a.d. 1604—1640.

1604 N.s.
Mar. 20

1604 N.s.
Mar. 20

1605 N.s.
Feb, 8

1605 N.s.

Feb. 8
1605, Nov.


1605, Nov.


1606, Nov.

York ....
S. Paul's

1606, Nov.

1607, Nov.

1608 N.s.
Feb. 11

1608, Oct.

1609 N.s.
Feb. 10

1609, Nov.

1610 N.s.
Feb. 10

1610 N.s.
Feb. 10

16! 4, April

16 14, April

1621 N.s.

Jan. 17

S. Paul's



See vacant



MatthewHutton, James I.

Abp. of York j
Ricliard Bancroft, James I.

Abp. of Cant. 1

Matthew Hutton James I.
Richard Bancroft James I.

Matthew Hutton James I.
(dies duringthese
sessions) I
Richard Bancroft James I.

TobiasMatthews, James I.
Abp. of York j

Tobias Matthews James I.

Tobias Matthews James I.

Tobias Matthews James I.

Tobias Matthews James I.

Tobias Matthews James I.

Richard Bancroft James I.
(dies during these!
sessions, Nov. 2,1
1610) I

Tobias Matthews James I.

S. Paul's Geo. Abbot, Abp.

of Cant.

York Tobias Matthews

S. Paul's .... Geo. Abbot ....

James I.

James I.
James I.

Nature of

Cone. M. B. Provincial Synod, with
iv.378-9.Coll. continuations tlirough
vii. 310 the following summer

to July 9.

Ibid. 379 .... [Provincial Synod, with

j I continuations to July 6.

Ibid. 379. Provincial Synod, pro-

I Strype'sAnn. rogued to Nov. 6.

I iv. 397

■Cone. M. B.iv. York Provincial Synod,
379. 426 ' prorogued to Nov. 9.

Ilbid. 379. 412. Cant. Provincial Syiod,

j 425. 429 , with continuations to
I May 28, 1606.

llbid. 379. 426. Provincial Synod, with
429. Wake's continuations to June

! State, p. 508 3, 1606.

Cone. M. B. iv. Provincial Synod, with
429. Strype's continuations to Feb.
Ann. iv. .398 ' 27, 1607 n.s.

Cone. M. B.iv. York Provincial Synod,
429. Wake's with continuations to
State, p. 509 July 20, I6O7

Cone. M. B.iv.

Ibid. 433....

Ibid. 437 . .
Ibid. 437 . .

York Provincial Synod.
York Provincial Synod.
York Provincial Synod.
York Provincial Synod.

Ibid. 444 .... York Provincial Synod.

Ibid. 429. 437, Cant. Provincial Synod,
438 j with continuations to

Feb. 11,1611 N.s.,then
j dissolved.

Ibid. 444 .... Provincial Synod, with
continuations to Feb.
1 1,161 iN.s., then dis-

Ibid. 445 .... Provincial Synod, with
continuations to June

8, then dissolved.
Ibid. 445 .... Provincial Synod, dis-
solved June 15.

Ibid. 461 ... . Provincial Synod, with
contiimations to Feb.

9, 1622, N.S., dissolved.
[1621 N.s. Jan. 1?




jurisprudence, embracing a large number of causes, and more-
over occasionally engaging considerable attention on the part
of the learned profession, should appear upon the national re-
cords in an amphibious character ; no legal adviser, however
deeply skilled in the mysteries of his calling, being in a con-


ENGLISH SYNODS, A.D. 1604—1640 — conthiued.







Nature of

1G21 N.s.


Tobias Matthews

James I. . .

Cone. M. B

Provincial Synod, with

Jan. 17

iv. 461

continuations to Feb.
27, 1622 N.s., dis-


Geo. Abbot

James I. . .

Ibid. 467-69

Provincial Synod, with

Feb. 13

continuations to May
Provincial Synod, with

1624 N.s.


Tobias Matthews

James I. . .

Ibid. 467-69

Feb. 13

continuations to Feb.
17, 1625 N.s.

1625 N.s.

Geo. Abbot

James I. . .

Ibid. 468

Cant. Provincial Synod.

Mar. 16


1625, Ma^

Tobias Matthews Charles I. . .

Ibid. 470 ... .

York Provincial Synod,
with continuations to


June 20.

1625, June

S. Paul's ....

Geo. Abbot

Charles I...

Ibid. 469 ... .

Provincial Synod, with


continuations to July
Cant. Provincial Synod,

16 25, Aug.

Cbrist Church

Geo. Abbot ....

Charles I...

Ibid. 469 ... .


and Merton
Chapel, Ox-

with continuations to
August 13

1626 N.s.

Geo. Abbot Charles I. . .

Ibid. 469-71

Provincial Synod, with

Feb. 7


seventeen continuations
to June 16, 1626.

1626 N.s.

Tobias I^.Iatthews Charles I. , .

Ibid. 470-71..

York Provincial Synod,

Feb. 7


with continuations to
June 28, 1626.

1628 N.s.

Tobias Matthews Charles I. . .

Ibid. 473. 476

York Provincial Synod,

Feb. 18

(dies during these

sessions, Mai\

1628 N.s.)

with continuations to
October 21, 1628.

1628 N.s.

S. Paul's ....

Geo. Abbot,

Charles I...

Ibid. 473. 476

Provincial Synod, with

Mar. 18

(died Aug. 4,

continuations to Mar.
11, 1629 N.s.

1629 N.s.

Samuel Harsnet,

riiavlac T

Ibid. 476

York Provincial Synod,
with continuations to

Feb. 10

Abp. ofYork 1 "'*"

Mar. 22, 1629 n.s.

1640, April

S. Paul's ....

William Laud, Charles I. . .

Ibid. 538. 541-

Provincial Synod, with


Abp. of Cant.

3. Card. Syn.
ii. 593

twenty-five continua-
tions to May 29.

1641), April


Richard Neile, Charles I...


Provincial SjTiod, with


Abp. of York,
(died Nov. 1640)!

543. 553.

five continuations to

V. p. 7
Ibid. iv. 542.

June 26.

1640, Nov.

S. Paul's ....

Wilham Laud,|CharlesI...

Provincial Synod, with


(Martyr, Jan. 10,1


continuations to Feb.



V. 1 & 51

9, 1641 N.s.



dition precisely to foretell in every case how far that code would

be enforced by executive authority, and how far it would not.

The point of our synodical history at which

A new rode of , • i x ii i i.i.

ecclesiastical law WO have now arrivcd naturally draws atten-

established by sy- ,:,_ ,^ ,i_ f ;._ ..,!.;.„. J,, ^1,3 l^^^t

aa Gibson's
Codex, note,
p. 994.

•» Gibson's
Codex, note,
p. 994.

«• Sec Royal
aj.ud Gib.
Cod. p. 994.
■1 See Royal
apud Ciib.
Cod. p. 994.
*" See below,
Lord Hard-
and Sir W.
assertion, p.

nodical autbority tion to the forcgoincr subject.

on the access
of K. James I

on the accession chapter WO liave sccu that ecclesiastical constitu-
tions and canons were often enacted synodi-
cally, as for instance in 1571 and 1597-8, for the government
of the affairs of the Church ; and indeed ever since the
discharge of the jjapal supremacy such constitutions, having
been authorized by the provincial synods, were issued from
time to time under royal authority, in order to their being
enforced by civil sanctions. It is, however, observable that
the canons and constitutions pubHshed in the reign of Q.
Elizabeth were confirmed '^^ only for her majesty ""s life. Hence
on the accession of K. James I. a necessity was entailed upon
our provincial synods of proceeding to frame a code of ecclesi-
astical law afresh for Church government. This new code was
taken out of the canons, constitutions, and injunctions which
had been issued'' in the reigns of K. Henry VIII., K. Ed-
ward VI., and Q. Elizabeth. But though the late queen had
only confirmed the canons passed in her reign for the term of
her natural life, that code which we are about to consider was
ratified by K. James I. for himself, "his heirs", and lawful
successors," " according ^ to the form of the statute 25 Hen.
VIII. c. 19," so that the ])resent obligation' of these canons
would seem to stand on somewhat firmer footing than some
would *^ have us believe. At least this is a nice point for the
members of the learned profession to decide, viz. how far in
category of time a royal proclamation will extend when
founded on an act of parliament.

From the fact that the constitutions made in the last reign
had been ratified for the queen's natural life only, it was no
more than necessary,' as was said above, that a fresh code
should be now synodically framed at the earliest moment pos-

' In thc;}Orh of K. Charles II. the Court of King's Bench dedded that the
canons of 1()04 "are good by statute ('25 Hen. YIII. c. i!)) so long as tliey do
not impugn the common law or the prerogative royal ;" and by Vaughan, " a lawful
canon is the law of the kingdom as well as an act of parliament." — Gibs. Cod.
p. »95



sible, and so prepared for the new monarch's signature. Indeed
so pressing was this business that the Synod of Canterbury
proceeded with it, as we shall see, almost immediately after
the death of Archbishop Whitgift, and before another metro-
politan was appointed.

II. Provincial "^^^^ ^^^'*^ provincial synods were summoned to
synods of 1604 meet at S. Paul's^ cathedral and at York re-
spectively^ on the 20th of March, 1604 n.s.
But since no records of ecclesiastical business as transacted at
York remain, we will proceed at once to the consideration of
the acts of the southern synod.

Cauterburj Sy- The'' Canterbury Synod assembled on the
^°'^- day appointed. This synod is said, by a learned '

historian, to have been "shot between the joints of the ar-
mour in the interval after Whitgift's J death, and before Ban-
croft's removal ^ to Canterbury." And this being the case
a royal writ was directed to the dean ' and chapter of Canter-
bury, as guardians of the spiritualties during the vacancy of
the see, directing them to convene the provincial synod. On
the first day of assembly there being, I presume, no sermon,
as the appointment of the preacher always resides with the
metropolitan, the names ™ of the members were called over
and then the royal writ ^ was read ; and also the commission "
given by the dean and chapter of Canterbury to Richard
Bancroft, bishop of London, empowering him to preside in
the synod.

Dr. Ravis pro- ^^^ ^^^^ election of their prolocutor the choice
locutor. Qf i\^Q clergy fell on Dr. Ravis, who was pre-

sented to the bishops and confirmed in his ofiice on the
28rd P of March.

^ , ^ , The most inmortant act of this synod was

Sundrv heads ^ •'

of synodicai busi- the enactment of the canons of 1603-4. This
whole subject, however, as requiring the chief
consideration, shall be left to the last ; and we will first
glance at the other matters which occupied the assembly,
taking them in the order of time as they occurred. Letters i
were received by the synod from the king, who desired ^ that
a collection should be hastened for the relief of the town of
Geneva. A committee ^ of bishops was appointed by Bishop
Bancroft ', the president, to confer with the speaker and other

A.D. 1604.
K. James I.

Mag. Brit,
iv. 878.
S Cone.
Ma£c. Brit,
iv. 379.

'■ Cone.
Mas. Brit.
iv. 378.
Coll. vii.
Ann. iv.
396. War-
ner ii. 487,
and Wake's
State, p. 507.
i Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. X. p. 28.
J Feb. 29,
1604 N.s.
k Dec. 4,
1604. Coll.
vii. 311.
' Cone.
Mae. Brit,
iv. '378.
™ Cone.
Mag-. Brit.

" Cone.
Masr. Brit.
iv. 378.
° Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 378.

1 Sess. 3.
March 30.
•" Strype's
Ann. iv.

^ Sess. 5,
April 13.
' Strype's
Ann. iv.
396, and
Card. Syn.
384, note,
cites Tan-
ner, MSS.
fol. 37.



A.D. 1604.


See of Cant.




" Sess. 7,
April 18.

" Sess. 5,
April 13.

" Sec ch.ap.
xiii. p. 603.
y Stryi)e's
Ann. iv.

^ Strype's
Ann. iv.

a Sess. 11,
May 2.

•• Strype's
Ann. ut sup

members of the Hou.se of Coinmon.s in reference to complaints
before them which had been brought against the clergy ; and
also to inform the speaker and the lower house of grievances
inflicted upon the clergy by the laity. This proceeding, how-
ever, appears to have secured no favourable issue, for the
House of Commons refused the consultation, and put up a
complaint on the subject to the House of Lords, both which
facts were shortly after imparted to the lower house" of
convocation by the president. In the meanwhile Bishop
Bancroft, whose presence in the House of Lords must
have been highly needful under the circumstances, had
substituted ^ a commission ^ to preside for him in the synod
in case of need.
_, . . , That troublesome party which in the last

ruritanical en- . .

dcavours against rcigu, as we liave sceu, strove to imbue the
nation with puritanical principles, by taking ex-
ception against Church government, by opposing the doctrines
of the Book of Common Prayer, and by urging members
of the House of Commons to promote such sectarian views
in that assembly, was still exercising itself busily in mis-
chief. But having been discomfited by Q. Elizabeth's very
wise determinations to disallow the conversion of the lower
house of parliament into a self-constituted synod, and to
forbid the clashing of spiritual weapons upon such an arena,
this party now had recourse to other means of attack, and
made their approaches under cover at least of more reason-
able applications. The leaders of the forlorn hope on this
occasion were Egerton, a gentleman whose managements
in the '^ last reign were not unexceptionable, Fleetwood y,
Wotton, and Clark. These with others prepared a petition
to the Canterbury Synod for the reformation '^ of the Book
of Common Prayer; and the document was" presented to
the lower house of convocation in presence of the peti-
tioners. Their enterprise, however, again miscarried, for the
sole event of it was an admonition*', from the president of
the synod and the bishojis, to the petitioners, which directed
that they, together with their adherents, should be obe-

' Bishops of Winton, Lincoln, Worcester, Bath, Chichester, E.xcter, Ely, Peter-
borough, Hereford, Norwich, Dean Overall, and Dr. Stanhope, vicar-general. —
Strype's Ann. iv. 396.




Thirty-nine ar-
ticles of religion
again ratified.

dient, and conform before the ensuing feast of S. John the

Baptist ''.

In this synod the thirty-nine articles of re-
hgion, having been read ^ and subscribed by
both houses, were again ratified, as had been

the case'^'^ in 1563 and 1571 : and an order was made that

the document with the subscriptions now appended should

be kept by the president Bishop Bancroft.

^ , , A debate also took place ^ among the mem-

Debate on the *■ 1 • • 1 r

sign of the cross bcrs, probably with reference to the thn-tieth of
aj) ism. ^j^^ canons now under the consideration of the

synod, on the subject of the cross ^ in baptism, that sign of
holy power which marks our enrolment under the banner of
the heavenly King ; but one which seems, notwithstanding, on
this occasion as well as on others, to have been a cause of
offence to such as are ashamed s, I will not say to confess the
faith of Christ crucified, but at any rate to honour the very
significant emblem of our Saviour''s passion.

. , At ** this time, also, the convocational privi-


privilege of free- lege of freedom from arrest was claimed ^ and
lom aires . g^jj^^^gj . ^^^^^ ^j^jg subjcct has been once for all

treated J before, and may here be dismissed.

The hook A controversy ^ which had been conducted

biii,^h\°underno- "^ ^^^^ *'™® ^^ Archbishop Whitgift by Hugh
tice of the synod. Brougliton, Bishop Bilson, and others, was at
this time revived. The subject of it was the nature of Christ's
descent into hell. This mysterious doctrine was now treated of
in an anonymous pamphlet, entitled '' Limho-Mastix,''' in which
the writer undertook to prove " that Christ descended not in
soul to hell to deliver the Fathers from thence." But not
only did this writer thus exercise himself in matters which
were too deep for him ; he further thought fit to dedicate his
performance to the parliament — an odd patron one would ima-
gine for such a work — and then took leave to call "upon that
body \ in conjunction with his majesty, to reform the doctrine
and discipline of the Clmrch." The doctrinal part of this ™
anonymous production appears to have been managed in a
highly exceptionable manner ; its real intention, however, was
to set up the parliament as a court of last resort, in matters
spiritual, that so the desolation of the Church might be more

A.D. 1604.
K. James I.

c June 24.

•1 Strype's
Ann. iv.

dd AMd. Slip.

p. 559 and

"^ Sess, 1 7,
May 23.

f Strype's
Ann. ut sur

g See Can.

I' Sess. 19,
May 30,
Sess. 21, and
Sess. 32,
June 24.
' Strype's
Ann. iv.

J Vid. chap,
.xiii. sec. ix.
pp. 756 ct

k Card. Syn.
p. 584, note.
See Art. 3 of
L=52-3 as
with Art. 3
of 1563, and
supra, p. 561,

1 Card. Syn.

584, note.

I" Card. Syn.

585, note.




A. D. 1604.


See of Cant.




n Sess. 24,
June 13.
° Strype's
Ann. iv.

P Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. X. p. 28.

q Fuller,

Ch. Hist.

ut sup.

'11 Vid. sup.
p. 620.

>• Sess. 5.

* Strype's

Ann. iv.


*« Vid. sup.

pp. 367-8.

tSess. 11.

" Coll. vii.


"u Vitl. sup.

p. 573.

" Vid. sup.

pp. 612-13.

" Strype's
Ann. iv.

" Warner's
Ecc. Hist,
ii. 487.
" Strype's
Ann. iv.

>Sess. 13.
^Sess. 13.
» Sess. 34—

b Cone.
Mac Brit,
iv. 379.

•^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 379.

readily effected. Consequently, among the gravamina in this
synod, a complaint was very justly introduced" against this
pernicious book, which was° committed to the judgment of
the assembly.
,, ^. ^, In this synod the subject of simony was also

Motion on the _ *' •' •'

oath against si- dealt with, and a motion P was made about
framing an oath against that offence, to be
taken by all persons presented to Church preferments. Bishop
Rudde of S. David''s, however, a man said to have been
scrupulously conscientious and remarkably free from the fault
in question, opposed the motion upon this ground, that it
appeared unequal to impose such an oath upon the presented
clerk only, and not upon the patron also. Upon his starting
this objection, he was asked " whether i he would have the
king to take that oath when he presented a bishop or dean."
Hereupon Bishop Rudde sat down in .silence, by which con-
duct it is not impossible that he meant to assent to the pro-
position suggested.

From causes I'l before specified it was essen-

Canons of 1603-4. ... . , , . . , , , ,

tial that a fresh code of ecclesiastical laws should
be ratified and promulgated on the accession of the present king.
Consequently, on the loth of April"", Bancroft', bishop of Lon-
don, as president, brought down to this synod the royal''' licence
for the enactment of canons. And on tlie 2nd of May ' he deli-
vered to the prolocutor a book of constitutions, which were col-
lected, it is said, by Bancroft himself out of" the articles, injunc-
tions, and synodical acts previously passed and published, espe-
cial reference being had to the canons of 1571"" and ]597-8^
For the consideration of this new code of ecclesiastical laws
it was ordered that'^ a committee of eight or ten members
should be chosen. The book was accepted without difficulty
in the lower house, though there was some sharp cla.shing of
opinion upon the subject in the upper. Bancroft upon this in-
terposed with considerable determination, saying that " he^'' was
determined to use the best means he could to draw others to
unity and conformity with himself and the rest of the reverend
company." Subsequently ^ a committee >' of both houses was
appointed for the di.spatch of this business, and after ^ sundry
conferences * on the subject, and many ^ sessions devoted to its
consideration, the whole book of canons was approved % con-




firmed, and "delivered from the hands of the synod to the care
of the printers."

These canons having been confirmed by letters patent
under the great seal, were published with this title, " Con-
stitutions ^ and Canons ecclesiastical treated upon ly the Bishop
of London, president of the convocation for the province of
Canterbury, and the rest of the bishops and clergy of the said
province ; and agreed upon with the ¥ing''s majesty s licence, in
their synod begun at London anno Dom. 1 603, and in the year
of the reign of our soveraign Lord James, by the grace of God,
King of England, France, and Ireland, the first, and of Scot-
land the thirty- seventh^

They run to the number^ one hundred and forty-one, and
are divided into fourteen heads : —

1. Of the Church of England.

2. Of divine service and administration of the sacraments.

3. Of ministers, their ordination, function, and cliarge.

4. Of schoolmasters.

5. Of things appertaining to churches.

6. Of churchwardens, questmen, and sidesmen or assistants.

7. Of parish clerks.

8. Of ecclesiastical courts belonging to the archbishop's

9. Of ecclesiastical courts belonging to the jurisdiction of
bishops and archdeacons, and the proceedings in them.

10. Of judges ecclesiastical and their surrogates.

11. Of proctors.

12. Of registrars.

13. Of apparitors.

14. Of the authority of synods.

Now as regards the ecclesiastical authority of

Ecclesiastical .^ . iipi

authority of the this codc it sccms mdisputable; for these canons
were fully ratified at this time in the provincial
Synod ' of Canterbury, and s shortly after in that ^' of York,
thus obtaining undoubted synodical power throughout the two
English provinces. They were thus confirmed by the acts of
the Church of England, and so their jurisdiction, at least in
the conscientious forum, over her members appears complete.
Civil authority But as regards their civil authority, the
'1604!'' '^^^°^^ ° motion with which they pass is not altogether

A.D. 1604.
K. James I.

d Gibson's

p. m-d,.

^ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 380. 40C.

f Cone.
Majr. Brit.
iv. 379.
g See below,
pp. 640 et

li Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 428, and
App. No.
clvii. p. 239.
Card. Syn.
p. 166. ■

S s




A.D. 1604.


See of Cant.




* Gibson's

Codex, p.


J Gibson's

Codex, p.


■< Gibson's

Codex, p.


1 See Card.
Syn. p.' 165,
Hist. Eng.
vol. vii. pp.
34. 35.

m Card.
Syn. p. 165,

" 25 Hen.
Vlll. c. 19.

easy. They were " enacted and promulged " by the synods
under the authority of a royal ' licence in accordance with
the statute (25 Hen. VIII. c. 19); they received theJ sub-
sequent ratification of his majesty, in accordance with the
same act ; and they were propounded, published, and en-
joined by letters patent^ under the great seal of England.
Here certainly are civil sanctions which would at first view
appear to be of sufficient weight and metal to silence an ordi-
nary battery of opposition. But the events of peace as well
as of war are uncertain. This code was no sooner published
than its authority was roundly assailed. It ' was contended
that, as civil punishments followed on sentences of excom-
munication, the authority by which this code was published
was insufficient to create offences, to which the former penal-
ties would attach. In order therefore to disable these canons,
a bill was introduced into the House of Commons at the next

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 68 of 83)