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 70 of 83)
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supposed that the study of the learned profession would
altogether emancipate its members from such frailties as are
common to the rest of mankind, specific ^ statutes have been
made to relieve our juOges, as far as may be, from every pos-
sible temptation in this respect.

In fine, the answers of the judges upon these articles of the
clergy must be looked upon as rejoinders in the suit, rather than
judgments from the bench. The learned persons who delivered
themselves in favour of their own privilege and jurisdiction
were clearly interested parties in the case. And so the ro-
mantic bulk to which Sir E. Coke has swelled their replies,
as of " the highest authority in law," is every way mysterious
and no way satisfactory. In truth, it was unjust that either
side should make a claim to rule the point. Such a cause could
only be fairly decided by an unprejudiced tribunal impartially
weighing the intrinsic merits of the case. And as an histo-
rical fact the king did promise to put a restraint on these pro-
hibitions ; and this promise was, as before remarked, signi-
fied ^ by Archbishop Bancroft to the lower house of the
Canterbury Synod subsequently, on the 21st of November,

After the continuation from Nov. IS, 1605,
the Canterbury Synod met again "= on the 22nd ^
of January, 1606 n.s., at Westminster Abbey. The present-
ation of Dr. Overall as prolocutor took place on that day;
and two days ® afterwards the archbishop ^ delivered a book,
drawn up concerning the state of the Church, and desired
both houses to take copies and consult about it.

It would, of course, be impossible here to go into the detail of
tliis work ; a few words on the subject must suffice. It is now
known under the name of " The Convocation Book o/mdcvi. ;"
or '''' Bishop OveraWs Convocation Booh concerning the Govern-
ment of God^s Catholic Church, and the Kingdoms of the whole
World.'''' The work is divided into three books : the first con-
taining thirty-six chapters ; the second containing eleven ; and
the third thirteen. The object of the work was to discuss
and settle^ the origin of ecclesiastical and civil polity, to
refute the claims of papal supremacy set forth by Sanders, and
to counteract the doctrines upon secular government promul-

Overall's con-
vocation book.

A.D. 1605.
K. James I.

a 8 Rich. II.

c. 2.

13 Hen. IV.

33 Hen.
VIII. c. 24.

^ Strvpe's
Ann. i\.

A.D. 1606.

c Sess. 3.
^ Conr.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 412.

e Sess. 4,
Jan. 24.
f Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 412, and


3,97. :
State. ))p.
507. 618.

? Vid. pref.




A.D. 1606.




See of York


h Sess.lT^
Jan. 21),
1606 N.s.
' Strype's
Ann. iv.
397. Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 412.
J VYalie's
State, p.

J See below,
n. 641.
'^ Overall's
pref pp. xi.

' Overall's
pref. p. viii.

»' Card.
Syn. i. 332.
Cone. Map;.
Brit. iv.

n Overall's
Conv. Book,
pref. p. vi.

gated by the Jesuit Parsons *. At the next meeting ^ of the
synod the archbishop * brought down the king's licence J for
enacting canons, which were to be constructed so as to give
effect to the principles laid down in the work above mentioned.
And upon this licence being produced the assembly appears to
have carried on business in earnest, for thirty-six canons are
extant, corresponding with the thirty-six chapters of the first
book, and indeed appended to them ; and also ten canons cor-
responding with the ten last chapters of the second book. As
regards the third book its thirteen chapters appear to have
been agreed to, though no canons were built upon those

How far syno- "^"^^ whole work. Containing in all sixty chap-
dicaiiy sanctioned, ^ers and forty-six canons, was ratified by the
lower house of the Canterbury Synod ; as is evident from the
subscription " at the end. It is not, however, clear that more
than the first book with the constitutions appended to it re-
ceived the full synodical sanction of the English Church, as
imparted by the additional consent of the upper house of
Canterbury and of the York " Synod also. But the evidence "^
that the first book of this work received the sanction of those
bodies, as well as of the lower house of Canterbury, is clear, so
that that part of it at least must be considered as an authori-
tative document^ of the Anglican Church ; and is valuable as
an index of her mind at that period.

Never received Touchiug the civll authority of Overall's Con-
civii sanction. vocatiou Book, uiuch caunot be said. It never
received any royal ' ratification, and so is of no force in the civil
forum. Indeed so far from the king''s giving the work his final
sanction he appears to have been displeased with it ; and this
may be gathered from a letter "* which he wrote at the time
to Dr. Abbot ", then a member of the lower house of convo-
cation, but subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury. In that

In a book entitled "A conference about the ne.\t succession to the crown of
England." Published by R. Doleman.

" IliEC omnia superscrij)ta ter Iccta sunt in domo inferiori convocationis, in
frcquenti synodo clcri, et unanimi consensu comprobata. Ita testor Johannes
Overall, prolocutor. April KJ, ICOG." — Bp. Overall's Convocation Book, p. 272.
' The book was first printed, under the auspices of Archbishop Sancroft, " for
Walter Kettilby, at tlie Bishoji's Head, in St. Paul's Churchyard, H',00." — See
title-page, and Burnet's Own Times, iv. 388, and Card. Syn. i. 331.




letter his majesty, though owning himself " unus gregis in
Ecclesia," seems to shew too little respect to the voice of the
Church, and dwells more on politics than religion. The former
subject, which appears all along to have been uppermost in
the royal mind, was probably connected with some pecuniary
considerations touching the repayment of loans which had
been made to the united provinces, and for which Brill and
Flushing had been handed over as securities to Q. Elizabeth.
His majesty has not escaped" suspicion of double-dealing
in this matter ; but however this may be he seems to have
been peculiarly sensitive as to any one's dipping into the
" secrets of government ;" for he desires his correspondent
not to meddle any more in so thorny a business. In con-
clusion there is a passage written in the king's p own hand,
in which his majesty brings in a metaphor taken from " edge
tools," and from "that weapon that's said to cut with one
edge and cure with the other." But the royal style becomes
here somewhat perplexed, and the lines of the parallel are not
altogether clear at first sight. Thus though the king had i
sent down his licence to the Canterbury Synod for the enact-
ment of canons on the subject under view, his majesty's mind
appears to have undergone some subsequent change, and so the
final ratification'' of this synodical performance was withheld.
„ , , , In addition to the business above specified

Sundry heads .

of synodical busi- there is not mucli historical matter recorded as
appertaining to this synod; such as there ^ is may
be put together in a brief space. Both houses of the synod were
on one occasion ' united ; the lower house '^ having been called
up to be present when one Cartwright appeared before the
upper. This person had killed a clergyman, and having ob-
tained the king's pardon now came to ask pardon also, and
to request absolution, from the bishops. As, however, he had
not brought with him the document which signified the royal
forgiveness, he was dismissed for the present for the further
consideration of his petition.

Four ^ subsidies "^ extending over five years were agreed *

^ Four subsidies of four shillings at eleven payments half-yearly, eighteen pence
for ten payments, and the eleventh twelve pence. The first payment to be Octo-
ber 2, 1C06 ; the last payment October 2, 1611, that is, for five years. — Strype's
Ann. iv. 398.

A. n. 1606.
K. James I.

oSeo "Last
Glimpses of
Conv.," p.

P Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 40(j.

1 Sess. 5,
Jan. 29,
Ann. iv.

!■ Overall's
Conv. Book,
pref. p. viii.

Ann. iv.

'Scss. 1-2,
Feb. 21,
1G06 N.s.
" Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 412.

' Strype's
Ann. iv.

wSess. 19,
M.ar. 19,
1606 N.s.




A.D. 1606.




See of York


t Sess. 25,

April 2,


y Sess. 21—


^ Sess. 26 —


» Stijpe's

Ann. iv.


b Cone.

Mag. Brit.

iv. 426.

<^ Strype's

Ann. iv.


d Cone.

Mag. Brit.

iv. 429.

e Cone.

Mag. Brit.

iv. 429.

Card. Svn.

p. 588. "

Ann. iv.
398. Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 429.
I Card. Syn.
p. 588.
g Sess. 38.

h On this
subject see
sup. pp.570.

' Strvpe's
Ann. iv.
397, 398.

to by both houses ; the draft was committed to the Bishops of
Winton, Exon, and Ely, and the documents ^ were brought in
and engrossed. Suspensions ^ of contumacious persons and
non-comparents and the absohition of such offenders are also
recorded. Among the ^ former appear the names of Dr.
Sterne % suffragan bishop of Colchester, Dr. Benjamin^
Haydon, dean of Wells, Dr. Philip Bisse, archdeacon of
Taunton, and Dr. William Hill, one of the proctors for the
clergy of Bath and Wells. Among those absolved were
Dr. «= Tooker, dean of Lichfield, Mr. Eobothara and Dr.
William "^ Hill above mentioned. A petition to the king was
also prepared in the lower house of this synod to back up the
articles against prohibitions presented by Archbishop Ban-
croft last Michaelmas term, and which we have above con-
sidered. This'^ petition represented to his majesty that the
clergy were defrauded of their tithes by prohibitions sued out
of the temporal courts, and that they should be utterly
undone unless some remedy were provided. It takes notice
that the stream of justice is checked, perjury encouraged,
ecclesiastical jurisdiction overthrown, and even the preroga-
tives of the crown assailed. It begs that such relief may be
granted as seems fit to his highness"' wisdom, piety, and cle-
mency ; and so it concludes by desiring for his majesty a
happy life and prosperous reign.

The last session ^ of this synod was held on the 28th of
May, 1 606. On s that day the prolocutor made an applica-
tion to the archbishop on behalf of the clerks of this con-
1 vocation, who had been put to extraordinary expenses from
the long continuance of the synod, and it was prayed that a
competent sum might be allowed to be paid by the parsons
and vicars towards defraying the charges entailed upon those
members who had given so lengthened an attendance upon
the assembly. An order was consequently made that for the
first session the proctors should receive the old '^ and ordinary
allowance, and for the other sessions after a moiety of the old

This appears to have been the last head of business
transacted in this long protracted synod, which numbered
thirty-eight sessions between Nov. 5', 1605, and May 28,




2. York Synod.

We must now retrace our steps in point of
time. The York provincial Synod assembling
acourse with that which we have just considered met^ on the
9th of November ^ 1605. This synod will require some care-
ful consideration, as it gave the sanction of the northern pro-
vince to the canons of 1 603-4, and to the first part, at least, of
" OveralVs Convocation Booky

The ^ synod met on the day above mentioned, and was con-
tinued to December 3 by the commissioners of Archbishop
Matthew Hutton, who was then declining towards the end of
his life, and dying soon after entered upon a better ; at least
we may justly hope so, for he was a prelate' not of learning
only but of exemplary character, and moreover of a pious
disposition, as is testified by his charitable bequests. By
the death of their president the assembly was left somewhat
in disorder'", and this was the more unfortunate, as very
important business was about to come before it. However,
the office of president was discharged, as we shall presently
see, by another, and so the business referred to was brought
to a satisfactory conclusion.

Royal licence It is ncccssary here to remark that, after the
n°onsien?To tTe cauous of 1603-4 Were enacted" by the Canter-
*)"°d. bury Synod, in the royal ratification ° appended

to them his majesty K. James I. had commanded that they
should "be diligently ^ observed, executed, and equally kept
by all our loving subjects of this our kingdom, both within
the province of Canterbury and York." Now considering
that those canons had not been at that time even viewed,
much less sanctioned by the northern province, his majesty
appears for the moment both to have disabled the jurisdiction
of the York Synod, and to have overstepped the just bounda-
ries of the regale in a very undistinguishing way. Q. Eli-
zabeth had indeed acted on occasions i in the like manner,
but then her confirmations of the acts of the southern synod
were extended "■ no farther than for her own life ; the present
confirmation on the other hand was intended (whatever may
have been the event) to reach to posterity and prevail in per-
petuity. And thus, though the northern synod had more

9 Wake gives the date as Nov. 6. — State, 507- The date as given in Cone.
Mag. Brit, is here followed.

A.D. 1605.
K. James I.

J Cone.
Mag. Bi-it.
iv. 426.

^ Cone.
Mag. Biit.
iv. 426.
State, p.
.507, and
A pp. No.
clvii. Card.
Syn. p. 1 G^},

I Coll. vii.

"> Wake's
State, p.

n Vid. sup.
pp. 624-5.
o Gibson's
Codex, pp.

P Gibson's
Codex, p.

1 Wake's
State, p.

■■ Gibson's
Codex, p.




A. D. 1605.

Sec of York

» Wake's
State, p.

' Cone.

Mag. Brit.

iv. 426.

" Cone.

Map. Brit.

iv. 426_


" Licence in


A. D. 1G06.

" Ovc rail's
Conv. Book,
pref p. xii.
>■■ Fel). 4,
1(50G N.s.
y Cone.
Ma- Brit,
iv. 426.
» Mar. 5,
1606 N.s.
* Cone.
Mair. Brit,
iv. 426.
>> Mar. 7,
Mar. 1<),
1606 N.s.
"= Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 428.
<^ Cone.
Mair. Brit,
iv. 428, .ind
State, p.
508, and
A pp. No.

» ? Bell-

quietly acquiesced on some previous occasions, the members
now thouirlit this last proceeding a little too hard. They con-
sidered if future generations within the canonical jurisdiction
of York were to be bound by ecclesiastical constitutions which
had neither been discussed nor assented to in that provincial
synod, that the ancient rights of their province would be
abandoned, and that it would always be held obliged to
approve of whatsoever ^ the southern synod " should think
fit to determine."" So they determined to make a stand, and
it is much to their credit that they had courage and constancy
enough to resist this unreasonable aggression on their just
privileges. The king too himself appears upon recollection to
have discovered that he had been somewhat incautious in his
hasty confusion between ecclesiastical and regal authority,
for at the request* of the northern synod his majesty sent
down a licence " to enact such canons as should seem " fit
and convenient " for the honour and service of Almighty God,
the good and quiet of the Church, and the better government
thereof" within the province of York.

On account of the death of the late Arch-
bishop jNIatthew Hutton above mentioned,
which occurred at the end of 1605, Dr. Thorn-
borough ^, bishop of Bristol and dean of York,
was elected ^ president of the northern synod.

Soon after Dr. William Goodwin '' was ap-
pointed ^- as prolocutor.
Canons of 1604 ^" *^^® Same day with the appointment of
sanctioned by the the latter gentleman the royal licence for the

northern synod.

enactment of canons was produced^. And
during that and two subsequent ^ sessions held in the York
chapter-house the 141 canons of 1603-4 were read by the
prolocutor, maturely'' examined and considered, and with
unanimous assent and consent ratified and commanded to be
" observed in'^ and throughout the whole province of York."
Such names ' of the persons present at this act a.s still re-

' The Reverend Father in God John Bishop of Bristol, president of the convo-
cation, Dr. Goodwin, prolocutor thereof, proctor for the Bishop of Durham
and Carlisle and for the chapter of this Church.

Mr. Bankes, another proctor for the same chapter.

Mr. Ilarwood and Mr. Belwood ^, proctors for the clergy of the jurisdiction of
the dean and chapter of the Church. [Mr. Parkinson

On account of
Archbishop Hut-
ton's death, Dr.
Thoniboroujih, bi-
shop of Bristol,
elected president.

Dr. AVilliam
Goodwin ])rolo-




main on record are appended in the note, for it seems no
more than necessary that historical proof of this proceeding
should be given as definitely as possible, considering the very
high authority on which it has been lately stated in the House
of Lords that the canons of 1603-4 "were never submitted to
the province of York ^ ;"" and considering, moreover, that
such a surprising announcement drew forth the consenting
cheers of the upper house of our imperial legislature. But
all this notwithstanding, the documents connected with this
ratification of the canons of 1603-4 by the northern synod
are as definite ^ as can be imagined.

The York Synod, in addition to the ratifica-
tion of the canons above mentioned, also gave
its sanction to the first part at least of " Over-
all's Convocation Book.'''' That part, as we have
seen ^ above, contains thirty-six chapters, and the like num-
ber of canons appended to them ; and that this portion of the
performance at least was ratified by the northern synod is
evident from a manuscript now deposited in the library of
Queen's College, Oxford, and containing the signatures given
below^, together with the following memorandum — " The said
thirty-six chapters s, with the constitutions made upon them,
have been diligently read and deliberately examined, and
thereupon have likewise passed with one consent in the con-
vocation-house of the pi'ovince of York."

How far Over-
all's Convocation
Book was sanc-
tioned by this sy-

A.D. 1G06.
K. James I.

* Reg. Ebor.
ap. Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 428, and
App. No.

f Vid. s
p. G35.

g Overall's,
Conv. Book,
pref. pp. xi.
xii. Ed.O.\f.

* PColmore.
t ? Rebank.
X ? Whit-

Mr. Parkinson for Richmond, &c. Mr. Dr. *Colmer, Mr. William Morton, and
Mr. fRibank, parties for them of the church and diocese of Durham. Mr.
J Whittle, proctor for them of the church and diocese of Chester. Mr. Lowther and
Mr. Maplet, proctors for them of the church and diocese of Carlisle ; and Mr. Arch-
deacon Remington, Mr. §Lindley, Mr. Nobson, and Mr. Nelson, proctors for them § ? I^yudley.
of Southwell Church and Nottingham archdeaconry. — Cone. Mag. Brit. iv. 428.

2 Speech in the House of Lords, July 11, 1851. The statement above alluded
to is oniitted in Hansard, vol. cxviii. ; but the fact that it was made and the cheers
which hailed it are matters of history.

' Jo. Bristol, Prseses. Convoc.
Guil. Goodwin, proloc.
Christopher Lyndley.
Leo. Lowther.
Tho. Dodson.
Ri. Harwood.
Clement Colmore.
H. Swinburne.

Ebor. Edward Maplet.

Richard Snowden.

Robt. WhitteU.

Hen. Bankes.

Hen. Rebank.

Chr. Nelson.

Richard Slater.

Roger Bellwood.
Overall's Conv. Book, Pref. xii.

O-vf. ed. 1844.




A.D. 1606.




See of York


•i Wed., Ap.
9, 1606.
' Cone.
Macr. Brit,
iv. 429.
J Wake's
State, p.

k Wake's
State, p.
1 Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 429.
•" Wake's
n Nov. 21,
Sess. 3.
° Strype's
Ann. iv.
398. Cone.
Majr. Brit,
iv. 429.
P Vid. sup.
p. 633.
q Vid. snp.
p. 638.
rSess. 11,
Feb. 1 8,
1607 N.s.
« Strype's
Ann. iv.
398. Cone.
Ma- Brit,
iv. 429.
•Sess. 14,
Feb. 27,
1607 N.s.
" Strype's
Ann. iv.

v See Col.
iii. pp. 12,
13 ct scq.
" Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 429.

" Cone.
Mag. Brit.

VI. Provincial
synods of Nov.

1. Canterbury

This York Synod, having sanctioned '■'The Canons o/ 1603-4,"
and the first part at least of " OveraWs Convocation Bool;''''
granted four subsidies'^ to the king', and made arrangements for
the payment of the proctors' J wages. After this the assem-
bly ^ was continued from time to time till June 3, 1606, and
then was prorogued to the 19th of November next ensuing.

Both provincial synods assembled again on
Nov. 19, 1606 \ the day following the meeting
of parliament "\

In the southern province but little business is
recorded as having been transacted. It may
be thus briefly related. Archbishop Bancroft informed " the
lower house that the king had consented" to put a restraint
on prohibitions. Respecting those encroachments of the civil
upon the ecclesiastical jurisdiction it will be remembered
that articles of the clergy ^ had been exhibited in the previous
year, and a petition also presented ^ from the lower house
of convocation in May last. The archbishop also declared "^
to both ^ houses of the synod some wishes entertained by the
king on the subject of Church music, as connected with " the
singing and organ-service in cathedrals." His grace more-
over at a subsequent* session produced before the assem-
bly a folio " book, of which he caused his secretary to read
some leaves. Unfortunately the subject of this work is not
recorded, so that whether it was connected with the judges'"
late answers on the subject " of prohibitions, now so interesting
to the clergy at large, or with other topics, we have unhapi)ily
no record to guide us.

Of the southern synod we must now take leave for some
time, as it'^ was prorogued by various writs to Feb. 10,
1610 N.s.

Concurrently with the last Canterbury Synod
the northern synod also met Nov, 19, 1606 ^.

Their new metropolitan, Tobias ]\Iatthews,
had been lately appointed. This prelate is said
to have been a most learned divine, a distin-
guished preacher, an elegant scholar, and to
have been master of a ready and fluent style, as indeed may
be easily believed from his having been pitched upon by the
Canterbury Synod in 1581 n.s. to draw up a representation

2. York Synod.

Tobias Mat-
tlicws, tlieir new
somewhat of his




to Q. Elizabeth, in the name of the members, for the restora-
tion of Archbishop Grindal, then " groaning y" under her
majesty's displeasure. He is moreover reported to have been ^
of a sweet disposition, conscientious, bountiful, and indefa-
tigable in the duties of his sacred calling. In fine, had he
not alienated from his see York House in the Strand to the
Duke of Buckingham in exchange for lands in Yorkshire of
too slender a value, this prelate's character would have been
transmitted without a blemish to posterity.

On the occasion of the opening of this his first provincial
synod it does not appear that any business was transacted.
Two * sessions were held ^ before any thing worthy of note
transpired. On the third session ^, however, the king's letters
patent were opened and read, by which the asseniljly was
again empowered, as they had been last year, to proceed
under royal authority. But what was done in consequence is
not left upon record. Two ^ more sessions are reported as
having been subsequently held, and on the last of those occa-
sions the assembly was prorogued^ to November 3 7, 1607.
-^„ „ . . , We must here pass over an interval of more

VII. Provincial ^ . .

synods of Feb. than two years, during which we have no records
of any synodical business, further than the con-
tinuations of the northern assembly, which may be seen in the
tabular list. On^ the 10th of February. 1610 n.s., however,
the two synods met.

The records of the southern synod give on this
occasion but a scanty account of the proceedings.
Morton s, who was subsequently bishop of
Durham ^, but at this time dean of Winchester,
preached the opening sermon. This same gentleman was
designed for prolocutor \ but his modesty induced him to de-
cline that high honour.

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 70 of 83)